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. 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Journey Begins.....

The year was 1974 when I left the mountains of Colorado, boarding a bus that would take me to sunny Florida. I was on my way to Ringling Brothers and  Barnum & Bailey Clown College in Venice. I was finally on my way!

 Three days later with no sleep and no shower I arrive at my destination. AT TWO IN THE MORNING! The bus stopped and kicked me off, but there was no bus station,only a small building with a bench in front of it. It used to be next to Smittys Steakhouse.

 For those who remember, there was a 7-11 nearby. I proceeded to go over there and call Bill Williams,who was the owner of Venice Villas, my home for the next 8 weeks. He told me they were across town and he would leave the key hanging on the door to my room. 

I searched in the phone book for a cab company. There was only one. I called and was informed they closed at midnight. What to do. 

Just then some rednecks in a pickup pulled up I asked if they could give me a ride. They said yes and off we went.
Finally I'm here and can now rest and take a shower! As I lay in the room it starts to get warm so I go to this thing called an air conditioner. Something I never saw in my life. I pushed the on button and layed back down. The room got hotter and hotter until I could stand it no more. This thing must not be working! 
I decided to go outside and lay on a chaise lounge by the pool to cool off. Apparently I fell asleep, the next thing I know I'm being woke up by Bill Williams and the police shaking me! They thought I was a vagrant. Remember I hadn't had a shower in three days.
 I explained who I was and why I was outside. His air conditioning didn't work. He told me to go with him and he would check it. He walked in, looked at it, pushed a button, and said it worked fine. As I looked at the button it said...........COOL!


  1. You'd never seen an AC unit? Yeah, the COOL button usually does the trick!

    SMITTY's!! haven't thought about that place in decades....

    Can't wait for the next installment!

  2. Hi Mitch glad to see you sharing part of your life


  3. Hey Mitch.. this is really great! Finally you can put all your stories together without being interrupted by "Hanabi Around the World" Congratulations and keep writing!

  4. That's the way it was. Give us more ...nice.tcb

  5. Hi my friend, nice to read and when I think back I was only 4 years old then.

    Talking about the airco ... lets me think about our airco in the Shanghai hotel! Only there was no 'cool' button, haha.