Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #400
April 11, 2011

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


I have reached another milestone with this newsletter.  This is the 400th issue that I have published.  I am amazed that some of my original subscribers are still with me.  I have recently gotten several new subscribers.  Welcome.  You can read some of the past issues by using the archive link on the right.
I am disappointed that I will not be at the Clowns Of America International Convention in Anaheim, CA later this week as scheduled.  I had to drop out under doctor's orders.  I was looking forward to seeing many of you there, and knew that I would be meeting some of you in person for the first time.  I will see you some other time down the road. 
Katie Harmke, one of my subscribers, organized a gift basket containing some of my publications and products for the scholarship auction.  That means I will be there in spirit even though I am not physically present.  Thank you, Katie.  I have also donated to the auction some Chuck Oberstein prints of clown paintings.  I had the honor to be one of his models when I lived in Southern California.  Dena Piraino and Kelley De Lung were also clown models depicted in the prints that I donated.
This week's main article is a little different.  It contains information on how you can help somebody in the clown community and at the same time help those in Japan who have lost their homes.
Have a great week,


In This Issue
Thought For The Week
New Publication
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

April 11, 2011

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


"Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness.  Every act creates a ripple with no logical end."  -- Scott Adams


Members of the circus profession, and clowns in particular, are known for their kindness.   This is particularly true following natural disasters like earthquakes. 


In 1906, two tramp clowns, Jim McIntyre and Tom Heath, produced and starred in a Broadway show titled The Ham Tree.  W.C. Fields, who performed a juggling act as a tramp clown at the time, was part of their cast.  After most of San Francisco was destroyed in 1906 by an earthquake and fire, the cast of the Ham Tree performed in an exhibition baseball game to raise money for the residents of San Francisco. 


After a devastating earthquake hit Japan in 1923, circuses in America cooperated in a fundraising campaign to aid the victims.  Donations were collected at each performance to send to Japan.


After Hurricane Katrina devastated much of the city of New Orleans, clowns banded together to create Red Nose Response, an organization dedicated to responding to natural disasters.


Another devastating earthquake and a tsunami struck Japan a month ago.  They are still experiencing strong after shocks.  While the physical destruction was limited to a portion of the country, the entire nation has been affected.  One of the results is that festivals, which normally hire clowns, have been cancelled.  I know that many of my newsletter subscribers have met Rone and Gigi, the founders and directors of Open Sesame, Japan's theatrical clown troupe.  Rone said that many of their American friends began contacting them asking how they can help.  Rone and Gigi did not want to just accept charity.  They wanted to find work that they could do.  Their solution is to create something they call Big Ears 4 Kids.  (Their most famous characters wear big ears, and many people refer to them by that nick name.)  Rone and Gigi will go into the devastated areas to provide free clown entertainment for children.  Those who have seen Rone and Gigi perform know that they have an amazing rapport with youngsters and will do a wonderful job in this effort.  They are raising funds to pay their expenses while carrying out this work.  To learn more about Big Ears 4 Kids use the link below.  Rone and Gigi are offering some thank you gifts for donations.  One of the gifts is a DVD of their 2010 theater show titled A Piece of Memory.  I have seen this show, and while it is performed in Japanese, I was able to understand it.  Ironically Rone plays a homeless person whose few possessions are almost destroyed.  She has some pictures that remind her of happy times during her former life.  Gigi plays a robber, who hides out from the police in Rone's temporary home.  They discover from Rone's pictures that they are related.  Rone convinces Gigi's character to stop running from the law.  That is the basic plot.  (The show is full of their wonderful silent comedy routines and juggling.  I know that you would enjoy it.)  Now in real life Rone and Gigi will visit people who have lost many of their reminders of their past lives and create new happy memories for them in the midst of the destruction.  Parents seeing their children laugh and have fun again will be encouraged to have new hope.  We will never know all the effects that will have for the future.  By making a donation to Rone and Gigi, you can be a small part of their efforts.


Big Ears 4 Kids


Sometimes in difficult times we don't do anything because we feel overwhelmed.  We think anything we can do will be too little.  Yet, if many people make a small contribution, the cumulative effect is great.


What small act of kindness can you show to others around you?  In stressful times, what kindness can you show others to ease their spirits?  Following a disaster, what can you do in a practical manner to show kindness to those who are suffering?




New Publication By Bruce Johnson

The History of American Clowning
I introduced a new publication, The History of American Clowning, at the World Clown Association Convention in New York.  My goal with this book is to make clown history relevant to today.  I explain how we can benefit from lessons learned from those who came before us, and how our past can inspire material for use today.  I believe that the past is a launching pad enabling us to reach higher in the future.

This book is a compilation of some of my clown history articles from the past 25 years, plus a great deal of additional information.  It starts with the indigenous American clown characters and continues up to current times.  Much of the information included here is not available any place else.  For example, I documented the founding of the major clown organizations in the United States.  In addition to the history articles, there are many profiles of individual clowns.  There are a total of 200 pages in the book.

It is my first electronic book.  It comes in PDF format on a CD.  Each CD has a registration number.  After receiving your copy, send me your registration number and email address, and I will add you to a mailing list dedicated to this book.  I am still doing research into clown history and will occasionally send you additional information related to topics in the book.  Also, as I discover corrections that need to be made to the original text, I will send those to you.

The introductory price for this book is $20 plus $5 for postage and handling.
Buy Now

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 2011 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.

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August 1-6, 2011

San Bernardino, CA

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February 17-19, 2012
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