"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." -- Anne Frank
Bob "Skoopy" Gibbons worked to improve the world of family entertainment and the world in general.
Bob had begun performing as Skoopy, an Auguste Clown. (He also portrayed Ronald McDonald for ten years during the 1980's.) Eventually his wife, Cathy, became his partner as Sweetheart, a whiteface clown. Later in his career, Bob stopped using his clown appearance and the duo performed as Bob Gibbons and Sweetheart. Bob was known for his gentle, kind hearted performance style.
My first contact with Bob came in 1980 when I was touring with the Carson & Barnes Circus as a clown. I ordered some things from his Fun Technicians catalog. At that time one of his unique products was Skoopy's Pink make up. Prior to that time many Auguste clowns mixed red make up and white make up to create the pink color they used as a base. The market for clown make up wasn't considered large enough for manufacturers to create special colors just for clowns. Bob mixed his own color to use as an Auguste base and made that available to other entertainers for their convenience. As far as I know this was the first make up created specifically for clowns.
When I later got to know Bob personally I learned that this had not been his first contribution to his world. Prior to that, he had been very active in his region organizing backyard circuses raising money for a charity. It is my recollection that the money went to the American Cancer Society. He received special recognition for this work.
In 1982 Bob and Cathy launched Laugh-Makers Magazine, a project that had a tremendous impact upon the world of family entertainment. They believed everyone would benefit by bringing many kinds of entertainers together, each sharing their ideas and knowledge. They started off modestly with a small circulation and a handful of contributors. Eventually Bob and Cathy were able to recruit what became a prestigious group of columnists. Being an author for the magazine gave a boast to many entertainers' careers as instructor. The magazine's circulation grew and became international. I have talked to entertainers from around the world who said the magazine had a major impact upon their career. Bob wrote his own column for the magazine. He had an article in every issue from the first to the last farewell issue published in 2000. He and Cathy were the only ones to write for every issue.
They started their second year of Laugh-Makers Magazine (1983) with a special themed issue devoted to entertaining in hospitals. I believe this was the first time this topic was covered in a variety arts publication.
Bob and Cathy both became popular variety arts instructors. They had each lectured at the U-W Clown Camp ® during the early years of that program's existence. In 1986 they begin their own Laugh-Makers Variety Arts Conference. They co-directed the program for five years. The instructors were drawn mainly from the ranks of the magazine's contributors, and some people referred to it as a live version of the magazine. After their conference ended, they continued lecturing at conventions, conferences, and workshops. For example, Bob and Cathy were the headliners for Angel Ocasio's first Comedifest.
What can you do to improve the world? How can you use your variety arts skills to improve the world of those who live around you? What contribution can you make to improving the world of entertainment? What is the first step in doing that? How can you start right now to make that difference?