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The Best Medicine: 1923

May 1, 1923. Washington, D.C. "Children's Hospital circus." Who wants to fly out of a cannon? National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

May 1, 1923. Washington, D.C. "Children's Hospital circus." Who wants to fly out of a cannon? National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


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So soulful

The little girl lying in bed next the polka dot clown looks so soulful. What an adorable little girl. She looks as if there could never be enough hugs and kisses to make her feel better. I wonder what ever became of her?

Ringling-Barnum-Bailey Clowns

Washington Post, Apr 29, 1923.

Ringling-Barnum-Bailey Combination Goes Under Canvas This Afternoon.

Here Three Days — 1,000 Animals, 70 Equestrians, 100 Clowns and 700 Arena Stars.

Sunday school will have a strong counter attraction for Washington youngsters today. The biggest circus in all the world — Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey combined, reaches here to inaugurate its yearly 15,000 mile road tour "under canvas" tomorrow afternoon at Camp Meigs. …

Does Anyone Like Clowns?

I wonder if any children are truly delighted to be in the presence of a clown? I was never afraid of them but I remember as a very young child, being disgusted by thick makeup around a clown's mouth.

Chilled me to the bone

The one standing up, wearing white with polka dots? For a second there I thought his head was wrapped in gauze bandages. Definitely upped the Creepshow quotient. Nothin' better than a clown! Unless it's a clown with a brain injury.


Had that been the kids in my family, my sister and I would have kept our distance. Our little brother would have been terrified!

One of the scariest movies I have ever seen is "He Who Gets Slapped" with Lon Chaney. There are scenes with hundreds of clowns!

Can't Sleep

Clowns will eat me!

Clowns to the left of me

Clowns to the right.

License to annoy

Having been a close friend to a clown about 35 years ago, I know that many of them mean well and are very dedicated to cheering people up, especially children. Many hospitals sponsor clowns to keep the mood upbeat in the childrens' areas. Still, many sensible adults and children find their presence unsettling and disturbing. Frankly, how does one conduct oneself when confronted by a living, yapping buffoon dressed outlandishly and forcing themselves into your space, acting stupid and doing unasked-for stunts? If one is in a serious mood, one may not want to have balloon animals, exploding confetti popguns and Clarabelle horns being hoisted upon one's person. I love humor but I personally find clowns mostly annoying because they know they will get away with pushing their slapstick upon everyone, whether they want it or not. Just FYI, my clown friend died and his funeral was attended by dozens of his clown friends, all in full regalia. It was the most bizarre final goodby I ever attended. Talk about mixed emotions.


“To me, clowns aren't funny. In fact, they're kind of scary. I've wondered where this started and I think it goes back to the time I went to the circus, and a clown killed my dad.”

--Jack Handey


I got no problem with clowns, never did.


It's nice to see nurses dressed like professionals, these days they're the ones dressed like clowns.


Nothing cheers up sickly kids in a 1920's era hospital more than middle aged men donned in freakish clown outfits and face paint.

Pointy-smile clown!

These are the spawn of Satan! The one on the right looks like an incipient John Wayne Gacy (another pointy-smile clown, of course.)

The best image in the photo for me is the young man on the lower left shielding his eyes from the sun - he's got no front teeth!

Those old style nurse uniforms

Does anyone else miss those? It just made them seem more, I don't know, professional. Or something. Oh yeah, and lump me in with the crowd that thinks clowns are ultra-creepy.

3 words

John Wayne Gacy.

I was wrong

While still morning blurry-eyed I could have sworn that was Fields and Baby Leroy. Nope.

Not Happy

The one baby on the clown's knee is not satisfied. The clown could pass off as Teddy Roosevelt.


Intrinsically frightening. These are no exception.

As clowns go

The one in the back and the one on the right aren't particularly scary (I'm not even counting the girl clown). The one in the front, though. No wonder the kid he's holding looks a bit askance.

High noon

according to the nurse's watch.

[I think it's more like 10:55. - Dave]

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