All I can say is what Al Jolson said many years ago . . . "You ain't
seen nothin' yet!"
Great read! Very interesting personal interest story! Thanks!!
I've clowned with Tim in a long past life when we were young and relatively
carefree. I laughed a lot at his antics and learned a lot from him about making
others laugh. I've followed his exploits these many years.: the back and
forth to Thailand, his times on the road with various circuses, his family life,
his recent hiatus in the Washington, DC area and now, finally, back home. It is amazing to me that he has always seen his ups and down as just another
part of his life, not imbuing it with a tragic air but, rather something to
share with as many others as he could and in such a way as to put a smile on
their faces. My prayers - and I am not a Mormon or a particularly
religious man for that matter - are that Tim and his family continue to grow
together, he continues to grow and shine in his faith and that he continues to
make the word laugh in his own unique way.
Being intimately familiar with the LDS Church in Thailand and the history of
missionary work there, I am familiar with the clown act that was used during
intermissions of the Latter-day Saint Singers that toured the country and even
performed for the King of Thailand (I think). These missionary singers became
well-known throughout the country and even released some cassette tapes. At the
time, a foreigner speaking their language, and speaking it well was rare.
Foreigners singing their folk songs in front of hundreds and thousands of people
was even more rare. It was a outstanding public relations effort.
One Sunday morning in April 1975, I met a large group of new missionaries who
had just arrived in Thailand. I asked the group - "Anyone want to go out to
a street meeting with me?" They all looked to be in culture shock - which
was normal for newly arrived missionaries. Tim was the only one who volunteered,
so off we went. I soon learned he was a professional clown, so his experiences
with people made it possible for him to ignore the culture shock and go meet
people on the street. We had a fine morning meeting Thai people at
Bangkok's large park known as Sanam Luang. Tim is an awesome writer and
has many experiences to share.
I always enjoy hearing stories about Thailand, and your crazy childhood antics
That was a good strategy, to have your disruptive student do a report on Clown
College. Sadly, the Ringling Clown College is no more. They shut it down about
fifteen years ago, because it was not generating as much publicity as it used
to. The circus is all about publicity! I have to say that I didn't learn
very much at Clown College itself; rather, once I got accepted into clown alley
I chose certain veteran clowns as role models and learned directly from them
todo things like play the musical saw and develop my pantomime skills. One of my
most cherished teachers was Otto Greibling, who taught me the importance of
developing a simple yet memorable clown character. He could make the audience
laugh and cry at the same time.
This article interests me in a couple of ways. First, the unique cultures where
I served my mission required an unusual assignment that took me out of the
direct proselyting experience for about half the time. So I appreciate
Tim's time spent building the Church's reputation in Thailand. We are
cautioned about light mindedness, but never required to totally remove humor, or
any other good thing, from our lives. (Think 13th Article of Faith.) In fact, we
seek after them.The article also reminds me of a similar experience to
Tim's school days from the opposite point of view. I once had a student of
the class-clown frame of mind pulling some of the things Tim said he did in
school. So I assigned him to look up material on "Clown College" and
write a report. Students in the class didn't believe there was such a
college at first, but we all learned in the end that even a career in clowning
requires professionalism--plus a lot of work learning what makes a good one.
Even comedy has its learning curve!
My mission presidents were Pres Morris and Pres Harvey Brown; I was there 1974
This article is a comfort and inspiration to all of us who have struggles and
I think my dad was his mission president - when did her serve in Thailand?