Clowns - June 5, 2014

Visitors to the American Treasure Tour can take many things home with them - except, of course, any of the pieces on display.  There are plenty of ways people can reconnect with childhood memories, learn about history and technology, or develop a strong appreciation for quality antiques and quirky oddities.  Anyone with a love - or fear - of clowns will certainly be impacted by the impressive collection on hand as well. In fact, there are clowns all over the Toy Box - and not just the guides!

Everyone loves to laugh, and who better to inspire laughter than the clown.  They have been around for centuries, but clowns as we know them today tend to be traced to the turn of the 19th century with the English performer Joseph Grimaldi.  His "Joey the Clown" became the inspiration for countless imitators.  He was the first to use the heavy make-up and he developed the pantomime so many clowns have brought into the modern era.  Few Americans are familiar with Joey today, but his legacy can be seen everywhere.

QUESTION:  There are two quintessential clown cars in the American Treasure Tour.  (Grimaldi never would have used these, though.  He died long before automobiles were ever produced in France.)  What type cars are they?

a)  Stanley Steamers

b)  Dodge 440

c)  Vespa 400

d)  Mini-Cooper

Answer Below

HISTORY TODAY:

Very few books ever published have had as great an impact upon publication as Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin.  Prior to its release in book form, it appeared in the abolitionist newspaper National Era in installments spanning ten months.  Today, in 1851, the first installment ran.  It created a sensation that, according to some historians, directly led to the start of the Civil War.  The depiction of the hard lives Southern slaves suffered in the novel inspired great controversy, and proof that the written word could change the world.

Another culture-changing event happened on this day in 1956, when a young musician named Elvis Presley appeared on The Milton Berle Show to introduce his new single.  As he sang "Hound Dog," he scandalized viewers with his dance.  The gyrating movements he made inspired both the approval of his young fans and the condemnation of his older critics.  The era of rock 'n roll was in full swing.

BIRTHDAYS:

We celebrate two actors today.  First is Ron Livingston.  Born in 1967, Ron has been a familiar face in television and film since the 1990's, but is most fondly remembered by fans for his unforgettable role in the 1999 Mike Judge film Office Space, in which he plays the character Peter Gibbons, a mid-level drone who rebels against the dynamics of office politics.

Turning 42 today, Mark Wahlberg is a well-established entertainer.  The youngest of nine brothers and sisters, he took advantage of the fame of older brother Donnie when he was a member of the boy band New Kids on the Block to start his own musical career as Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.  From there, a successful film career followed and he has been busy ever since, most recently starring in Lone Survivor and the upcoming sequel to the Transformers franchise.  

QUOTE:  I never lie.  I believe everything I say, so it's not a lie. - Mark Wahlberg

Answer:  c)  Vespa 400