Ripon Wisconsin

Clown Hall Of Fame, Baraboo

The Clown Hall of Fame is moving from Milwaukee, WI to Baraboo, WI and hopes to open on April 1st, 2010. The new headquarters of the International organization will be on Fourth Street across from the Sauk County Courthouse.

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The International Clown Hall of Fame (ICHOF), is dedicated to the preservation and advancement of clown art and achievement. Represented by professional and amateur clown associations, it pays tribute to outstanding clown performers, operates a living museum of clowning with resident clown performers, conducts special events and maintains a national archive of clown artifacts and history.

The ICHOF was founded in Delavan, Wisconsin, the birthplace of the Barnum and Bailey Circus, in 1987. The induction process was developed in 1988, following the affiliation of four major clown organizations with the museum. The affiliated clown organizations were given the role of selecting the first nominees. Balloting by the members of the ICHOF resulted in the election of Red Skelton, Lou Jacobs, Emmett Kelly, Mark Anthony, Felix Adler, and Otto Griebling. The first inductees were enshrined April 23, 1989.

Since then, 61 additional clowns have been inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame. In addition to living and historical American clowns, the ensemble has included clowns from Europe, South America and Africa. In addition to induction, the ICHOF annually bestows a "Lifetime of Laughter Achievement Award." This award has gone to Willard Scott, who at one time played both Ronald McDonald and Bozo on TV before becoming known as The Today Show weather man, Max Patkin - the "Clown Prince of Baseball", Ben Barkin of the Great Circus Parade and Meadowlark Lemon - the "Clown Prince of Basketball."

In 2004, ABC News Columnist Buck Wolf settled a long-running clown controversy by inducting Pinto Colvig as the original Bozo. A series of investigative pieces he wrote proved that show business promoter Larry Harmon had a pattern of taking credit for inventing TV's most famous clown.