Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Who's Afraid of Klowns?

This morning on Twitter I found out that a friend of mine has had a fear of clowns. This is not unusual, many people have or do, including my wife. This is the story of me, my wife, my kids, a small circus and a cult movie.

My daughter with 2-ba (Ringling Bros.)
First, you should know that I am a huge circus fan, have been all my life. Not only do I love going to any circus that I can, but I have studied the history of the American circus for quite a few years now. Some of my earliest, and happiest memories include going to the circus - in tents as well as the old Madison Square Garden. When you would go to the circus in the former location of the Garden, before the arena show you could see the menagerie and the side show - things of the past these days. My children have been going to the circus all their life as well.

But I digress ...

When my kids were young - preteen/teen - I noticed that a small tented circus was setting up not far from my house, so my wife and I found out what time they were performing, and decided to go later in the afternoon. When we arrived home we still had a few hours until showtime so we decided that it would be a surprise for our kids. We turned on the TV and started watching a movie which we had never seen before ...

It was campy but a classic 1950's style horror story which has since gained somewhat of a cult following. While my wife and I were watching, the kids quite normally decided to watch as well. (Remember, at this point we hadn't mentioned that we were going to the circus after the movie.)

After the movie, as planned, we all got into the car and went to where we had spotted the circus. Up until this time my kids only knew the large arena productions of The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey's Circus which they saw every year in the current Madison Square Garden. This circus was a very small, single tent, single ring, very traditionally carnie type company. 

When we got there - the kids still had memories of the movie in their heads - we passed the roustabouts and other circus people as we entered the grounds ... and it wasn't the high class crowd that you saw at a Ringling Brother's (etc.) show! 

The coup de grĂ¢ce came when a clown came over to say hello ... I think my daughter jumped about 10 feet!

Yes, I am that kind of parent ...



  1. evil evil man … are you sure that's not you under all that clown makeup? xt

    1. Ironically enough, I have always wanted to be a circus clown ... ;-)

  2. Oooooooo, you're so MEAN!! lol