Felix Adler was a clown with the Ringling Show for fifty years.  He used a pig most of the time in his act and was well known for his gigantic rear end.  At the age of twelve, he ran away to join the circus, but his father brought him back and made him finish school.  After doing this, he wrote to Charles Ringling asking for a job.  He was hired around 1910 and became one of Ringling’s greatest clowns. 



Tom Belling invented a new clown character in the 1860’s and he wasn’t even a clown when he did it.  Tom was a horseback rider with the RENZ CIRCUS in Germany.  One day he slipped while doing an easy trick.  Mr. Renz, his boss took him out of the show for a month.  Stuck in the dressing room, Tom began to clown around.  He put on a stable boy’s clothes backwards.  Someone slapped a wig on his face and tied its long curls behind his head.  Another performer dared him to go out side.  Tom sneaked out.  He looked as though he was coming and going at the same time.  Suddenly he bumped into his boss.  Tom took off.  His boss chased him right into the show tent.  Tom tripped and tumbled out into the ring.  The audience roared, thinking it was part of the show. Auguste,  Auguste! (FOOL) they shouted as Tom stumbled around the ring. Finally, he made it outside.  The boss was waiting, and laughing.  He made Tom a clown in the very next show.  Tom Belling became the first Auguste, the clown invented by mistake.

He and his wife Amelia, were the first American husband and wife clown team. Felix was also the first clown ever to be seen on television, way back when it first appeared.


He also had  the honor of performing for three United States Presidents; Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.  He was called the “White House Clown.”    He died in 1960.