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Posts Tagged ‘Weary Willie

Stocking Stuffers for the Sagacious…

 

In the same spirit as the afore-featured Literary Action Figures, and just in time for the Holidays, The Unemployed Philosophers Guild (“The unexamined gift is not worth giving”) offers finger puppets of the world’s greatest philosophers, authors, artists, leaders, and thinkers…

Mark Twain

Immanuel Kant

Virginia Woolf

Mahatma Gandhi

Marie Curie

Louis Armstrong

Find these and 100 more, from Hannah Arendt and the Buddha to Ulysses S. Grant and Zora Neale Hurston, at The Unemployed Philosophers Guild.

[TotH to Brain Pickings]

 

As we muse on the money we’ll save on manicures, we might send poignantly amusing birthday wishes to Emmett Kelly, the best-known circus clown of the Twentieth Century; he was born on this date in 1898.

Kelly began his career under the big top in the early 1920s as a trapeze artist; but in 1931, he switched to clowning.  In a move that was revolutionary at the time, Kelly eschewed traditional white-face, darkening his face to become “Weary Willie,” a character based on the hobos of the time.  While he did do gags (famously, “opening” a peanut with a sledgehammer), his act was largely mimed sketches in which his bedraggled character is yet again out of luck.  (Perhaps his best-known bit derived from his regular appearance after other acts, sweeping up:  toward the end of the show he tries– and of course fails– to sweep up the pool of light cast by a spotlight.)

Kelly worked at a number of different circuses through the 20s and 30s until he settled, in 1942, at Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey.  He performed there (with a short break to play “Willie” in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth in 1952) until 1956, when he served a year as the mascot of the Brooklyn Dodgers.  He was an inaugural inductee into the International Clown Hall of Fame and into the International Circus Hall of Fame. And though he was born in Sedan, Kansas, Kelly was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians; a bronze bust depicting him is on permanent display in the rotunda of the Missouri State Capitol.

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

December 9, 2011 at 1:01 am

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