Paul Jung (1901 – April 21, 1965)
Inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame in 1992. Paul Jung way born in Dayton, Ohio in 1901 to Paul and Mary Young, who were themselves professional entertainers. As a youngster, Paul Jung first performed in a vaudeville acrobatic act with his brothers, but in 1917 at the age of 16 he joined the Ringling Brothers circus, left in 1924 to work in vaudeville, and rejoined the circus in 1934, by which time it had become Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Paul Jung met his future wife, Elsie, an equestrian and aerialist, while working with the Ringling-owned Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus in 1943. When not on the road, Paul and Elsie settled in Tampa, Florida, where Paul established his famous Laugh Factory, where he built props for the Ringling productions and for other circuses and ice shows.
Some of the clown gags and props he imagined and built in his “factory” became classics of American clowning – such as The Adam Smasher (a machine that transformed a giant clown into several identical midget clowns), and Fireman, Save My Baby!, immortalized by Walt Disney in his animated feature, Dumbo. The Dayton, Ohio native also created such well-remembered routines as the washing machine that would shrink people, the steam roller that seemed to flatten clowns and the “sawn in two” illusion.
He met an untimely death during a robbery in his New York hotel room. On April 21, 1965, during a Ringling engagement at the Madison Square Garden in New York, Paul Jung was found murdered in his hotel room, with this arms tied behind his back. Weeks later, the police arrested a drug addict who was later convicted of the murder.
Paul Jung’s widow Elise continued to run the Laugh Factory for several years.