Tomorrow, December 9th, is Weary Willy Day. It's actually the birthday (in 1898) of Emmett Kelly, Sr., creator of the iconic "tramp clown" character, Weary Willy. Though Kelly began his circus career as a trapeze artist and occasional "normal" white-face clown, he devised the Weary Willy character while working as a cartoonist and when the Great Depression hit, audiences enthusiastically welcomed the new "tramp clown." Weary Willy was a welcome departure from normal clowns, with his ragged customized apparel, downtrodden expression, and "non-acts" that consisted of interrupting other circus performers--dusting the performing animals, polishing stage lights, stringing laundry on low acrobatic wires, and so on.
Kelly performed as Weary Willy with several circuses, most notably appearing for fourteen seasons with the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey. Weary Willy also had a few promotional film appearances, and briefly served as the Brooklyn Dodgers' sports logo mascot! I'm trying to think of a parallel entertainer for the current financial crisis, but not coming up with any names--who do you think could be the Weary Willy of this generation?
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
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