Friday, December 16, 2011

Clown Show

East Ward Elementary School cast of "The Scarecrow" - a class operetta 1953
No, these aren't the clowns in the latest Republican Presidential Debate. That would be them below:

GOP Clowns (i.e., presidential candidates) gather for a debate last night in Iowa
No folks, the first picture is of me (I'm in the back on the far right with the GOOD clown makeup - check out those lips) and my classmates from fifth and sixth grade.  We attended the East Ward Elementary School in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.  The year was 1953.

Funny thing, there is so much that I have forgotten over the years but I remember the preparation for this operetta so clearly.  At lest some parts of it.  As a young kid, craving attention like most my age, I was thrilled to be asked if I would be willing to be made up as a scarecrow to appear in the class operetta. THRILLED!  I was SO happy.  Check out that big Joker (i.e., Batman) smile spread across my young, flawless cherubic cheeks.

We had to supply our own costumes.  I went home and asked my Mom if we had any old clothes that a scarecrow would wear.  She said I was wearing it already.  Oh yes, we were poor.  In fact we were so poor (here it come folks), we DIDN'T EVEN KNOW WE WERE POOR.  So anyway, I already had my "costume" which was an old plaid shirt with the elbows worn out and an old pair of jeans.  All I needed was a straw hat.  I don't remember where that came from, probably someone else supplied it.  I wasn't into hat too much at that time of my life.  My "hat" phase came when I went into the Army, and continues to this day.

I don't remember what we did in the play.  Maybe my friend Larry remembers.  He is the scarecrow on the other end in the back.  He's usually pretty good at remembering details.  We're friends to this day.  When he reads this blog he'll tell me and I'll update you.  But one thing that I do remember is the SMELL OF THE GREASPAINT!  I lOVED IT!    I really think I missed my Calling.  I SHOULD HAVE BEEN AN ACTOR!  I have all the necessary ingredients:

  • I love attention
  • I have a huge ego
  • I'm in love with myself
  • I'm goodlooking
  • I have personality to spare
  • I'm humble 
  • I never tire of looking at myself
So there, I have all the necessary qualifications.  What happened?  Well, I guess my life took a detour and here I am old, gray and aching and wondering whatever happened to my budding acting career that was nipped in the bud.  

I know, maybe I should have been a politician.  But then again, that wouldn't have worked out either.  You see, I have slight problem....I cannot lie.


Ron said...

I hope everyone who reads this blog knows that I was only kidding about the "in love with myself" and all the other over the top ego comments. That is only my dry humor. Maybe you have to be here to appreciate it. Having said that, I still stand by my assertion that the present slate of would be Republican presidential candidates are clowns. At least when I had all that greasepaint slathered on my face when I was 11 years old, I know I was only playing a clown. I took off the greasepaint and developed into the knock your socks off drop dead gorgeous guy that you see today!

nitewrit said...


I don't remember much about the operetta. We (the group pictured) were kind of a chorus. We did some choreography and singing in a scene and maybe some background stuff. I believe we each had a particular personality that we eluded to in the "big" number. Denny was a sunburnt scarecrow, that is why his face is made-up so different than the rest of us. That was red paint all over it to look like sunburn. I have no idea what Bill B. was -- the dead scarecrow? All that white.

I was also stage struck. I did the puppet show and I also was also recruited to play a little boy playing a cowboy in the High School play. When I actually got to high school as a student I was in several plays and acts, most of which I wrote myself.

If someone asked me to play a scarecrow on stage now, I'd jump at the chance, although probably not too high on these legs. Of course, I'm much scarier now.


Ron said...


I remember nothing about the details of the operetta other than I was thrilled to be asked and the smell of the greasepaint when it was applied. I don't remember the play of singing at all. My mind is a total blank on it. It's a good thing I'm recording these events in my life because my memories are fading fast.

Ur-spo said...

I recall a sci-fi book, in which the political offices are given to those who show signs of no way wanting to do the job, on the sensible ground those who covet public office shouldn't run governments.

Ron said...

Dr. Spo,

It's all a big ego trip for these clowns. They all want to be the next George Washington when in reality they are moral dwarfs.