Wednesday, August 08, 2018



Roger Smith said...

Red Skelton's father, Joseph Elmer Skelton, had been a Hagenbeck-Wallace clown, but died 2 months before Red's birth. The boy had a terribly hardscrabble early life. He later told of being given a near-try in the cage with lions by Clyde Beatty. This might have happened, as Red is reported to have been on H-W for a short 4 months, in 1929. Beatty had taken over the big Pete Taylor mixed act of 25+ lions and tigers in 1925, and by 1929 was famed for his fighting style of performing. There might have been this moment for Red, and he and Beatty remained friends for life. Red never missed being on the lot, at times as a guest clown, when Beatty played the big Los Angeles dates.