There are three basic types of clowns:
|The Whiteface clown is the oldest and most well-known of the clowns||The Auguste clown is the least intelligent, and zaniest of the clowns||The character clown is most commonly represented by the Sad Tramp or Happy Hobo|
Special thanks to Jim Howle, for the graphics of the clowns found on these pages.
Swede Johnson photo gallery, famous circus clown and animal trainer. After coming to the United States, Swede took the first job that he could find – as a rodeo clown, afterward becoming a circus clown. He then had a long career in the circus, working at different times and circuses as clown, animal trainer, and other things. Some of the circuses that he performed in include the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey, Bradley & Benson Circus & Rodeo, C. R. Montgomery Circus, Elks Circus, Shrine Circus, Biller Brothers, Rogers Brothers, Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, Paul A. Miller shopping center circus.
Frankie Saluto photo gallery – Frankie Saluto was a famous circus clown and little person, who became famous with the Ringling Brothers Circus as the whiteface dwarf with the large live rabbit. His career also included an interpretation of a miniature Charlie Chaplin and he was a member of the Ringling Giants, a midget baseball team that promoted the circus.
Bill Ballantine photo gallery – Bill Ballantine, illustrator and writer, traveled with the Ringling Brothers circus during the 1946 tour, caught the bug and become a professional clown the following season. From 1969 through 1977, Ballantine served as dean of the Clown College. (more…)
Paul Wenzel photo gallery circus clown – Professor Paul Wenzel was born in 1878 and performed as a circus clown for over 60 years throughout the United States of America. Paul Wenzel appeared with large and small shows before finding a permanent home with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Born in Brescia, Italy, Antonet was the son of a famous family of Italian clowns. He followed in Footit’s tradition as an “authoritarian” whiteface clown. George Speaight credits Antonet with introducing the loose spangled dress, with calf-length trousers that became associated with the European whiteface clown. Antonet first became famous working straight to Little Walter. The duo created clown entrees called The Clarinet, The Bullfight, The Nightingale, and a Hamlet parody that became standard circus clown acts. According to John Towsen, (more…)
Bill Ballantine (1910 – 1999)
Born in 1910 in Millvale, Pennsylvania, Ballantine was introduced to circuses by his father, a member of the Mystic Shrine and once mayor of their home town. Mixing sawdust and grease paint with the sparkling tarnish of the music hall next door to his childhood home, Ballantine developed a lifelong hunger for show business.
After graduating from high school, Ballantine found work in sign shop, painting posters for local movie houses, and after several years, began attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, beginning his long career as an artist/illustrator and later writer. He traveled with Ringling Bros Circus during the 1946 season and then, finally, in 1947, he decided to bid a temporary farewell to the workaday world of publishing and run away to the circus.