Clowns, the Fun Makers

Clowns Fun Makers coverClowns: The Fun Makers

Submitter: This book has not circulated since 1999, and I can see why. The photos are pretty boring. Plus being a history book on the topic of clowns that is now over 40 years old – it’s time to replace and update.

Holly: Or, as Mary says, “Clowns: The Nightmare Makers.” I guess if your last name is Boring and you’re a writer, you find something fun to write about. It’s basically just a history of clowns and circus entertainers (ending at 1980, obviously). Not the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but definitely old and…well, boring.

Red Unit: Ringling Show

Felix Adler

Patrick Burden

The Wallendas


  1. It’s gratifying to live in a time where clowns are far less prevalent than any other time in not too distant history.

  2. This book looks much older than 1980. Black and white pictures of characters that are famous for being brightly colored?

    WTF are the Flying Wallendas doing there? They weren’t clowns.

    As if a Monday during a plague wasn’t horrifying enough, we have this. Shudder.

  3. In 1979 the Red Unit (?? name?) at RBB&B had a blackface clown. Was Patrick Burden a Black man, or does “whiteface” mean something nonracial in clowning?

    1. A whiteface clown is, as far as I can tell, basically one that wears white make-up, as opposed to an Auguste, whose base colour is pink, red or tan. If anything, it’s more of a class thing, with the whiteface clown having higher status than the Auguste and ordering him about.

    2. “does “whiteface” mean something nonracial in clowning”

      Yes. “Whiteface” is what most people think of when they think of clowns (imagine Bozo, etc.). It means that the face is entirely covered in flat white makeup first and colorful designs and exaggerated features are painted on top of the white. The white is intended to disguise the clown’s identity and provide a base for the clown face, not to make the clown look like a white person.

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