WCA History / Archives
Timeline: World Clown Association
The World Clown Association is organized in Jacksonville, FL. (June) Herb Metz, who had been president of Clowns of America prior to their financial difficulties and break up, is the driving force and instigator of establishing the new organization. He is aided by friends in the Southeast Clown Association. The association’s goals are:
- to put education foremost in the associations plans;
- to produce a monthly publication- put out on schedule each month;
- to establish a group liability insurance program available for all interested members;
- to be open to input from all interested members
- to make alley affiliation easy,
- to recognize individual accomplishments.
The acting association officers are: President, Sal “Pasquale” Scalia; 1 st Vice-President, Bill “Syncro” Lange; 2nd Vice-President, Joe Kury; 3rd Vice-President, Violet Schadeck; Southeast Director, Jim “Dune Buggy” Russell; Northeast Director, vacant; Midwest Director, Robert Koeple; Mideast Director, Floyd “Seal” Sealey; Northwest Director, Ralph “Clumsy” Llewellyn; Southwest Director, AI “Sarney” Smith, Farwest Director, Phil Maughan; Canadian Director, Duncan Macaulay; Latin Director, Miguel J. Mendoza; Editor, Gene Lee; Treasurer, Val “Wow” Scarcia; Administrator, Herb H. “Flapjack” Metz; Sgt.-at-Arms, Sill “Willie” Jones (non-voting); Clown Historian & Education, S.S.Jenkins (non-voting); Chaplain, Dr. Howard Killough; Promotion Director, Jerry H. Fields; and, Religious Director, Rev. John Wiatt.
Miguel Mendoza, the first Latin Director, is a resident ofPanama. He will serve until 1985.
The first issue of Clowning Around is published in September. It is published once a month in a newspaper format.
Clown artist Bill “Bill Bumble” Eubank designs the official WCA logo. In recognition of his efforts, the officers grant him a Lifetime Membership. (October)
Ray “No-Name” Levesque, President of the California Clown Alley, promotes the WCA inSouthern Californiaenrolling hundreds ofCaliforniaclowns in the next few years. He is single-handedly responsible for most of the membership growth during the first few years.
The first WCA convention is held inAtlanta,Georgia. (May) There are over 50 lectures at the convention. This convention was originally scheduled to be the South East Clown Association Convention but the group agreed to allow the WCA to use their hotel reservations.
A large group of convention participants visit the Shrine Children’s Hospital.
The first elected WCA President is Sal S. Scalia. Richard Snowberg is installed as the first elected Education Director of the WCA. The office of Religion Director is discontinued. Dr. Howard Killough continues as Chaplain.
The WCA convention is held in Las Vegas, NV. at the Frontier Hotel. Joel Barez, a WCA member employed at the hotel, hosts the convention. This is the first national clown convention held in the Western part of the United States. The majority of the WCA membership is from the West.
Jack Anderson is elected President at the convention. Richard Snowberg is re-elected as Education Director.
The WCA convention is again hosted by Joel Barez and held at the Frontier Hotel inLas Vegas,NV.
Joel Barez is elected and installed WCA President at the convention. The office of President Elect is established to give the incoming President a year to prepare for their term. Ray Levesque is chosen as the first President Elect. The Education Director is once again Richard Snowberg. No Latin America Director is elected this year.
Ray Levesque is unable to serve as President so 1st Vice President James “Strutter” Roberts is installed as President. Richard Snowberg is voted President Elect. Barry DeChant is elected Education Director. Russell Brown is elected the first, and only, WCA NAACP Director. Terry Bloes is elected the first WCA Military Director.
The annual convention is held inSan Diego, CA. Don “Dee Gee” Gonsalves is the convention chairman and is named the WCA Clown Of The Year.
The WCA establishes the first clown scholarship. It is named the Bo Dino scholarship in honor of Dean “Bo Dino” Weiss, a clown killed in a car accident. His widow donated his props which were auctioned off at theUniversityofWisconsin Clown Campto provide the initial funding for the scholarship. Annual auctions at theUniversityofWisconsin Clown Campand the WCA Conventions will continue to fund the scholarship.
Mary Weiss, widow of Dean Weiss, travels fromIllinoisto the convention inSan Diegoto help award the first five recipients of the Bo Dino Scholarship. They are Brenda Johnson Ahern, Dorothy Beyer, Pat Drenth, Pam Durkin, and Richard Heffernan. Brenda uses her scholarship forRBB&BClownCollege, and the other four use it for theUniversityofWisconsin Clown Camp. The educational programs which have been approved for scholarship recipients to attend are theUniversityofWisconsin Clown Camp, theRBB&BClownCollege, and the Laugh-Makers Conference.
Competition is given precedence at the convention. The only time the dealer rooms are closed is during competitions.
In his speech as incoming President, Richard Snowberg says, “Weeds grow by themselves, but a flower has to be carefully tended. That is why our education program is so important.”
Barry DeChant is re-elected as Education Director. Janet Tucker is elected Clown Ministry Director. Jim Roberts is elected the first Competition Director. Carlotta Payton is elected the first WCA Overseas Director.
It is decided that future WCA conventions sites will rotate between four geographic regions: 1. East Time Zone, 2. Central Time Zone, 3. Mountain/Western Time Zone, 4. International (Outside the continentalUnited States)
The annual convention is held inJacksonville,Florida.
Ken Gillespie is installed as President. Sal Scalia is elected Competition Director, but will resign before his term is concluded. Dorothy Miller is elected Education Director, and Janet Tucker is again Clown Ministry Director.
Competition by Bill Lozon in Clowning Around (July) begins his long running column on Competition and Other Things.
Clowning Around is changed from a newspaper to a magazine format in September. The same cover design, a black and white copy of the logo, is used for each issue.
The World Clown Association pays its first dues to be part of the Clown Hall Of Fame. The WCA has a seat on the CHOF Board of Directors.
Comedy Juggling “An Introduction” in Clowning Around (Feb) begins Lee Mullally’s long running comedy juggling column.
The annual convention is held inMilwaukee,WI.
Barry DeChant is installed as President.
Dorothy Miller is re-elected as Education Director. Randy Christensen is elected Clown Ministry Director. Bill Lozon is elected Competition Director.
Andrew “Kooky” Stevens is elected Overseas Director. He begins his long running From Across The Pond column in Clowning Around.
The British Alley of WCA is chartered. It’s president is Arthur “Vercoe” Pedlar. He begins a series of articles for Clowning Around that will feature his memories of acts by famous European clowns.
Following a very bitter political battle characterized by personal attacks in articles in Clowning Around, a new editorial policy is adopted in May. It says, “This magazine is published for the education and enjoyment of WCA members. Editorial policy is to avoid any negative statements or personal attacks directed to, or about any member of officer of this organization.” The policy statement will be printed inside the front cover of all future issues of Clowning Around.
The WCA convention is held inMinot,ND. Janet Tucker is installed as President.
In the first WCA mail in election, Ann Lieske is chosen as President Elect, Pat Frank as Secretary Treasurer, Rev. Randy Christensen as Clown Ministry Director, Bill Lozon as Competition Director, and Lee Mullally as Education Director.
Parade competition is held downtown during a snowstorm. The public sits in cars parked along the parade route to watch.
This is the last year that scrapbook competition is held. Scrapbooks of activities by individual clowns and alleys are judged at2AMbecause that is the only time a panel of judges is available.
Rodeo Clown Steve Tomac is the convention featured speaker.
Lou Jacobs is on the first cover of Clowning Around to feature clowns. (June) This begins a long series of covers illustrated with paintings of Clown Hall Of Fame inductees by Bill Eubanks. A capsule biography of each person is printed under their portrait.
The World Clown Association and Clowns International cooperate on scheduling the World Clown Convention. The two organizations hold their conventions back-to-back in Bognor Regis, England. (March 12-17) Members of both organizations are invited to participate in each other’s convention. There are 404 WCA members in attendance, including 388 from the United States, and 300 members of Clowns International, making a total attendance of over 700 clowns. The European clowns use “giggle of clowns” as the collective noun for clowns.
The February issue of Clowning Around has the World Clown Convention logo on the front cover. The center section is the program for the convention.
The WCA convention funds are embezzled just before the convention by the British travel agent. The convention is held, although some cost cutting measures are taken. The organization vows to recover as much of the money as possible to reimburse the individual members who have lost money first, and then to restore the organization’s treasury.
Travel schedules are coordinated so the American’s land inLondonat about the same time. Special dressing areas are set up at the airport for the Americans to get into make up and costume. Because of the limited time available, many Americans apply a simplified make up. The clowns then ride the Red Nose Express, a chartered train with a giant clown nose on the locomotive, to Bognor Regis, site of the convention.
Skit competition is not held this year. Make up competition lasts hours longer then scheduled. One of the judges who has hypoglycemia starts to go into shock so a meal break is called.
Bruce “Charlie” Johnson performs the Tramp Tradition Show as part of the American Welcoming Party at the convention. Barry DeChant is the narrator.
Ann “Misty” Lieske is installed as President.
Clowns International Convention includes two excellent shows with international clowns held in a one-ring circus. Terry DeVolt represents theUnited Statesin one of these shows.
The American Sampler show at the World Clown Convention is designed to showcase the types of clowning performed in the United States. Not all the acts are suitable for the circus ring where the show is performed. For the next year articles in The Joey, the publication of Clowns International, will criticize both the show and the make up competition.
A fifteen-square-foot quilt is used as a backdrop for the American Sampler show. It was made from 255 thirteen-inch squares by Alice Erickson. Following the convention, the quilt is donated to the Clown Hall of Fame where it is displayed.
The annual Red Nose Day occurs during the convention. On this day clown noses are sold to benefit charities. Three sizes are available: small ones to wear on your face, large ones to attach to the grill of your car, and giant ones to be mounted on the sides of buildings. Each year the design is different. This year’s nose has two little hands sticking out the side and a smiling face on the tip.
During the convention, clowns in full motley (make up and costume) attend a special church service at Arundel Cathedral. The officiating priest wears a red nose. Following the service, the clowns stroll in a torchlight parade through the town.
During aLondontour after the convention clowns visit Holy Trinity, theClownsChurch. A stained glass window at the back of the church depicts Joseph Grimaldi and scenes from his shows. The church is also home to the Clowns Gallery, a collection of clown memorabilia including the Clowns International Clown Egg Collection depicting the “slap” (make up) of some of the organization’s members.
Richard Snowberg is named WCA Clown Of The Year. The award is now co-sponsored by the Clown Hall Of Fame.
The December issue of Clowning Around commemorates Gene Lee’s 50th year as a clown.
Each month a member of the educational committee describes a skit in Clowning Around.
A series of Clowning Around covers beginning in January features photographs of WCA Past Presidents.
Rick De Lung begins his long running column on sleight of hand magic in the March issue of Clowning Around.
The WCA convention is held inLas Vegas,NV. Lee Mullally is installed as President. Bruce Johnson, Arlene Feen, and Janet Tucker are re-elected to their respective offices.
The convention opens with a demonstration show by instructors. Skits that have been described in Clowning Around are featured.
During the make up competition live one-on-one make up critiques are available as contestants leave the judging area.
Classes are held during the make up competition period as an alternative to those not interested in competition. Regional conventions begin copying this practice.
Balloon artists spend one evening co-operating on creating a Noah’s ark scene.
The WCA officially designates SIDS (The Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Alliance) as the WCA sponsored charity and Red Nose Day USA as the sponsored charity event.
Russian clown Andrei Soumiatin is the featured convention speaker.
Pat “Potsy” Frank is named WCA Clown Of The Year.
A new series of paintings by Bill Eubank are used on the cover of Clowning Around starting in Oct.
Bill “Billy Bumble” Eubank passes away on Jan. 13. The February issue of Clowning Around will be the last to feature a Eubank painting on the cover.
The convention is held inMerrilvill,IL.
Featured entertainment includes a youth circus, a medicine show, and performances bySweden’s Ruben Madsen andAmerica’s Jeff McMullen.
Mary Beth Martin is installed as President.
Bruce “Charlie” Johnson is named WCA Clown Of The Year.
The WCA convention is held inOrlando, FL. Convention participants parade downMain Streetin Disney World’sMagicKingdom.
Bill Lozon is installed as President.
Tere De Los is appointed Latin-American Director. Her column, in Spanish, begins appearing in the October issue of Clowning Around. In future issues it will be printed in both Spanish and English.
Lee Mullally is named WCA Clown Of The Year.
The Best of Clowning Around book is published.
The WCA Convention is held inSouthport,England. A majority of the participants come fromEurope.
Nola Rae (Australia) performs her solo mime-clown show, Elizabeth’s Last Stand, at the Southport Arts Center. Kenny Ahern (USA) and Anglica DeCastro (Brazil) each perform a 45-minute act another night at the Arts Center. Kenny’s act is portions of his Slippery Universe show. The two shows are not officially a part of the WCA convention, but they are scheduled at the same time as the general business meeting and make up competition. Many of the convention participants attend the shows, including the cast of the International Gala Show.
No skit competition is held this year.
An International Gala Show is performed at the Floral Hall. The acts are Kenny Ahern (USA), Bruce Johnson (USA), Anatoli Vekshin (Russia), Constantin Vassiliev (Russia), Arthur Pedlar (England), Nola Rae (Australia), Charlie Cairoli (England), Benny Schuman (Denmark), Ruben Madsen (Sweden), and Steve Rawlings (England). Arthur Pedlar performs as Vercoe, his auguste character.
The same acts with the exception of Nola Rae and Arthur Pedlar as Vercoe also appear at the Black Pool Tower Circus. At the Circus, Arthur Pedlar hosts the show as Arturo, his classic whiteface character.
A Chain Of Office, to be worn around the President’s neck at official WCA functions, is presented by the British Alley and the town ofSouthportto Bill Lozon. The chain has small brass plaques with the name of the WCA Past Presidents engraved on it as a perpetual trophy.
The Clown of the Year recipients have been nominated by the board in the past. In an attempt to get the general membership more involved a nominating form is printed in Clowning Around which allows members to apply for the honor.
Dorothy “Blabigail” Miller is named WCA Clown Of The Year without having applied for the honor. No one applied this year. She was nominated by board members.
Carole Jackson is installed as President.
Paula Biggio, Barry DeChant, and Janet Tucker are re-elected to their respective offices.
Bill Knowles becomes the new Clowning Around editor in May. He replaces Gene Lee who has been the editor since the beginning. The May issue is devoted to new clowns known as “First of Mays.”
Dr. Howard “Patty” Killough passes away on July 6. Killough was the WCA Chaplin from 1982-1990. He is the only Chaplain the organization has had.
Gene Lee resumes his duties as Clowning Around Editor with the Oct.-Nov. 95 issue which begins the 14th volume of the magazine.
The WCA convention is held inLaughlin,NV.
Jim Grogans is installed as President.
No Clown Of The Year award is presented this year. Members of the organization had applied for the award, some with limited clown experience. The committee couldn’t agree on any one person deserving it. Rather then lessen the honor, the committee votes to not award it.
The WCA Convention is held in Peoria, IL
Myron Jackson is installed as WCA President.
The WCA Convention is held in Lowell, MA
Chuck West is installed as WCA President.
The WCA Convention is held in Glasgow, Scot.
Arlene Feen is installed as WCA President.
Ruth Matteson starts the WCA Junior Joey program.
The WCA Convention is held in Toronto, Canada. There is no Junior Joey program at the convention this year.
Jim Roberts is installed as WCA President. He is the first person to serve more than one term in the office.
The WCA Convention is held in Orlando, FL
Julie Jahn is installed as WCA President.
Glenn “Frosty” Little is appointed as the WCA Ambassador to Clowns. He serves for only one year.
The WCA Convention is held in Mesa, AZ
Richard Snowberg is installed as WCA President making him the second person to serve two terms in the office.
Aurora Krause wins the first All Around Clown Award presented to the person with the highest combined scores from make up, skit, and paradability competitions at a single convention.
The WCA Convention is held in Jacksonville, FL
Arthur Pedlar is installed as WCA President. He is the first person from outside the United States to serve in the office.
The WCA Convention is held in Albuquerque, NM
Earl Temkin is installed as WCA President.
The WCA Convention is held in Peoria, IL
Mary Bennett is installed as WCA President. She is the third member of the Gainesville Sunshine Clown Alley to serve in this office.
The WCA Convention is held in Laughlin, NV
Phyllis Sheffield is installed as WCA President.
The WCA Convention is held in Fairbanks, AK. Kenny Ahern is the convention headliner. The convention is held at the same time as an international ice sculpture competition and Kenny is depicted in ice.
Ronald Cross is installed as the WCA President.
Jackie LeClaire is appointed as the WCA Ambassador to Clowns.
Luis Casiano wins the All Around Clown award.
The WCA Convention is held in Orlando, FL
Luis Casiano wins the All Around Clown award the second year in a row making him the first person to win the Master Clown Award. (The Master Clown Award is given to anyone who wins All Around Clown twice in a row.)
Rick Zaborac is installed as WCA President.
Jackie LeClaire is reappointed as the WCA Ambassador to Clowns.
The Caring Clown Director is created as an appointed position. Richard Snowberg is the first WCA Caring Clown Director.
The WCA Convention is held in Denver, CO. RONE and Gigi are the convention headliners. Richard Snowberg is installed as president, making him the only person to serve three terms in the office. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented and established at the 2009 convention. The first recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award were Carol and Myron Jackson.
Anita Thies is appointed as the WCA Caring Clown Director.
Lee Mullally is appointed Chair of the Publications Committee.
Jim and Lola Russell resign as editors of Clowning Around Magazine in October.
Andy and Jenifer Moler of CHD Management take over as Interim Clowning Around Editors, and Chelle of Rstevens Design is named Layout Artist. Since they have publication experience, but no clown experience, Lee Mullally, Publication Committee Chair, reviews each issue before it is sent to the printer to insure the content is accurate and appropriate.
The WCA Convention is held in Winnipeg, Canada. Avner “Avner the Eccentric” Eisenberg is the convention headliner. Aurora Kruase is installed as WCA President. Randy Christensen wins the All-Around Clown Award.
Ruth Matteson runs the Junior Joey program at the convention for a final time before retiring as Junior Joey Director. Elaine Vercellon takes over as the new Junior Joey Director.
Chelle of Rstevens Design is named the new Clowning Around Editor.
The WCA Convention is held in New York. Joyce Payne is installed as the first two-year WCA President. The Author’s Award is instituted with Lee Mullally winning first place, Bruce Johnson second, and Anita Thies third. Randy Christensen wins All-Around Clown for the second year in a row making him the second WCA Master Clown recipient. The Pleasure B clown troupe from Japan is the convention headliners. A devastating earthquake occurs in Japan the week prior to the convention. Convention participants donate money for the group to take back to Japan for disaster relief. Gene Lee receives the WCA Lifetime Achievement Award.
The WCA Convention is held in San Diego, CA. Ben Christensen wins the WCA All Around Clown award. Richard Snowberg receives the WCA Lifetime Achievement Award.
The WCA Convention is held in Kuching, Malaysia on the island of Borneo. There are 159 participants representing twelve nations.
RONE and Gigi are the convention headliners. Employees of the hotel are invited to bring their children to the performance by RONE and Gigi. Their show is followed by the 30th Anniversary WCA Party which our guests stay to participate in. The hotel provides a sheet cake for the celebration.
A SOC (Spouse of Clown/ Supporter of Clown) program is held during the convention. Special classes are scheduled for this group and sight seeing opportunities are presented to them.
One day of the convention is devoted to humanitarian projects. In the morning clowns visit four hospitals, followed by
visits to an orphanage, a dyslexia center, a care facility for handicapped adults, a care and treatment facility for the mentally handicapped, a children’s day care center, and two appearances at local shopping malls. Additionally attendees who did not wish to participate in a clown related event had an option to take part in the local Heart–‐to–‐Heart program for the care and rehabilitation of orangutans. The day concluded with a two-hour International Humanitarian Clown Show. Those who appear in the show are RONE and Gigi, Arthur Pedlar, Aurora Krause, Bruce Johnson, K (Kosuke Omune), Sam Tee, Bruce Johnson, Randy & Ben Christensen, Victor Low, and Toppo and GaKo.
The Paradability competition is held at a shopping mall. Those not competing do strolling entertainment throughout the five story building. The mall extensively promoted the appearance by the clowns and a huge audience turned out for the event.
Randy Christensen is named Clown of the Year.
Richard Snowberg is presented with the President’s Humanitarian Award.
Arthur Pedlar becomes the second person to be presented the WCA Legacy of Laughter Award.
Jim “Rusty” Gorgans is presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ben Christensen ties for All Around Clown. Since this is the second consecutive year he has won the title he is given the Master Clown Award, making him the third person in WCA history to win this title. His father, Randy, was the second person to win the title.
Deanna Hartmier is installed as the WCA President. Deanna is a Canadian citizen and the second WCA President from outside the United States.
The Borneo Tourism Bureau honors the WCA Convention as the best convention held in Borne during 2013.
The Convention is held in Chicago. The headliner is Barry “Grandma” Lubin.
The Circus Model Builders accept an invitation to exhibit at the convention. Bruce “Charlie” Johnson participates in the model display.
The convention and model display are both registered as official World Circus Day celebrations. Merilyn Barrett takes a photo of clowns from around the world who are participating in the convention. She submits it to the Federation Mondale du Cirque (International Circus Federation) World Circus Day photo contest. Her photo is one of twelve winners and is included in the 2016 Federation Mondale du Cirque Calendar.
Joyce Payne is named WCA Clown of the Year.
Lee Mullally receives the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Convention is held at the Spark’s Nugget Hotel in Reno, NV.
Bruce “Charlie” Johnson presents a 25th Anniversary performance of his Tramp Tradition Show. During the performance he recreates some routines that were performed by Emmett Kelly and Red Skelton on the same stage they had appeared on during the last years of Emmett’s life.
Gina “Gigi” Allison and Chris “Bucky” Allison are the convention headliners.
Bruce “Charlie” Johnson receives the WCA Lifetime Achievement Award.
Deanna Harmier is named the WCA Clown of the Year.
Randy Christensen is installed as the new WCA President.
After many years, Lee Mullally resigns as the Publications Committee Chair in December.