Yesterday’s Clowns

Yesterday's Clowns coverYesterday’s Clowns

Submitter: This one was popular in our middle school library in the 90s, but hasn’t left the shelves since then. This one needs to be updated. Also, none of these people look like the mental image my students would get if they heard the word “clown.”

Holly: Those are clowns? And here I thought I’d have some pictures to torture Mary with!

Yesterday's Clowns  title page

Yesterday's Clowns

Max Linder

Mabel Normand

Three Keatons

Little Rascals

The Freshman


  1. Looks like it would be a good resource for someone researching Golden Age Hollywood, at least if the actual text of the book is any good. If it’s a middle school book filled with mainly photographs, I’m surprised it was still being checked out in the ’90s. I watch a lot of older films, and even then, I only recognize a couple of those. Even the Little Rascals in that photo are unfamiliar to me.

    1. I agree…I remember Farina, but I think he was an older kid in the Spanky episodes. And I was surprised to see Buster Keaton as a little kid!

      1. I was curious, so I did a quick look on Wikipedia, and it looks like Farina did a few of the talking shorts, which are probably the only ones syndicated. The chubby kid did a few as well, and he’s the only other one that looks a little familiar to me.

        I had no idea there were so many silent Our Gang/Little Rascal films made. There’s probably about a hundred or so I never saw as a kid.

  2. The book actually seems pretty interesting as a piece on film history, although I can see where the title would be misleading to a modern audience. Also, is it only photos and captions, or is there text as well? I’d see this as being more interesting to a crowd older than middle school. I’m sure there are books on early film for that age range, but this one seems a little dry for them.

  3. Anyone who does comedy for a living is technically a “clown”, even if they don’t wear the usual big red noses or white makeup. 🙂

  4. Not only that, I’m wagering that this book is only a compilation of movie studio publicity stills, basically free content. It’s like compiling a book exclusively of Library of Congress and/or expired-copyright photos–dirt cheap. If the captions are the extent of accompanying text, well………

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