Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #391 December 13, 2010

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


I had previously announced that I would be doing two lectures at the World Clown Association in New York. This weekend I have confirmed that I will be doing a minimum of four lectures at the Clowns of America International Convention in Anaheim, CA.  The exact topics have not been settled upon yet, but the emphasis will be upon performing.  There are more details in my Educational Opportunities column as well as a link for additional information.

The COAI convention will be at the Disney Resort.  I am looking forward to returning there.  I worked at the Raging Waters amusement park in San Dimas, CA from 1983 to 1993.  In 1992 and 1993 I also performed at the Disney Resort as part of their Royal Court Jesters group of juggling entertainers.  Most of my appearances were at convention banquets held at the Disneyland Hotel.  However, I also performed at the Grand Opening of Disneyland's Toontown.  (My shift for the Grand Opening was 11 PM to 8:00 AM so the morning talk shows could get footage of the new area before their broadcasts began on the east coast.)  I came back later and worked at another Disneyland special event in Toontown.  I talk about those appearances at the Disney Resort in my Creativity for Entertainers trilogy.  When I worked at Disneyland the directions I was given by my supervisor was, "Have fun.  Interact with the guests.  Don't hit anyone with your juggling props."

For both Toontown appearances I was partnered with a juggling clown named Tuba Heatherton. Tuba was great at improvised interactions with the guests.  Tuba was the juggling instructor for the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Clown College in Japan.  Gigi was one of his students dring the first year of that educational program.  The next year she worked as Tuba's interpreter.  One of the students that second year was Rone.  After meeting at the college, Rone and Gigi formed Open Sesame, the Japanese theatrical clown troupe.  
I greatly enjoy seeing my Thought For The Week subscribers at conventions or workshops.  I hope to see many of you next spring at either the World Clown Association Convention or the Clowns of America International Clown Convention.

In this issue you will find another of the popular history trivia questions.  This one has a Christmas theme.

Have a great week,

In This Issue
Thought For The Week
History Trivia
Article by Bruce Johnson
In Memory: Dick Reeme and Jack Frank
Creativity For Entertainers Newsletter
Thanks for the Endorsement
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

December 13, 2010

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

"Think for a minute about what makes you fabulous and how you can celebrate it."  -- Laura Mercier


For many people the end of the year is a time of reflection.  The new year offers the hope of a new beginning so they look at their life and make resolutions for improvements they want to make starting January 1.


However, it is also important to reflect upon what doesn't need to be changed.  You have to continue doing the things that were successful.


Synchronicity is a psychological concept meaning that you tend to find what you look for.  If you look for flaws and examples of failure, that is what you will find.  If you look only for that you may get an inaccurate view of yourself which can lead to depression and surrender.  However, if you look for your strengths and successes, that is what you will find.  That can lead to confidence and willingness to continue moving forward.  Instead of focusing on your inabilities it shifts the focus to your abilities and how to put them to their best use. 


In junior high and high school I wasn't very good at baseball.  I didn't have a powerful swing.  When I tried to hit the ball far, I would miss it.  I struck out often, and was criticized by others on my team.  I didn't like playing and got my poorest grade in P.E. during baseball season.  Then during my senior year my team captain realized that I was a good runner.  When we ran laps I was usually at the head of the class.  He decided to take advantage of what I was able to do.  He shifted my focus to just getting on base.  I began taking pitches to see if I could draw a walk. Instead of trying to hit a fly into the outfield, I just tried to make contact with the ball.  I began hitting slow rolling grounders that either found a hole in the infield or that gave me time to beat out the throw to first base.  Once I was on base I could use my running ability to advance and score when others got a hit.  I became our team's lead off hitter.  Instead of being a liability I became an asset to the team.  I had fun, gained confidence, and my playing in general improved.  My team won our class tournament.  It all started because somebody stopped focusing on what I couldn't do, and taught me to figure out how to take advantage of what I was able to do.


I try to do the same type of thing as an entertainer.  When I first became a circus clown I tried a lot of different things.  I created big acts performed by a group of clowns in the ring.  I worked with partners.  I began working solo in the bleachers during the Come In, the period before the circus begins.  I discovered that I was really good at improvised interactions with individual audience members.  I began specializing in working the Come In, which I still do when I appear in a variety show in a theater.  I figured out how to incorporate interacting with volunteers on stage.  I figured out how to allow time for the audience in general to interact with me.  Realizing that was what I did well and taking advantage of that has been a key to my success as an entertainer.


To reinforce those good qualities you should reward yourself with some type of celebration.  Another psychological concept is that behavior that is rewarded is repeated.  The Come In went extremely well for me prior to the first public show that was part of Clown Camp® Singapore this summer.  Afterwards, to celebrate, I went for a walk along the SingaporeRiver looking at the beautiful city lights.  I found a convenience store and purchased some crackers and candy that aren't available in the United States.  I had a picnic in a quiet place along the bank of the river as I recalled the performance and relived the most satisfying moments.  Then I returned to my hotel room and prepared for my next performances.


What were your most fabulous performances during this past year?  What made them so special?  How can you do more performances like that?  What abilities do you have that make your performances most successful?  How can you take fuller advantage of those abilities?  Besides being a performer, what else makes you fabulous as an individual?  How can you take greater advantage of that in your life?  How can you celebrate and reward yourself for the good things?



History Trivia
Answer this question by clicking on the response that you think is most accurate. 

Joseph Grimaldi, considered the father of modern clowning, was famous in the early nineteenth century for his performances in a special type of Christmas show known as a Pantomime.  In the nineteenth century, Pantomime meant:

Silent Acting

Performing More Than One Character

These links will remain active until January 1, 2011.  After that date, use the trivia archive link to check your answer.

Article by Bruce Johnson
An article that I wrote titled Santa Claus appears in the December 2010 issue of Clowning Around published by the World Clown Association.  This article is part of my WCA Historian column.  In the article I describe the history and development of Santa Claus starting with the actual Saint Nicholas.  Then I conclude by offering some suggestions of how this knowledge can by used in entertaining modern audiences.  Some of the suggestions are directed toward those who do clown ministry or caring clowning. 
I am a member of the Circus Historical Society.  I love their slogan and wish I had thought of it myself.  The CHS slogan is "connecting circus history to today."  That is what I try to do with my historical articles and classes.  I am passionate about history mainly because of its connection to what we do today.  History is not just a specialty pursued by a few fanatics, but it is a useful tool that everyone can benefit from in reaching their potential today.  I am constantly asking myself what lesson or application can we make of the information I discover when I do research.
The Santa Claus article is currently available only to members of the World Clown Association.  I recommend that anyone interested in clowning should join the WCA and read Clowning Around magazine.  Each issue continues to have a variety of good articles that will educate and inspire you.  Use the link below to learn more about the WCA.
In Memory: Dick Reeme and Jack Frank
I have learned that two clowns living in Southern California recently passed away.
The first is Dick "Flick" Reeme.  He performed as a Keystone Kop style of clown.  He was a member of the Klassic Klowns when I first began clowning and joined that group.  Along with Bill "Pinky" Greene and Larry "Boozer" Lubin, he was one of my early inspirations and mentors.  Those three men, all Klassic Klown members, demonstrated to me what was possible in the art of clowning.  I knew that I wanted to learn how to do what they were capable of doing.  Bill and Larry taught me more in formal educational sessions, but Dick taught me just as much through his example and conversations.  He had an incredible sense of comedy timing and an amazing rapport with the audience.  He was a gentle clown and a modest person.  He was a tremendous influence upon me early in my career.  I don't think many people outside of Southern California knew of his performances, but I considered myself fortunate to have seen him and to consider him my friend.  I have tried to pass on those things that he taught me so his influence has rippled out beyond his home region.  He was a positive influence upon many clowns in Southern California.
The other person is Jack "Blimpo" Frank.  Jack was the World Clown Association Southwest Regional Director for many years.  His wife, Pat "Potsy" Frank was the WCA Administrator for many years.  Of course, Pat was officially the administrator, but Jack gave her a lot of assistance in her job.  Jack and Pat contributed alot to the success of that organization in the early 1990's.  The three of us served together on the WCA board from 1991 to 1993.  It was a standing joke between us that although we lived five miles away from each other we met for the first time at Clown Camp in LaCrosse, WI and saw each other most often at conventions or workshops out of town.  When we were home our busy schedules prevented us from seeing each other often.  I always enjoyed our time together.
Flick and Blimpo have made their last "Walk Around."  However, as long as those who were fortunate enough to know them remember them and pass on what they taught us they will both remain a part of the art of clowning.
Creativity For Entertainers Newsletter
I have a second internet newsletter that I publish occasionally.  It is the Creativity For Entertainers newsletter.  Anyone can read it, but it is intended mainly for people who own my Creativity For Entertainers books.  It is part of my attempt to make that as useful a resource for readers as possible.  The fourteenth issue of that newsletter was distributed this past weekend.  If you do not subscribe to that newsletter, but would like to learn more about it, you can use the archive link to read the past issues.
Thanks for the Endorsement
I would like to thank Aurora Krause for her kind comments in her column in the December issue of Clowning Around.  Aurora is the 2010-2011 Preseident of the World Clown Association.  She wrote, "A wonderful clown historian and good friend is WCA's Clown Historian, Bruce Johnson.  Whenever you have the opportunity to read one of his articles, purchase one of his books or attend one of his classes, do so.  His knowledge and enthusiasm for clown history is inspiring all in itself not to mention the facts and creativity that he shares in his writings and teachings.  Look for Bruce's class on clown history at our WCA New York City Convention coming March 14 - 18, 2011." (Copied by permission.)

You will find more information on this convention in the educational opportunities column.  In the Quick Links section you will be able to go to the page on my web site that has information on my books.
Thank you for being a subscriber.  I am always interested in your questions and comments.
Remember if you have missed an issue, you can read it by using the archive link in the right column.  If you want to change the address where you are receiving this newsletter, use the update profile link below.  If this newsletter no longer meets your needs, you can use the SafeUnsubscribe link to be permanently removed from my mailing list.  If you want to spread the word about this newsletter, you can use the forward email link below to send copies to others that you think might be interested.
I hope to see you down the road.

Bruce Johnson
Charlie's Creative Comedy
Copyright 2010 by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson.
All rights reserved. 
Educational Opportunities

I believe in promoting any event I will be lecturing at.  If you schedule me for an educational event that you are hosting, I will list it here.  My goal is to do what I can to best meet the needs of you and your group.

World Clown Association Convention
March 14-18, 2011
New York, NY
The History of American Clowning,
Trick Cartoons


Clowns Of America
International Convention
April 13-17, 2011

Anaheim, CA


Topics to be announced


California Clown Campin'

August 1-6, 2011

Santa Barbara, CA

Topics to be announced

CCC Information

For information on additional services that I can provide for an educational event 

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