The purpose of this blog is to share stories from the road of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown Alley. With this resource we can relive those days and have a better understanding of the transitions within Clown Alley over the years. I feel historically it's important to share these stories for future generations. 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Why Mitch ?

Many of you know this story, but for those who don't here goes! 

After the air conditioning started I decide to finally get a shower. Bill Williams had a different idea. He wanted me to meet Bill Ballantine the Dean of Clown College! He said he was in the office and would like to meet me. The thought of having to meet Mr. Ballantine  in my present state did not appeal to me. I didn't know what to do so I decided I better go. 

As Bill turned to introduce himself he just stared and said, " You look alot shorter than in your picture." (In those days we sent swimsuit shots with our application.) 

He then introduced me to my new roomate Mike Perry. Many of you may have known him. He went on to the Blue show that year, along with Rick Davis, Dick Monday, Peggy Ford, I believe there may have been one more. After that Bill turned and left.

  Every time Mike would speak to me he would call me "Mitch". I would tell him that was not my name. At which point he would apologize and explain that I reminded him of his best friend and that he would try to remember. As others arrived and we went around meeting people he would say, "Hello my name is Mike and this is Mitch" I would remind him and once again he would apologize.

 As we entered the building the first day they had a bulletin board with Polaroid shots of each student and there names below. I looked at mine and it said Mitch Freddes. After that I decided to give up and the name stuck. I had never met anyone named Mitch in my entire life! So goes the story of Mitch.


  1. Great start to your blog, Mitch. Will be reading it daily!

  2. Sometimes life is just a Mitch!