Emmett Kelly, Jr. : Travels Through American History With the World’s Most Famous Hobo Clown by Nicholas J. Croce, Susan Burke, Thomas Burke (Editor), Emmett Kelly
Emmett Kelly, Jr. is part of our American culture. He will always be remembered as the most popular clown ever and as the hobo who glorified a romantic period in American history. Originally, “Hoe Boys” were itinerant farm workers who traveled from farm to farm by riding the rails in search of work. Eventually, slang reduced the name to “hobos” as thousands of men continued on the road long after farm work diminished. As a clown, Emmett Kelly, Jr. continued the role of Wearie Willie, the endlessly inept hobo character developed by his father, Emmett Kelly, Sr. \
Willie represented the harsh days of the Depression, with his sad face and a big red nose swollen from hard luck and booze. “Willie’s a guy who’s lost his last friend but he, himself, always has one ray of hope left”, explains Emmett Jr. Emmett uniquely expresses our greatest wishes and dreams – the dream of hope, the dream of love, the dream of laughter, the dream of kindness. Although he has continued the Wearie Willie personage, Junior added a new twist by merchandising products, which has propelled Emmett Kelly, Jr. to be one the big success stories in the collectible market.
About the Author
Father and daughter Nick Croce Sr. and Susan Burke have virtually been living Emmett Kelly, Jr.’s life for the past six months- traveling to Emmett’s home at Tombstone, AZ, following him to the Flamingo Hilton at Laughlin, NV, flying to the Frankenmuth Gallery at Frankenmuth, MI, and dropping in at Gatlinburg, TN, where some of Emmett’s most popular appearances take place. Dozens of hours were expended sorting through audio and visual tapes, tattered photographs, newspaper clippings, press releases and circus programs. They will always treasure the invaluable time spent with Emmett, who chronicled his life in great detail and shared his love of telling stories.
And Emmett’s agent Leonard Green, who at one time represented Emmett’s father, was always glad to offer his help and tell his tales of adventure. Nick’s background is almost entirely from the gift and collectible industry. Susan’s credits include being editor of the premier newsletter of the credit card industry, a leading mortgage consultant for one of the nation’s largest savings banks, and a journalism scholarship recipient at Pepperdine University. Her last “famous person” interview was with former President Ronald Reagan. And now Nick and Susan are proud to present their combined work on the life of Emmett Kelly, Jr.