This NBC comedy special was hosted by actor Richard Kiley takes a special look at the greatest clowns to ever grace a stage, film or television screen….and this clip is certainly evidence of that statement…..for these clowns were all “healers of the human spirit” ….as every year on May 31st….clowns from all over the world have gathered at the Holy Trinity Church in London to pay their respects of one of the greatest clowns of all time….Joseph Grimaldi (18 December 1778 – 31 May 1837)….who was an English actor, comedian and dancer….who became the most popular English entertainer of the Regency era. In the early 1800s, he expanded the role of Clown in the harlequinade that formed part of British pantomimes, notably at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and the Sadler’s Wells and Covent Garden theatres….for he became so dominant on the London comic stage that the harlequinade role of Clown became known as “Joey”….and both the nickname and Grimaldi’s whiteface make-up design were, and still are, used by other types of clowns. Grimaldi originated catchphrases such as “Here we are again!”….which continue to be featured in modern pantomimes.
This video takes the viewer on a walk down memory lane while featuring many of the greatest clowns of all time from Grimaldi to Dan Rice, the political satirist to along with his pig, Lord Byron. By the end of the 1800’s, a new breed of clowns were born like Ed Wynn, W. C,.Fields, Fanny Bryce, Eddie Canter, Bert Williams….who were followed by motion picture clowns like Buster Keeton and Charlie Chaplin in the silent movies….then came sound, with W. C. Fields, the Marx Brothers, Abbott and Costello, The Three Stooges, along with Laurel and Hardy….for this film covers the spectrum of Those Fabulous Clowns….as all the great clowns from the golden age of comedy are covered in this wonderful tribute….which makes this clip worth watching over and over again….for as is often said….“The Lord never sends us more sorrow than we can bear”…..so, maybe that is why He sent us the clowns.