Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #423 
January 2, 2012

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson




Happy New Year!  This is the New Year according to the calendar used internationally for business.  The Chinese New Year varies in comparison, but it is coming soon this year.


When I created my web site in 2001 I was advised that it would not be a major source for business leads.  The majority of my leads came from my yellow pages ad.  My web site served as my convincer.  If somebody seemed reluctant to commit to a booking, I would suggest that they check my web site.  Usually they called back in a few minutes to confirm the booking.  Gradually I began getting contacts directly from my web site and calls about my yellow page ads dropped off.  In the beginning I ranked high on the search engines.  (In fact at one point if you searched for the World Clown Assocition my web site came up above theirs.)  The way search engines, particularly Google, ranked pages has changed since then.  I have learned about optimization and am going through my web site making changes so that I am ranked higher by search engines.  In the process I am gradually updating every page of my web site.  My web site includes a puzzle and quiz section that hasn't been updated in a long time.  I have just updated one of the quizzes.  I think those of you who have enjoyed the history trivia questions in this newsletter, will enjoy this new quiz.  You will find a link in one of the articles below.  While you are there you might want to try out the other quizzes and puzzles before I change them.


A couple of house keeping details.  When I first started this news letter my goal was to send a new issue every Monday.  That proved not to be practical.  I send it when it fits my schedule.  Some weeks it gets sent later in the week, and it doesn't get sent at all during other weeks.  However, I have continued to label each issue using the Monday of the week in which it is sent.  For me it is a tradition I started and continue to follow simply because I want to.  (A tradition is something that you continue to do for no other reason than that is how you have done it in the past.)


For some reason the earthlink email service occassionally blocks delivery of my newsletter.  It doesn't happen every week.  I have not been able to identify a pattern as to when it will be blocked.  Delivery is also sometimes blocked to other addresses, but not as often.  If you are an earthlink customer you might check to see if you can do something to insure delivery of this newsletter.  If you think you may have missed newsletter issues you can always check using my newsletter archive.  There is a link in each issue as well as one on the home page of my web site.


I'll see you down the road,


In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Two by Two Trivia Quiz
New Magazine Article by Bruce Johnson
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

January 2, 2012

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson



"Memory is the library of the mind." - Franacis Fauvel- Gourand


Last week I went out to dinner with my wife Carole. I began sharing some of my childhood memories with her. They were things she had not heard me talk about before. Some of them were things I had not thought about in a long time. She wanted to know what inspired me to talk about that specific topic. I thought back to something I had heard that day that triggered it. It really seemed like I had opened a book containing all of those related memories.


I often reread a favorite book like The Man Who Was Magic by Paul Gallico. It brings me fresh enjoyment each time I read it. Reliving my memories also brings be fresh enjoyment. Some are of places that I will probably never revisit. Some are of friends who are no longer living. But opening the appropriate volume from my memory lets me experience those previous times all over again.


As entertainers we can prompt others to open volumes of their memories. When you perform a classic routine you remind audience members of when they saw previous performances of that routine. For example, every time that I see a performance of the Miser's Dream coin production I remember seeing a magician perform the Miser's Dream at my elementary school when I was in second grade. It was that performance that inspired me to become a magician.


Being able to open memories makes knowledge of entertainment history valuable for variety artists visiting nursing homes. Just before Christmas Carole and I were visiting a nursing home as Santa and Mrs. Claus. One of the residents quietly told me, "I grew up with your father." I was wondering how she recognized me and would have known my Dad. She continued, "I grew up with Father Christmas."


I thought she was speaking with a slight accent, so I asked, "Did you come from across the pond?" (That is a phrase my British friends use.)


"Oh, yes, I'm from London." From my study of clown history I know about the traditional Christmas Pantomimes performed in England. I asked her if she had attended them. Her face lit up as she exclaimed, "Oh, My! My brother and I loved them! Puss and Boots, Cinderella, they were all wonderful!" Then she continued to share with me more memories of Christmas celebrations when she was a child. Her voice was louder and she was more animated as she relived the joys of childhood.


You should stock your library with more than just history. Jim Howle once commented that the way to become a great clown was to get lots of performance experience and remember what worked and what didn't. You don't forget the mistakes because sometimes they are better than what you had originally planned. Then you watch other entertainers. You see your friends in live performances and you study recorded performances of great entertainers. Eventually when you encounter a new situation you know how to react because you can pull the appropriate book from your mental library. Jim said sometimes you wait years for the opportunity to use something in your memory, but when you have the chance you seem like a genius.


Your library doesn't have to be limited to your own experiences. During the 1990 World Clown Association Convention we knew that Mark Anthony's life was nearing the end because he was in a hospital being treated for cancer. One evening at the convention Leon McBryde sat down and for two hours shared his memories of spending time with Mark. Now Leon's memories of Mark are part of my library. I share those memories with others when I teach about clowning.


What is in your library of memories? How can you enjoy its contents? How can you use them when you perform? How can you help others open their own volumes? What do you need to add to the stock of your library? How can you do that?




Two by Two Trivia Quiz
I have updated one of the pages in the puzzle and quiz section of my web site.  It is a history trivia quiz in the format of picking two clowns out of the list of inductees to the International Clown Hall of Fame that have something in common.  For example, the first question is, "Which two ICHOF Inductees were Advance Clowns for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1975?"

New Magazine Article By Bruce Johnson
I was invited to write the cover story for the December issue of Clowning Around, published by the World Clown Association.  The article is a profile of famous Soviet clown Oleg Popov.  (The same issue also included an article about Popov by Arthur Pedlar.)  Arthur is scheduled to meet Popov this weekend to present him a copy of the magazine and the first ever World Clown Association Legacy of Laughter award.  Most awards presented by clown organizations are for service to the organization, but this award is for outstanding contributions to the general art of clowning.
Cheli continues to do an outstanding job editing Clowning Around.  Popov was apprenticed to Karandash early in his career, and assisted him in performing the Mismade Statue routine.  (The history of this routine is included in my book Creativity For Entertainers Volume Three.)  I sent Cheli a pen & ink illustration that I had done of Karandash performing the routine.  She located a photo of Popov standing next to Karandash which she paired with my illustration.  That is just one example of the extra effort she takes to make sure the work of authors submitting articles to the magazine is presented in the best way possible.
To learn more about the World Clown Association and to subscribe to Clowning Around go to
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.
Show Me Clowns for Jesus
February 17-19, 2012
Springfield, MO
Topics to be announced


Big Foot Clown Alley

Tuesday March 13, 2012

7-9 PM

(Meeting starts at 6:30) 

Fife, WA

Strolling Entertainment


Big Foot Clowns 




California Clown Campin'

July 30 - August 5, 2012

San Bernardino, CA


The Art of Clowning Exhibit (Clown portraits created by Bruce Johnson)


Classes:  To Be Announced 


California Clown Campin Information



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

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