When last we met, I’d taken us down to the Brownsville, TX area, not yet noting that both Kelly-Killer, for whom clowns Steve Coepland and Ryan Combs once clowned, and Circo Hermanos Vazques, for whom the two jesters now clown, are both uncorking new season with weeks of each other. Yes, both opening their rings across the same Texas terracotta.
Very interesting, I’d say. Cosmically intriguing. Beyond this, what else from the House of Ringling? We must wait and see if anything new in the forthcoming program surfaces. Seems that last season’s advance clown was signed to become John Ringling North’ II’s replacement clown alley. By the way, what exactly does an advance clown do? I could never figure that out; over there Across the Pond, clowns being so loathed in some quarters, I can’t imagine a funny face fronting any circus. An advance pig maybe. Or tiger or Monster Truck, HoHo! Don’t’ send out the clowns!
Onto metrosexual matters, roughly. if you will, referencing a trenchant piece in the Wall Street Journal about the genders blurring into One, resulting in men being squeezed, drilled, and hushed down into little walking wimps. That’s summing it up broadly. What struck me as a connection to this new emasculating trend is how big tops, some, have eased up on the fear factor. Turned in single traps for fabrics. And are shunning what I might call, at the risk of house arrest, male athleticism. Or simply athletic (okay, I hear you knocking, PC police; let me insult a little more and then you can take me away, okay?).
Clyde Beatty. The late Henry Edgar argued Beatty’s near-phenomenal popular fame in American culture. I tended to agree; and now having read a fine and grabbing, terrifically illustrated Bandwagon piece by Dave Price, "Clyde Beatty in Hollywood," about the young and glamorous whip master's presence in a number of movies (maybe second rate but not all box office fizzles) and Saturday matinee serials, I am sure of the fact. Clyde Beatty, by the time I cribbed out and could turn the radio dial myself, was a Big Name. We looked for him in the newspaper, knowing that at any time, somewhere in a circus ring, of of his charge my part script a go ballistic.
Most famous American circus personality ever? Beatty pulled in kids to the Saturday matinees, all ages to the main features. He also held down a radio show.
Most exciting act I ever sat through. Make that chilling: First time I saw the great Clyde Beatty enter the steel cage. Think the band played Bolero. Oh, thank you Ravel for a great circus pulse!
Know what. On this note of high drama, I’m about to take my leave. Yes, as I last time hinted, the dots from Barnum that once connected to every circus now sometimes bypasses wimpy metrosexual big tops and go directly to TV to extreme sports.
Hold on! I meant to theme this whole thing as a tour through Planet Circus, the magazine from Germany. That must come next, and therein lies a victorious tie in to the circus of Clyde Beatty and his — pardon me — masculine kind.
Five o’clock news about to come on. All for now, kids.
[all Beatty photos from Bandwagon]