Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #523 
October 28, 2013

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


This October 30 is the 75th Anniversary of the radio broadcast of Orson Welles' production of War of the Worlds. The story was performed as a band concert being interrupted by fake breaking news stories from a fictional radio network. There was an announcement at the beginning the show and at each commercial break identifying the story as fictional. However, many people missed the announcements because they tuned in when the program was already in progress. They believed the reports of Martians landing on earth and panicked. Fake news reports were banned on radio as a result of the broadcast.


In this week's main article I refer to researching the history of broadcasting in Chicago, site of the 2014 World Clown Association Convention. One of the interesting facts I discovered is that Orson Welles was born in Chicago and began his acting career there. His first appearance on a national network show was playing the title character in The Shadow, a series written by Walter Gibson, a magician, and broadcast from Chicago.


In many countries Halloween is celebrated on October 31. Many magicians also celebrate Magic Day on October 31 in memory of Harry Houdini who died of a ruptured appendix on that date.


I grew up attending Lutheran churches which followed an Ecclesial calendar of celebrations. According to that schedule November 1 is All Saints Day. All Saints Day is a day to remember those who have passed away. Often during the church service on the first Sunday after All Saints Day the names of members of the church congregation that have died in the previous year are read and prayers said in their honor. Sometimes a candle is lit or a bell is rung in their memory. All Saints Day is also known as All Hallows Day. Halloween means the Evening before All Hallows Day. The idea that ghosts are present on Halloween was inspired by people who thought the souls of recently departed people gathered at that time to be honored on All Hallows Day.


It would be appropriate for entertainers to follow that tradition by honoring on November 1 the memory of entertainers who have passed away, in particular those who have died in the past year. Who do you remember that should be honored? What can you do in their memory?


I will see you down the road,



In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Web Site Article
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

October 28, 2013

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


"Your most brilliant ideas come in a flash, but the flash comes only after a lot of hard work. Nobody gets a big idea when he is not relaxed, and nobody gets a big idea when he is relaxed all the time." -- Edward Blakeslee


Last week my local newspaper reprinted an article by Rex Hupple that originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune. In the article, Hupple discusses new research into "the default mode network" of the brain. That means when you are not concentrating on a particular task certain portions of the brain become more active. According to Hupple, "These portions are responsible for introspective thoughts and our ability to imagine the past and the future or even alternate realities." According to Hupple, this method of thinking is critical for creativity.


If you are concentrating on something specific, you activate different portions of your brain which control your thoughts, and the "default mode network" is less active. You need to give the "default mode network" the chance to do the work of randomly combining information and ideas which produces new ideas and insights.


One way to do this is to become unplugged. If you are constantly answering your cell phone, reading texts, or checking email you are switching to the "control" portions of your brain. It pulls you into the current reality instead of letting you explore possible realities.


To allow incubation of ideas to take place you need to do things that don't require a great deal of conscious thought to control what is happening. Examples include raking leaves, skipping stones at a lake, hunting for sea shells on a beach, flying a kite, practicing juggling, and walking through the woods.


I am fortunate to live in a place where I can frequently walk a beach or through the woods. The ideas for many of my magazine articles are developed during these walks. Sometimes it is an idea for a topic, but frequently the format and structure of an article will fall into place.


The result is dependant upon the type of preparation that I have done. For example, I may decide on a topic of a historical article, but if I don't know many details I can't decide how to fit them together. Sometimes that requires me to do a lot of research. While going on a walk I got the idea to write an article about the history of broadcasting in Chicago in order to help promote the 2014 World Clown Association Convention in Chicago. I knew the city had been an important center for radio and television, but hadn't realized how important. I ended up doing over 100 hours of research into the topic. At the end I had a lot of facts, but wasn't sure how to present them. While going on walks I realized that the information could be divided into thirds. Then I realized how to organize each section of information, and conclusions I could draw from the historical facts that modern performers could use in their entertainment. The result is a three-part series of articles that is appearing in Clowning Around, published by the World Clown Association.


I discuss this process in more detail, using different terms, in the Incubation chapter of my book, Creativity for Entertainers Volume One: The Creative Process. One way I express it in that book is that it doesn't do any good to turn on the incubator if it is empty. Creativity requires that you work hard to stock your incubator, stop work so the incubator has a chance to operate, and then finally work to restock it.


What do you do to stock your mental idea incubator? What can you do to relax? How can you unplug from electronic devices? How can you let your incubator operate? How do you know when it is time to stop relaxing and get back to work?


Web Site Article

In keeping with the All Saints Day spirit of honoring those came before us, I have posted a new article on my web site.  It is a tribute to Wally Boag, an entertainer who was an important influence upon me.  The artice opens with a Wally Boag inspired routine that I performed one Halloween night while touring with a small indoor circus.


Wally Boag

Thank you for being a subscriber.  I am always interested in your questions and comments.

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I hope to see you down the road.


Bruce Johnson
Charlie's Creative Comedy
Copyright 2013 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 25-29, 2014
Northbrook, IL

 California Clown Campin'


Ontario, CA

Dates and subjects

to be announced


California Clown Campin'

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

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