Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #425 
January 30, 2012

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson




The Show Me Clowns For Jesus Conference two weeks ago was a great event.  I greatly enjoyed my interactions with the participants.  I could tell that they were there eager to learn.  A special feature of this conference was their Show Me A Smile Day.  During the second afternoon of the conference all of the participants went on field trips to do performances so they could practice what they had been learning and to make an impact upon the local community.  It was a great form of public outreach.


I was stunned when it was announced following my performance at the Show Me Clowns For Jesus Conference that I was being inducted into the Clown Ministry Hall of Fame.  I was honored to be the second inductee, following J. T. "Bubba" Sikes.  There will eventually be a Clown Ministry Hall of Fame display at the Oasis Conference Center in Springfield, MO.  (The conference center is currently being remodeled and enlarged.)  I would like to thank the Show Me Clowns For Jesus Task Force for presenting me with this award.


Now I will be presenting a two-hour session on strolling entertaining at the Big Foot Clown Alley Meeting on March 13. My part of the meeting will begin at 7 PM.  It is being held at the Fife Community Center, 2111 54th Ave E., Fife, WA.  Guests are welcome.



I'll see you down the road,




In This Issue
Thought For The Week
New Articles by Bruce Johnson
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

February 27, 2012

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson



"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island...and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life." -- Walt Disney


February is Black History Month, Heart Health Awareness Month, and Library Lovers Month. I love public libraries. I visit my local library at least twice a month and sometimes visit several times within a week. When I travel one of my favorite things to do is visit the public library to see what they have in their collection that my own library does not include. If my wife, Carole, and I had to purchase all the books we check out of the public library it would cost us thousands of dollars each year.


Sometimes a public library book turns out to be such a useful reference that I decide to purchase it for my own personal library at home because I know I will use it often. For example, I originally checked out Mixed Nuts: America's Love Affair with Comedy Teams From Burns and Allen to Belushi and Aykroyd by Lawrence J. Epstein from the public library. I now own my own copy which I have referred to several times in answering questions I have received as World Clown Association Historian.


Sometimes reading a book from a library once is enough. For example, The Man Behind the Nose, by Larry "Bozo" Harmon is poorly produced and does not have much useful information. For the most part it is illustrated with stock photos not related to the text. Many of Harmon's claims aren't creditable, for example that Fred Astaire secretly asked him to help him figure out a dance routine. Also, Harmon does not refer to Vance "Pinto" Colvig, the original Bozo, and he exaggerates his own contributions to the development of the character. I am glad that I did not pay money to read Harmon's book.


One of the joys of reading a wide variety of books from the public library is you never know what you will discover. For example, I can imagine a clown act based on this passage from In The Company of Others, a novel by Jan Karon.   She wrote, "Uncle Billy Watson was one of my best friends... I remember the day he called me at the church office and said, Preacher, I done fell off a twelve-foot ladder."


"Good Lord, I said, did you hurt yourself."


"No, sir, he said, not a dent. I only fell off th' bottom rung."


Here is an example of how something I read in a novel was useful in my own life. Several novelists write mysteries where the main character is a cook. The stories include recipes and cooking tips. I remember reading in one of them that if you spray a measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray before measuring molasses the sticky substance will slide right out. Recently a recipe I was making called for a quarter cup of honey. I sprayed the cup first, and the honey easily poured out of the measuring cup into the bowl of other ingredients.


Reading non-fiction about other entertainers can be inspirational and instructional. I discovered in Wally Boag: Clown Prince of Disneyland, by Wally Boag and Gene Sands, that in 1948 Wally performed his balloon sculpture act in Cirque Medrano, the famous permanent one-ring circus in Paris. Wally told jokes and danced while twisting his balloons. He had his jokes translated into French, which he memorized. He discovered that he had to make changes to his act due to cultural differences. For example, he had several mother-in-law jokes which were common in American comedy of the era. His French audience was shocked because a mother-in-law was held in great respect in their culture, so he had to remove those jokes.


Go to a public library this week. Check out some books to read. What treasures do you find hidden in them?



New Articles by Bruce Johnson
An article that I wrote on the visit by California Clown Campin' to the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus as part of their 2011 eduational curriculum appeared in the January/February issue of White Tops, published by the Circus Fans of America Association.  The article included the history of the clown acts performed in the show.  To learn more about the Circus Fans of America Assocation and to join, which includes a subscription to White Tops, go to
An article that I wrote on the history of two comedy techniques, Spoonerism and Malaprops, appeared in the February 2012 issue of Clowning A round, published by the World Clown Association.  To learn more about the World Clown Association and to join, which includes a subscription to Clowning Around, go to





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I hope to see you down the road.


Bruce Johnson
Charlie's Creative Comedy
Copyright 2012 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.
Big Foot Clown Alley Meeting

Tuesday March 13, 2012

7-9 PM

(Meeting starts at 6:30) 

Fife Community Center, 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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