Newspaper Archive of
Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
March 6, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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March 6, 1997

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WHITEFACE CLOWN-The best clowns around? They are the top ten Shrine Whitefaces. , photo by Patti Babcock CHARACTER CLOWN-The clowns pictured above are ten of the best in tlae west, east, north and south. photo by Patti Babcock TRAMP CLOWN-Ten top tramps. Outfitted to travel, but they don't have to ride the rails no more. photo by Patti Babcock Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday, March 6, 1997 AA15 Classic Clowns by Patti Babcock Gazette staff Colorful clowns, each with unique face and makeup, clowned around at their annual con- vention and competition. The Four Queens Casino in Las Vegas was the sight for the gathering of funny folk. On Saturday, March 1, the top ten clowns in each of the basic four basic types were chosen. The charming, cheerful clowns have a hierar- chy based on the skill and intelligence of the character. The Whiteface Clown is top clown. He is the straight man. This clown dates back to the mid 1700s. There are two variations, the neat whiteface and the comedy whiteface. Next is the Auguste Clown, pictured on the front page. This is the slapstick clown who plays to the whiteface's straightman act. He has outlandish features which usually include large red lips, a big, red nose and brightly colored hair. This is the guy who gets the pie in the face or drenched with a bucket of water. The Character Clown depicts a character: a policeman, a snowman, Robin Hood, the court jester. This captivating character entertains with his own version of slapstick comedy. He is closely related to the Auguste Clown. Even in clowndom, someone has to be at the bottom of the social order. The Tramp Clown is the perfect persona for this spot. Modeled after the hobos that rode the rails during the depression, the Tramp's white eyes and mouth mimic the white areas created when the hobo wiped his mouth with the back of his hand or cleared sleep from his eyes making the white of these areas contrast dramatically with the rest of his soot covered face. Tramp Clowns are happy or sad characters. This fellow delights an audience when he opens his coat to display an amazing array of items inside the patchwork pockets. T-bone is tile name of one of the top ten tramp clowns. He has a T-bone, scavenged from a pilfered steak, sewn on the front of his jacket. Snap Trap carries his frying pan attached to his tattered attire with a piece of rope. He is a sad tramp wearing tattered clothing. He has been a clown for 25 years and started by tag- ging along with his clown father. He became a mentor to T-bone who has been a clown for less than a year. Both placed in the top ten Tramp Clowns in the nation. They hail from an area near Springfield, Ohio. Clowning looks easy. Just a lot of silliness. The Pahrump clown students are learning that clowning can be a serious business. It takes work, creativity and skill. Making little animals from balloons is no easy task. The biggest challenge is Creating the character. You can borrow ideas or even a feature from another clown but it is unethical and in some cases illegal to copy a clown's face. Every clown is unique, one-of-a-kind, just like person in the costume. The students visited the Shrine's Clown Convention on Saturday. The clowns willingly shared valuable information and gave welcome encouragement. The students browsed the booths of the vendors and were shocked to find that those big, funny shoes start at about $185. But, it takes more than that to discourage a committed clown. The students agree it doesn't matter if they ever number among the top ten. To light up a child's face or see joy in a senior's eyes will be a big enough reward.