02-15-2012, 04:57 PM
Senior Level 6
Join Date: Sep 2008
Thanked 1,720 Times in 830 Posts
From one of the comments at the link:
These photos were part of a life magazine spread on the clowns of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in, I believe, the late 40s.
Keep in mind that most of these makeups were meant to be seen from about a quarter mile away, to help the performers' facial expressions read better in a dimly lit three ring big top tent.
The clowns I can definitely identify are:
#2 Art Cooksey
#3 Felix Adler
#4 Johnny Tripp
#5 Chesty Mortimer
#7 Irv "Ricky" Romig
#8 Lou Jacobs
#9 Frankie Saluto
#10 Prince Paul Alpert
#12 Ernie Burch
#15 Jimmy Armstrong
#16 Buzzy Potts
#17 Myron Orton
I'm really interested in exploring the classic clown makeups of the Golden Age of the American three ring tented circus as a vanishing American folk art.
Very few professional clowns anywhere in the world invest in their craft to the extent that these guys used to. The last clown wig maker in New York closed up shop a few years back. The man who used to make all the shoes for the Ringling clowns has passed away.
These larger-than-life human cartoons are a thing of the past and it's unlikely that we'll ever see clowns like this again.
International Clown Hall of Fame
Board of Directors
P.S. I have 5,000 photos and videos of classic clowns from around the world at my blog, clownalley.net