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. 

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dougie Ashton

Dougie Ashton was a true to life clown.  He was "on" all the time.  He would come in on Saturday mornings and go up and down the dressing rooms blasting his trumpet and yelling,"GOOD MORNING YOU LUCKY PEOPLE!!"   Of course this would drive everyone mad, but inside, they knew it was just Dougie.  What you see is what you get!
One evening we had off from show, a bunch of us decided to hit a bar and have a few.  We were barely in the door and Dougie started being Dougie.  He accidently (was it?) bumped some guy next to him sitting at the bar. So the guy turned to Dougie asked him if he had a problem.  Of course the answer was no.  With Dougie, it was always no, Dougie never had a 'problem".  A few minutes later, Dougie bumped the guy again.  Once again the guy asked if there was a problem . Again, Dougie's answer was no. This continued off and on for the next half hour or so...
The guy sitting at the bar was getting more and more irritated and confrontational, and it finally reached the point where Dougie asked the guy if he wanted to take it outside.  The guy was more than ready and said "YES!"  so the guy got up and started towards the door.  When Dougie got up he started for the door all knock-kneed and what looked like a huge limp, basically looking as if both of legs were broken.   We all busted out laughing, and I'll be darned if the guy started laughing along with us!  Dougie bought the man a drink and we all spent the rest of the night having a great time.
Another Story:  One Saturday morning we didn't hear the normal trumpet blast. so we knew Dougie was running late.  Great time for an alternate plan!!  I decided to get a plain donut from the pie car and a cup coffee and have it waiting for Dougie.  Only this would not be your ordinary donut.  I took some baby powder and covered it so it looked like powder sugar and set it on his trunk along with the coffee.  Doubie finally showed up, came in saw the donut and coffee on his trunk.  He looked up smiled, and thanked everyone for being  so thoughtful.  We all watched in silence as he drank the coffee and ate the donut one bite at a time.
One by one of us, gave into laughter and soon the whole alley was in stitches.  Dougie looked around totally clueless, and wondering why everyone was laughing asked simply,"What's so funny?"
"That's baby powder on that donut..."
Dougie said nothing more than, "I thought it was awful dry!"
He then finished getting ready and went to work, never missing a beat.


  1. The guy in the bar... HHAHAAHAAHAA!!! that is HILARIOUS! ohhhhman I wish I could have seen that!

  2. I've seen some great clowns on Ringling (you included Mitch). But, I never saw a clown like Dougie Ashton. He was Chaplinesque. He only had to stand in the middle of it all and his presence stated, 'isn't this ridiculous? Aren't I ridiculous? And, furthermore, aren't all humans ridiculous?'