Clowns represent the universal language of laughter. Their costumes say it all.
I remember the days of going to the circus. Every year when Barnum & Bailey came to town, my parents took us to the Jaffa Mosque to see this great circus performance. As I recall, the clowns were always the center of attention. They were the opening act, the intermission, and the closing act.
I remember how we climbed the bleacher seats up to the balcony level so we could get a good view of the trapeze act. My little eyes stared in amazement at the fancy dressed men and women who hung from the ropes and swings while they challenged gravity.
I was mesmerized by the magic of the shimmering costumes and the motion as the performers jumped from one trapeze to another. The musty smell of the elephants filled the air and the scent of salted peanuts mingled to create an overpowering smell. Though I was thirsty, I couldn’t think about my drink. My eyes were riveted down below to the floor of this giant circus dome tent.
All the while in the background, the clowns were there juggling, laughing, tripping on their shoes or bleeping one another’s noses. My eyes averted below to watch the clowns even in the midst of the grandiose trapeze act.
Photo Credit: Download-Free-Pictures.com
Clowns were part of my family life outside the circus, too. My parents taught me to really appreciate humor so I grew up laughing heartily. It was very healing, I have to admit. Three of my sisters and my mother performed as street clowns to raise money for children with aids. Their costumes rallied many people to the stop signs where they stood, spreading humor, good will and healing for a worthy cause that benefited children. I was really proud of them for this.
The theatrical side of being a clown reached deeper into my life. Red Skelton loomed large as a television personality who graced our living room many nights from that fifteen inch screen. Like the clowns at the circus, when Red Skelton began to perform, my eyes were riveted to this little screen. As much as my parents loved Red Skelton, I found his humor irrisistable. He performed his skits with a smile on his face and Red had the deepest dimples in his cheeks. At the telling of every joke, he laughed at himself out loud.
You know, Red Skelton did not always wear make-up and a clown suit. He acted without the suit by using facial expression. This is a vaudeville sort of clown that really takes talent. Red Skelton certainly had talent. And my young years were not too tender to appreciate his extraordinary vaudeville skill.
The impression that clowns made upon me as a young girl growing up would be a lasting one as I later discovered. I’ve met many clowns in my life, performers and people who were just clowns by nature. Some dressed in costumes, some did not. If I were to tell the stories, it would take chapters in a book. There was Bozo the Clown, Ronald McDonald, The Three Stooges, W.C. Fields, and the infamous Carol Burnett, to name a few.
Guess I need to write a series on famous clowns and clowns that influenced my life. This is a good stage for all my favorite clowns and it will be a good diversion from my pirate life. But you knew that pirates were really clowns who favored sea faring, didn’t you?
I have to share my favorite part of the clown costume with you. It wasn’t the red nose or the funny hair wigs or the baggy pants. It wasn’t the make up or the buzzers and beepers. Not even the suspenders. Tired of guessing yet?
My favorite part of a clown’s costume are those big floppy over-sized shoes! Does that surprise you?