The Archive

Photo of Melani Carty by Elizabeth Dodd for The Orange County Register. The projected image of Joanne Perez at age 21 in 1929 is from Pepito & Joanne’s home movie collection.

Orange County Register: Pepito, Joanne and Nancy Drew (2010)

Monday, October 18, 2010 My Pepito & Joanne project got some publicity!  These articles and slideshows appeared in the Tuesday, October 19, 2010 edition of The Orange County Register, and are also available online.   I want to profusely thank staff writer Theresa Walker, her team leader Andre Mouchard, her deputy editor Rebecca Allen, photo editorContinue reading “Orange County Register: Pepito, Joanne and Nancy Drew (2010)”

VIDEO: Lucille Ball Biographer Kathleen Brady Explains Pepito’s Involvement In How “I Love Lucy” Came to Be (2019)

From the “Great Lives” lecture series at Mary Washington University, watch author Kathleen Brady recount the life and career of Lucille Ball, and how the television series “I Love Lucy” was created in 1951. For details on about Pepito’s involvement in the production of the audition (pilot) episode, scroll the video to minute 35:00. TheContinue reading “VIDEO: Lucille Ball Biographer Kathleen Brady Explains Pepito’s Involvement In How “I Love Lucy” Came to Be (2019)”

Pepito & Joanne Story Treatment Registration With the Writers Guild of America (2014)

Excited to say that I have registered my Pepito & Joanne story treatment with the Writer’s Guild.  It feels good to have finally reached that milestone after researching since 2003.  But of course I will rewrite and revise, so I am still seeking more info about the lives of these amazing vaudevillians.  Every little detailContinue reading “Pepito & Joanne Story Treatment Registration With the Writers Guild of America (2014)”

Escobar Cousins Reunion (2013)

by Marivi Escobar Santo Tomas, Grand-niece of Pepito, the Spanish Clown (Jose Escobar Perez) What a pity Pepito and Joanne aren’t here anymore.  So long I have talked to Joanne for years and never could I comment anything of all this appearing in the newspapers. I had only her narratives from the past.  She wasContinue reading “Escobar Cousins Reunion (2013)”

Pepito the Spanish Clown, posing with a Charlie Chaplin impersonator behind Pepito’s miniature Packard, for the premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s 1928 motion picture “The Circus.” The courtyard and front entrance of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood was decorated with a circus theme.

Pocharte: Pepito the Clown & Joanne the Dancer (2012)

August 19, 2012 Sandra “Pocha” Pena blogged on her “Pocharte” WordPress blog about her 2004 personal interviews with Joanne Perez. “Joanne was a dancer who fell in love with a Spanish clown her mother was dating.  This was way back in the 1920’s so the clown, Pepito, called upon his pal Charlie Chaplin to haveContinue reading “Pocharte: Pepito the Clown & Joanne the Dancer (2012)”

Pepito, Joanne, and Daniger’s Tea Room at the Santora Building in Santa Ana, California (2012)

July 7, 2012 On Saturday, July 7th, the Santora Arts Building celebrated 84 years with a 1920’s-inspired themed celebration which kicked off a month-long celebration highlighting the history of the building from 1928 to the present.  Showcased was a dazzling array of fine art, music, cars, film, and fashions of a bygone era, as well as a tour ofContinue reading “Pepito, Joanne, and Daniger’s Tea Room at the Santora Building in Santa Ana, California (2012)”

Clifford Combes, Muriel Combes, and Pepito the Spanish Clown (2011)

January 1, 2011 To write the biography of Pepito and Joanne, I have organized their personal archive of photos and newspaper clippings; and researched all the available historical newspaper databases on the internet.   One of the missing pieces is Pepito’s scrapbook of his entire vaudeville career, which sat in Pepito & Joanne’s Santa Ana parlorContinue reading “Clifford Combes, Muriel Combes, and Pepito the Spanish Clown (2011)”

Chaplin Film Clip Sparks Time Travel Controversy (2010)

Thursday, October 28, 2010 Pepito met Joanne in 1928 when they both were hired separately to perform in the live pre-show “Ballyhoo” before each showing of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Circus” at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.  Pepito Meets Joanne:  Their Matchmaker Was Charlie Chaplin (1928) VIDEO: “The Ballyhoo” of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Circus” (1928) Pepito the Spanish ClownContinue reading “Chaplin Film Clip Sparks Time Travel Controversy (2010)”

Orange County Register: Were You A Dance Student of Joanne Perez? (2010)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 Were you a dance student of Joanne Perez?     OCRegister.com Joanne and Pepito Perez ran a dance studio in Orange County that they opened in 1941 when their days on the road as performers ended. Memorabilia collector Melani Carty attended the dance school in the 1970s (when she was Melani Motzkus.) CartyContinue reading “Orange County Register: Were You A Dance Student of Joanne Perez? (2010)”

Orange County Register: Can You Solve These 5 Mysteries About Pepito and Joanne Perez (2010)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 Melani Carty is looking for the answer to these Nancy Drew-inspired research questions about Pepito and Joanne Perez, former vaudevillians who ran a dance studio … 1.  The Secret of the Missing Clown Car In 1927, Pepito purchased a one-of-a-kind 1925 Monroe Pezel roadster.  The Monroe Body Works in Michigan was the originalContinue reading “Orange County Register: Can You Solve These 5 Mysteries About Pepito and Joanne Perez (2010)”

The cover of the first draft of Joanne Perez’s copy of Van Zandt and Milman’s script for “I Love Lucy: The Very First Show,” which was 1990’s top rated television special.

Huffington Post: Pepito the Clown Mentioned in Article About Van Zandt & Milman’s script for “I Love Lucy, The Very First Show”

Thursday, September 23, 2010 They’ll Take Manhattan: Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore’s cyber-comedy “You’ve Got Hate Mail” opens lengthy run at NYC’s Triad Theatre (Scroll down to the pertinent paragraph in red). Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the 1979 movie, was ground breaking for many reasons. It was, for instance, the first movie createdContinue reading “Huffington Post: Pepito the Clown Mentioned in Article About Van Zandt & Milman’s script for “I Love Lucy, The Very First Show””

VIDEO: Pepito and Joanne Portrayed on Living History Tour at Santa Ana’s Fairhaven Cemetery (2010)

Saturday, October 23, 2010 The annual guided historical tour of Fairhaven Memorial Park and Santa Ana Cemetery features costumed actors portraying historic figures who share stories from Orange County, California’s past.  This unique “living history tour” is the recipient of a prestigious California State Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation, and is a joint presentation ofContinue reading “VIDEO: Pepito and Joanne Portrayed on Living History Tour at Santa Ana’s Fairhaven Cemetery (2010)”

Thanking the People Behind the Scenes at PepitoAndJoanne.com (2009)

Saturday, December 19, 2009 The end of the year is time for reflection.  PepitoAndJoanne.com is now 15 months old.  Looking back, I have many new friends, and many people to thank, for providing me with the all the stories, anecdotes and clues that are coming together to form the timeline of  Pepito & Joanne’s fascinatingContinue reading “Thanking the People Behind the Scenes at PepitoAndJoanne.com (2009)”

Michael Brannan’s SmugMug Site About Pepito The Spanish Clown (2009)

Saturday, December 12, 2009 A wonderful photo website about Pepito the Spanish Clown (Pepito Perez, or Jose Escobar Perez), has been created by my online friend Michael Brannan.  Michael was one of the people fortunate to purchase Perez estate items on Ebay in 2008.  Michael is dedicated to preserving the history of early show business,Continue reading “Michael Brannan’s SmugMug Site About Pepito The Spanish Clown (2009)”

The Mystery of Pepito’s Missing Scrapbook (2009)

Thursday, May 28, 2009 After the death of Joanne Perez, her entire estate was liquidated, and the proceeds benefitted Biola University in Southern California.  One of the items that was sold was Pepito’s scrapbook.  The current whereabouts of this fabulous scrapbook are unknown.  It is my hope that the current owner will contact me, and considerContinue reading “The Mystery of Pepito’s Missing Scrapbook (2009)”

Helena Escobar, Pepito’s Great-Grand-Niece, Is An Award-Winning Spanish Clown Named “La Bleda” (2009)

Monday, May 25, 2009 In honor of the Escobar families in Spain and France, this text is presented first in Spanish, then French, with the English translation below. En honor de la familia Escobar en España y Francia, este texto se presenta primero en español y, a continuación, Francés, Inglés con la traducción a continuación.Continue reading “Helena Escobar, Pepito’s Great-Grand-Niece, Is An Award-Winning Spanish Clown Named “La Bleda” (2009)”

Raymond Escobar, Pepito’s Great-Nephew (2008)

Saturday, December 20, 2008 by Melani Carty Thanks to the wonders of the internet, Pepito’s great-nephew, Raymond Escobar, has found this website and become a good penpal.   Raymond Escobar is the son of Ramon Escobar and the grandson of Rafael Escobar Perez (Pepito’s brother!) Raymond emailed me the most wonderful treasure:  the earliest known photoContinue reading “Raymond Escobar, Pepito’s Great-Nephew (2008)”

Television Obscurities Website: “I Love Lucy” Unaired Pilot Episode (2008)

Saturday, December 20, 2008 In March of 1951, a 34-minute pilot episode for a proposed I Love Lucy series was filmed in an attempt to sell the series to CBS and potential sponsors. It worked, but the pilot itself was never broadcast. Instead, its storyline was worked into an episode that was shown on November 19th, 1951Continue reading “Television Obscurities Website: “I Love Lucy” Unaired Pilot Episode (2008)”

Donat Butowick and Ella Butowick, the vaudeville act billed as “Samaroff and Sonia.”

VIDEO: Samaroff & Sonia, Pepito the Spanish Clown & Ron Pesch (2008)

Friday, December 5, 2008 by Melani Carty This was a first for me:  the first time my blog has been blogged upon by another blogger!  “An e-mail arrived the other day from Melani Carty with a subject line that immediately caught my attention. It said, “Samaroff and Sonia & Pepito the Clown.”  I knew instantlyContinue reading “VIDEO: Samaroff & Sonia, Pepito the Spanish Clown & Ron Pesch (2008)”

New Cutting Edge Media Production Center Puts Biola on the Top (2008)

Thursday, November 13, 2008 After more than $2.2 million worth of renovation, Biola’s ambitious Media Production Center is ready for lights, cameras and plenty of action. The center — a state-of-the-art home away from home for students in the University’s film and journalism programs — is currently in the process of being outfitted with cutting-edgeContinue reading “New Cutting Edge Media Production Center Puts Biola on the Top (2008)”

Biola University, Studio B: Where the Perez Estate Money Was Spent (2008)

Monday, June 23, 2008 Full scale construction is underway on Biola University, Studio B, Cinema & Media Arts and Journalism, and will be complete for Fall ’08 classes. The rough shape of the exterior is clearly visible now, and drywall has been installed in the interior. The new Equipment Checkout Room will be ready forContinue reading “Biola University, Studio B: Where the Perez Estate Money Was Spent (2008)”

Pepito’s World’s Smallest Bicycle in Lucy-Desi Museum (2007)

Saturday, June 23, 2007 Pepito’s World’s Smallest Bicycle, six inches wide by ten inches high, manufactured by Anderson, Melbourne, Australia, 1928, was at one time entered into “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.”  Pepito and Joanne were in Australia in 1928 for an extended vaudeville tour, and he must have ordered this bicycle at that time. Continue reading “Pepito’s World’s Smallest Bicycle in Lucy-Desi Museum (2007)”

The Pepito & Joanne House in Santa Ana, California, was home to the Pepito & Joanne Academy of Dance since 1950. Pepito and Joanne lived in the home in the front, and Joanne taught classes in the beautiful dance studio in the rear.

Restored Pepito & Joanne House Wins Preservation Award (2007)

Monday, January 1, 2007 Historic Preservation Award Winners Congratulations to the 2007 Outstanding Historic Preservation Award Winners!  The first winner is Fermin Valencia for Restoration of the Pepito and Joanne’s Dance Studio. Pepito and Joanne were long-time friends of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and were in fact “co-conspirators” in getting the first episode ofContinue reading “Restored Pepito & Joanne House Wins Preservation Award (2007)”

The Hippity Hoppity Frog Costume Display Case at the Lucy-Desi Museum in Jamestown, New York, Lucille Ball’s hometown. The costume was worn by Fred Mertz, actor William Frawley, in “I Love Lucy” episode 163, “Little Rickys School Pageant.” Photographed in 2006 by Mary Rapaport.

“I Love Lucy” Frog Costume Donated to The Lucy-Desi Center (2006)

Friday, December 15, 2006 As reported by the Lucille Ball – Desi Arnaz Center in Jamestown, NY, the frog costume worn by William Frawley in the I Love Lucy episode,”Little Ricky’s School Pageant” has been donated to the center by Bill and Mary Rapaport of East Amherst, New York. Fifty years ago this Sunday, on December 17,Continue reading ““I Love Lucy” Frog Costume Donated to The Lucy-Desi Center (2006)”

Display case at the Lucy-Desi Museum in Jamestown, New York, containing two iconic costumes worn by Pepito, the Spanish Clown, in episode 52 of the I Love Lucy television program. The 13-piece clown outfit includes Pepito’s iconic giant pocket watch, which dates back to the 1910s. The lion tamer ensemble includes with safari hat, bullwhip, and leggings with yarn “leg hair.” Photo courtesy of Mary Rapaport.

Pepito’s “I Love Lucy” Costumes Donated to Lucy-Desi Center (2006)

Monday, March 13, 2006 Two costumes worn in the classic I Love Lucy television series have been donated to the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Lucille Ball’s hometown, Jamestown, New York. Two costumes worn in the classic I Love Lucy television series have been donated to the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Lucille Ball’s hometown,Continue reading “Pepito’s “I Love Lucy” Costumes Donated to Lucy-Desi Center (2006)”

For Joanne and Pepito, Our Love and Gratitude Always, Lucy and Desi (1945)

Monday, January 1, 1945 For those of us who were dance students at the Pepito And Joanne Academy of Dance in Santa Ana, California, this framed and signed photo was a familiar sight in a place of honor in Joanne’s dark-paneled studio.  Inscribed by Lucille Ball, “For Joanne and Pepito, Our Love and Gratitude Always,Continue reading “For Joanne and Pepito, Our Love and Gratitude Always, Lucy and Desi (1945)”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pepito the Famed Clown a Very Happy Guy Again (1943)

Tuesday, March 23, 1943 HOLLYWOOD, March 22, 1943 (U.P.) — You’ve probably never stopped to think about clowns — and their troubles.  They’ve got ‘em, and the more famous the clown, the worse his woe.   Take Pepito, who is the greatest clown of them all.  For years he traveled the world with the 14-inch cigarContinue reading “Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pepito the Famed Clown a Very Happy Guy Again (1943)”

Ogden Standard Examiner: Graceful Juanita, One of the Dancers With International Scandals (1940)

Sunday, December 8, 1940 GRACEFUL Juanita, one of the dancers with ‘International Scandals,’ coming to the Egyptian for two days only.”  This was Joanne Perez’s final publicity photo pose. She began her career in vaudeville in 1926 as an acrobatic dancer and pianist, joined up with Pepito at age 20 as his female foil andContinue reading “Ogden Standard Examiner: Graceful Juanita, One of the Dancers With International Scandals (1940)”

Rare photograph of Joanne and Pepito onstage together in the late 1930s, probably a nightclub. Note that Joanne is holding Pepito’s giant pocket watch, a part of his costume since the early 1920s. Pepito is holding his “Señor Wences”-style talking dummy, which involved using his fist and thumb to imitate a small face. Puzzlingly, Pepito appears to have Disney characters painted on his pant legs, but there is no record of him having been in any performance for the Disney company. Joanne would perform a tasteful contortionistic dance on top of the piano.

Oakland Tribune: The Playwrights’ Company Downtown Show Winds Up Today (1939)

THE PLAYWRIGHTS’ COMPANY     Downtown Show Winds Up Today  Sunday, December 17, 1939 East Bay theatergoers will have their last opportunity today to see the combination stage and screen show now showing at the Downtown Theater. Stage and radio stars combine in a vaudeville program on the Downtown stage, including “Pepito the Clown with Juanita,” Gray and Kathleen,Continue reading “Oakland Tribune: The Playwrights’ Company Downtown Show Winds Up Today (1939)”

Spokane Daily Chronicle: Veteran Funster Pepito Tops Post Bill (1939)

Headlining the current Post Street vaudeville which runs through Sunday, is Pepito, famous Spanish clown who was brought to this country by the old Radio-Keith circuit. This veteran funster, who recently was seen running around in the motion picture “Annabelle Takes a Tour” with Lucille Ball and Jack Oakie, made yesterday’s initial audience howl withContinue reading “Spokane Daily Chronicle: Veteran Funster Pepito Tops Post Bill (1939)”

Los Angeles Times: Pepito Mentioned In “Odd and Interesting” Gossip Column (1936)

Sunday, December 20, 1936 “Odd and Interesting” Column by Read Kendall Preston Foster is sponsoring a film career for Pepito, internationally known clown from Barcelona, Spain.  He predicts that with the right material, Pepito would become an outstanding comedian on the screen.” Source: Los Angeles Times, December 20, 1936, Page C2 More on Preston Foster:Continue reading “Los Angeles Times: Pepito Mentioned In “Odd and Interesting” Gossip Column (1936)”

Reno Evening Gazette: Reno’s New Sensation, Pepito With Juanita (1936)

Thursday, April 9, 1936 RENO’S NEW SENSATION! PEPITO With Juanita Marion Daniels Mahon & Rucker Betty Gordon Peggy Strickland THE COUNTRY CLUBRENO’S ACE OF CLUBS Photographic print of “PEPITO” The Famous Spanish Clown, as seen on Ebay in January, 2008.  The photograph is inscribed (in Spanish) “To mis buenos amigos y notables artistas de baileContinue reading “Reno Evening Gazette: Reno’s New Sensation, Pepito With Juanita (1936)”

VIDEO: Sally Rand’s Fan Dance at the Chicago World’s Fair (1934)

June 1, 1934 Sally Rand’s Fan Dance at the Italian Village, Chicago World’s Fair, 1934.  Sally Rand was infamous for performing a “nude” fan dance outdoors at the Fair. According to Joanne, Sally wasn’t completely nude; rather she was wearing a very sheer leotard, which helped her to get around the laws against public nudityContinue reading “VIDEO: Sally Rand’s Fan Dance at the Chicago World’s Fair (1934)”

San Pedro News Pilot: Pepito the Famous Spanish Clown & His Musical Revue of 1933

October 28, 1933 Glorious Stage and Screen Attractions! On The Stage, Pepito, the Famous Spanish Clown and His Musical Revue of 1933. 15 Sensational Entertainers. Stage Riot of the Season … Direct From the New York Roxy to You. In addition to the screen feature and short subjects there is to be a stage attractionContinue reading “San Pedro News Pilot: Pepito the Famous Spanish Clown & His Musical Revue of 1933”

Yachting Magazine: Pepito the Spanish Clown Advertisement For Matthews Boats and Sterling Petrel Engines (1931)

Thursday, October 1, 1931 Pepito the celebrated Spanish clown, is the owner of a Matthews cruiser equipped with a Sterling Petrel 180-200 H.P. engine.  Many members of the profession are yachtsmen. The ownership of a motor boat, allows relaxation, enjoyment and health…crowning ultimates of good living.  Check the sizes of engines used in stock cruisers. Continue reading “Yachting Magazine: Pepito the Spanish Clown Advertisement For Matthews Boats and Sterling Petrel Engines (1931)”

Pacific Motor Boat Magazine: Famous Clown Pepito Takes to Motor Boating In Matthews 38 Sport Cruiser (1931)

Pepito, celebrated Spanish clown who is familiar to patrons of R.K.O. theaters throughout the United States, recently purchased a 38-foot Matthews single cabin sport cruiser of the type shown on this page. Pepito, also illustrated herewith in the wheelhouse of his new boat, will bring his new ship to Los Angeles, its home port, whenContinue reading “Pacific Motor Boat Magazine: Famous Clown Pepito Takes to Motor Boating In Matthews 38 Sport Cruiser (1931)”

Toledo News-Bee: Old Funny-Face Pepito Is Handsome Young Man Who Played Opposite Garbo (1931)

Monday, May 11, 1931 He is a clown, but he never worked under a circus tent. (See footnote 1).  He speaks his English with a pronounced accent, but he is an American citizen. (2) His features are as handsome as those of any reigning screen favorite, but he greets his public behind a grotesque maskContinue reading “Toledo News-Bee: Old Funny-Face Pepito Is Handsome Young Man Who Played Opposite Garbo (1931)”

Rochester Democrat Chronicle: Pepito Admits His First Choice Is Angling for Sea’s Game Fish (1931)

Monday, April 20, 1931 Pepito has a good act which should prove a treat to all the youngsters in town, abounding in all the young nonsense which one has to learn to laugh at when one is 6, if one laughs at all.  His costumes are, as always, striking.  His impersonation of the famous pianist with which he concludesContinue reading “Rochester Democrat Chronicle: Pepito Admits His First Choice Is Angling for Sea’s Game Fish (1931)”

Syracuse Herald: Juanita Falcy’s Dilemma, Concert Pianist or Acrobatic Dancer? (1931)

When one is so gifted that one can choose between a career as a concert pianist and that of a specialty acrobatic dancer, then one is gifted indeed.  That’s the dilemma Juanita*, blonde partner of Pepito, Keith’s clown, found herself in during the early days of her career. Juanita, whose full name off stage isContinue reading “Syracuse Herald: Juanita Falcy’s Dilemma, Concert Pianist or Acrobatic Dancer? (1931)”

Pepito and Juanita at RKO Proctor Theater, Schenectady, NY (1931)

Thursday, March 26, 1931 On the stage, the buoyant humor of Pepito, the Spanish clown, is the outstanding feature of a better than average vaudeville program.  Pepito has many tricks in his bag and all are novel, from his method of ventriloquism to his imitation of a hungry infant and his thoroughly delightful travesty ofContinue reading “Pepito and Juanita at RKO Proctor Theater, Schenectady, NY (1931)”

Brooklyn Daily Star: Pepito the Spanish Clown On Vaudeville Bill At RKO Flushing Theater (1931)

Saturday, February 21, 1931 Pepito, the famous Spanish clown will contribute his share in making the bill entertaining.  Pepito can do anything in mimicry and pantomime, from crowing like a rooster to imitating a baby crying when its milk bottle is taken away.  Strange as it seem, one of the greatest clowns in the showContinue reading “Brooklyn Daily Star: Pepito the Spanish Clown On Vaudeville Bill At RKO Flushing Theater (1931)”

Wisconsin State Journal: A Short Talk With Pepito Uncovers a Lively Life (1931)

Spanish Clown, Appearing At Orpheum, Was Once Court Jester to King of Spain; Owns and Trains Lions For Motion Picture Work January 16, 1931 Backstage in a vaudeville house is always an interesting place to be while the acts are on.  Stage managers and assistants wander about in smocks; time and cue sheets are posted on a bulletinContinue reading “Wisconsin State Journal: A Short Talk With Pepito Uncovers a Lively Life (1931)”

Variety Review: Pepito (and Joanne) at The Palace in Times Square, New York (1930)

Wednesday, July 2, 1930 VARIETY, July 2, 1930, page 54 PALACE (Straight Vaudeville) A very good vaude bill on paper and on the stage was badly slowed up, if not hurt, twice Saturday by useless and unrequired encores.  The first happened in Pepito’s turn, No. 2, and the next in Gus Edwards’ revised act, opening after intermission.  At leastContinue reading “Variety Review: Pepito (and Joanne) at The Palace in Times Square, New York (1930)”

Calgary Daily Herald: Pepito the Spanish Clown and Juanita the Versatile (1930)

Pepito the Spanish Clown is featured on the same programme.  His clowning includes imitations of birds and animals and a bit of cycling on a miniature wheel.  He is assisted by Juanita, called Juanita the Versatile.  [That would be Joanne].  She plays several instruments, dances and is a contortionist.  Pepito was first clown of theContinue reading “Calgary Daily Herald: Pepito the Spanish Clown and Juanita the Versatile (1930)”

Schenectady Gazette: Dance Flash Act and Pepito On Second RKO Bill At Proctor’s (1929)

Thursday, September 12, 1929 The second RKO bill, presented at Proctor’s yesterday, is up to the standard set at the opening of the week, and line up to the HKO promise of bigger and better vaudeville. “Flashlights,” a dance flash act that is quite out of the ordinary, is the headliner of the bill.  TwoContinue reading “Schenectady Gazette: Dance Flash Act and Pepito On Second RKO Bill At Proctor’s (1929)”

Syracuse Journal: Rose’s Midgets & Pepito Please Kids at Keith’s Theater (1929)

Thursday, June 27, 1929 By Helen S. Brown, Syracuse Journal By all means take the kids to Keith’s before the week is over.  The bill is made for them, and they’ll adore it.  First come Ike Rose’s midgets—a troupe of talented little mites from the four corners of the earth.  Among the most notable ofContinue reading “Syracuse Journal: Rose’s Midgets & Pepito Please Kids at Keith’s Theater (1929)”

Los Angeles Daily News: Pretty Dancer to Wed Clown (1928)

Monday, June 25, 1928 It’s No Joke.  Pepito, famous clown, proposed to Joan Falcy (above), beautiful dancer, and she accepted.  The couple, now appearing at Fox theater here, will be married at sea and will tour world on honeymoon.  (Los Angeles Daily News photo). Keywords: Pepito the Spanish Clown Pepito the Clown Jose Escobar PerezContinue reading “Los Angeles Daily News: Pretty Dancer to Wed Clown (1928)”

Pepito’s Filmography: Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928)

It is unknown whether Pepito Perez was in the cast, or whether it was the crew, of this Lon Chaney picture at MGM, but in a 1931 interview, Pepito mentioned having been involved with the film.  Click here to see the clips and info at Turner Classic Movies.

Los Angeles Times: Looks to Be Difficult Feat (1928)

Sunday, March 25, 1928 Try this on your bumper” dares Miss Joan Falcy, contortionist at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, as she demonstrates her talents on the bumper of a smart Oakland six sports roadster from Reeve Gartzman, Inc., Oakland-Pontiac distributors here. Looks to be Difficult Feat, Los Angeles Times – ProQuest Archiver – Mar 25, 1928Continue reading “Los Angeles Times: Looks to Be Difficult Feat (1928)”

Pepito, the Spanish Clown, performing in the Ballyhoo pre-show for Charlie Chaplin’s new film “The Circus” at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, 1928.

“The Ballyhoo,” Sid Grauman’s Prologue to Charlie Chaplin’s Motion Picture “The Circus” (1928)

January 31, 1928 Rare footage and screen captures of the Hollywood premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Circus” are collected here from multiple sources.  Each showing of the motion picture was accompanied by a live pre-show, called a “prologue”  in the parlance of the day when vaudeville commonly shared the same stage with films.  This liveContinue reading ““The Ballyhoo,” Sid Grauman’s Prologue to Charlie Chaplin’s Motion Picture “The Circus” (1928)”

Pepito the Spanish Clown, posing with a Charlie Chaplin impersonator in Pepito’s miniature Packard, in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, 1928.

Pepito Meets Joanne: Their Matchmaker Was Charlie Chaplin (1928)

January 1, 1928 The 1928 premiere of of Charlie Chaplin’s movie “The Circus” at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre Hollywood included a live stage prologue (a stage show before the movie) called the “Ballyhoo.”  Chaplin wanted an actual three ring circus to precede the screening of the movie, to fit the theme of his film, but byContinue reading “Pepito Meets Joanne: Their Matchmaker Was Charlie Chaplin (1928)”

Margaret Shorey, first female comic foil and musician for Pepito, the Spanish Clown, as she appeared in a 1925 syndicated newspaper feature story “How the Clown Won Back the Beauty From the King.”

Seeking the Descendants of Margaret Shorey

January 1, 1928 Margaret Shorey, also known as Peggy Shorey, was the first female foil for Pepito the Spanish Clown, circa 1924-1928.  She sang, played the guitar like a Spanish senorita, did a “snake-charmer” number with her trumpet, and assisted Pepito with the clown routines.  I believe Margaret quit Pepito’s act in January of 1928. Continue reading “Seeking the Descendants of Margaret Shorey”

Syd Chaplin in “The Missing Link,” 1927. Pepito Perez was said to have been involved in the production of this film. Photo from http://www.sydchaplin.com

Pepito’s Filmography: “The Missing Link” (1927)

Thursday, September 1, 1927 It is unknown whether Pepito Perez was in the cast, or perhaps it was the crew, of this Syd Chaplin picture at Warner Brothers, but in a 1931 interview, Pepito mentioned having been involved with the film.  According to the Turner Classic Movies website, “The Missing Link” is not available onContinue reading “Pepito’s Filmography: “The Missing Link” (1927)”

San Pedro News Pilot: Pepito & Rosita at the West Coast Cabrillo Theatre (1927)

February 5, 1927 Pepito & Rosita* newspaper advertisement for vaudeville performances at the West Coast Cabrillo Theatre, 7th & Palos Verdes, San Pedro, California. *Rosita was the stage name of Peggy Shorey, birth name Margaret Shorey. Source: San Pedro News Pilot, Volume 14, Number 108, page 3, 5 February 1927

Pepito the Spanish Clown and His First “Lion” Act (1927)

Saturday, January 1, 1927 When the estate of Joanne Perez, widow of Pepito the Spanish Clown, was liquidated in stages from 2004 through 2008, many items from their home and their personal memorabilia were auctioned off, or sold on Ebay.  One of the lucky bidders was Todd Hoover, an art and photography collector.  Although heContinue reading “Pepito the Spanish Clown and His First “Lion” Act (1927)”

Milwaukee Sentinel: Joann Falcy ‘Comes Home’ (1926)

Friday, May 14, 1926 The Milwaukee Sentinel Seventeen years ago Mrs. William Zettler, then living a 247 Twenty-Second Street, prayed that her baby should be perfect. When Joann* arrived her left leg was snugly situated over her left shoulder.  As an infant she slept comfortably in a perfect split position.  Mrs. Zettler worried and calledContinue reading “Milwaukee Sentinel: Joann Falcy ‘Comes Home’ (1926)”

Milwaukee Sentinel: Joann Zettler, Daily Dozen All At Once (1926)

Wednesday, May 12, 1926 Entering the world 17 years ago with her left leg situated behind her head, Joann Zettler, formerly of 247 Twenty-Second Street, yesterday had an X-ray taken to discover her flexible secret. Source: Milwaukee Sentinel, May 12, 1926.

Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle: Pepito’s Clown Tricks Make Hit At Bardavon Theater (1926)

Friday, January 29, 1926 Pepito, who appears at the Bardavon Theater this week, is not merely a clown, nor merely a Spanish clown.  He should be called the Clown de Luxe.  For no opportunity is lost to make his stage setting unusual and effective.  When the curtain goes up on an African desert and revealsContinue reading “Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle: Pepito’s Clown Tricks Make Hit At Bardavon Theater (1926)”

Nationally Syndicated Feature: “How the Clown Won Back the Beauty From the King” (1925)

Monday, December 7, 1925 This is a real gem:  a 1925 newspaper feature article about Pepito the Spanish Clown, aka Jose Escobar Perez, and his first stage partner, Peggy Shorey, aka Margaret Shorey, who performed together from 1924-1928.   Margaret Shorey’s specialty was playing the guitar and singing songs like a Spanish senorita, even thoughContinue reading “Nationally Syndicated Feature: “How the Clown Won Back the Beauty From the King” (1925)”

Variety: Pepito Wins Judgment in Lawsuit Against Agent Burt Earle (1925)

Wednesday, July 29, 1925 Pepito, also known as Jose Escobar, acrobatic clown, was given judgment in a suit brought against him by Burt Earle, concessioner who claimed half of “Pepito’s” earnings for five years under an alleged contract. Escobar speaks no English and was aided in the suit by Margaret Shorey, his stage partner. EscobarContinue reading “Variety: Pepito Wins Judgment in Lawsuit Against Agent Burt Earle (1925)”

Watertown New York Daily Times: Big Time Keith Bill at Avon; Pepito the World Renowned Spanish Clown Offers A Wealth of Entertainment (1925)

Saturday, April 4, 1925 Pepito, the world renowned Spanish clown offers, a wealth of entertainment amid beautiful settings and gorgeous costumes.  He is the master mimic of them all, and his specialties are wonderful and amazing. Miss Rosita* adds much to the offering with a saxophone solo and a cornet duet with another artist thatContinue reading “Watertown New York Daily Times: Big Time Keith Bill at Avon; Pepito the World Renowned Spanish Clown Offers A Wealth of Entertainment (1925)”

Pepito the Spanish Clown publicity photo, 1920s. To create the unusual look and texture of his headshot, Pepito painted over a photograph of himself using oil paint, then photographed the oil painting, then printed the photos in his own darkroom.

Watertown New York Daily Times: Avon Bill Has Two Headliners; Pepito Makes Return Visit (1925)

Friday, April 3, 1925 One of the best programs of vaudeville that Watertown, New York theater goers have had the opportunity of seeing in a long time is now at the Avon theater and it promises to please all of the patrons of the theater who attend the Avon this week.  There are two realContinue reading “Watertown New York Daily Times: Avon Bill Has Two Headliners; Pepito Makes Return Visit (1925)”

The San Francisco Light: Pepito, the Spanish Clown, Photographed Atop a Moon Automobile in San Antonio, Texas (1924)

Sunday, October 19, 1924 Embleton Helps Pepito to Spread Happiness Among Orphans of City. Pepito, clown at The Majestic recently, is shown here in action, spreading happiness among the orphans of San Antonio (Texas). Through the courtesy of the Embleton Motor Company, he was carried to the various orphanages and hospitals in a Moon [automobile].Continue reading “The San Francisco Light: Pepito, the Spanish Clown, Photographed Atop a Moon Automobile in San Antonio, Texas (1924)”

San Antonio Express: Famous Clown Gladdens Hearts of Little Cripples and Orphans With Funny Act (1924)

Tuesday, October 7, 1924 Oh-h-, lookee ! — His shoes don’t fit!” “Lookit ‘im, he’s a real clown — an’ the beautiful lady!” These and other breathless exclamations were coming from several hundred youngsters who fairly swarmed over the fence of the Protestant Orphans’ Home, when Pepito, headline clown attraction at the Majestic, and Rosita (Margaret Shorey), his attractive young assistant, and other membersContinue reading “San Antonio Express: Famous Clown Gladdens Hearts of Little Cripples and Orphans With Funny Act (1924)”

The San Antonio Light: Spanish Clown Gladdens Kiddies; Majestic Fun Maker Goes to See Orphans and Crippled Children (1924)

Tuesday, October 7, 1924 By Henry Brenner The San Antonio Light Out of the classic French pages stalks Poum-Poum — Poum-Poum, the clown who made a little boy’s heart glad, the clown who was the idol of the little invalid’s dreams.  And into the murk and dust of the West Side of San Antonio a modern Poum-Poum carried a beam ofContinue reading “The San Antonio Light: Spanish Clown Gladdens Kiddies; Majestic Fun Maker Goes to See Orphans and Crippled Children (1924)”

San Antonio Express: Scott and Pepito on New Majestic Bill (1924)

Sunday, October 5, 1924 SCOTT AND PEPITO ON NEW MAJESTIC BILL Opera Star and Clown Share Headline Honors—Much Diversity Vaudeville essentially is a show with a wide diversity of entertainment.  The bill that opens at the Majestic Theater this afternoon is therefore a real vaudeville bill, for the acts run the gamut of entertainment possibilities and variety.  Mimicry in its highest stage shares theContinue reading “San Antonio Express: Scott and Pepito on New Majestic Bill (1924)”

New York Morning Telegraph: Review of Pepito the Spanish Clown at Proctor’s Fifth Avenue Theater (1923)

Sunday, November 18, 1923 by Ben Barnett New York Morning Telegraph For versatility and novelty this act must be judged as having a good chance to eventually find lucrative engagements in the big-time theatres. The only fault with it now is that, when it is all over, something seems to be lacking—a sort of condiment to a good and abbreviated vaudeville menuContinue reading “New York Morning Telegraph: Review of Pepito the Spanish Clown at Proctor’s Fifth Avenue Theater (1923)”

Variety Magazine: Pepito Reviewed For First Time By Top Theater and Vaudeville Weekly (1923)

Thursday, March 1, 1923 Pepito, the Spanish Clown, really does imitations but presents them as a clown, and introduces a comedy stunt with an auto which is the predominant hit of the act.   The special drop shows a desert and an abandoned auto.  After some comedy in which an imitation of a dog barkingContinue reading “Variety Magazine: Pepito Reviewed For First Time By Top Theater and Vaudeville Weekly (1923)”

Jose Escobar Perez, aka “Pepito the Spanish Clown” bore a striking resemblance to Rudolph Valentino and was mistaken for him in a New York City restaurant in 1922. Photo courtesy of Edna and Susan Reedy.

Watertown Daily Times: Pepito Forsakes Art to Become Clown (1922)

FORSAKES ART TO BECOME CLOWN FORTUNE LOST, GIVES UP CAREER AS A PAINTER PEPITO, SPANIARD, HERE Vaudeville Performer Made Hit On Stage With Caricatures  Until Persuaded to Join Clown Act — Now Learning English Language Watertown, New York DAILY TIMES November 14, 1922 (Melani Carty’s note:  This is the earliest U.S. newspaper article I haveContinue reading “Watertown Daily Times: Pepito Forsakes Art to Become Clown (1922)”

Scrapbook: Pepito As “Mac-Wills” With Los Egochagas in Oaxaca, Mexico (1922)

Thursday, June 22, 1922 After the death of Joanne Perez in 2004, her entire estate was liquidated, and the proceeds benefitted Biola University in Southern California.  One of the items that was sold was Pepito’s scrapbook.  The current whereabouts of this fabulous scrapbook are unknown.  It is my hope that the current owner will contactContinue reading “Scrapbook: Pepito As “Mac-Wills” With Los Egochagas in Oaxaca, Mexico (1922)”

La Vanguardia: Pepito as “Mac-Wills” at Teatro Circo Barcelones, Spain (1921)

Sunday, February 6, 1921 TEATRO CIRCO BARCELONES MAC WILLS El comico de los comicos. Celebre imitador, parodista excentrico. NOTA:  MAC-WILLS con su vis comica inagotable ha merecido por unanimidad el califlcativo del Rey del Chiste e invita a todas las personal serias y refractarias a la risa a presenciar su actuacion, si quieren curar suContinue reading “La Vanguardia: Pepito as “Mac-Wills” at Teatro Circo Barcelones, Spain (1921)”

Billboard Magazine: The Minutos, Polidor, Pepito and Carmelo, Clowns with Santos & Artigas Circus in Brazil (1920)

Saturday, November 6, 1920 SANTOS & ARTIGAS “Blue” Circus Doing Well in South America The following notes from the Santos & Artigas Circus, mailed at Para, Brazil, South America, September 17, 1920, were received by The Billboard last week: At present there are two other circuses in this city besides the Santos & Artigas “Blue”Continue reading “Billboard Magazine: The Minutos, Polidor, Pepito and Carmelo, Clowns with Santos & Artigas Circus in Brazil (1920)”

La Vanguardia: Pepito as “Mac-Wills,” Appearing at Teatro Circo Barcelona, Spain (1920)

Sunday, May 2, 1920 Mac-Wills. El comico de los comicos. Risa continua, carcajadas a granel.   Gran exito en los principales teatro de Europa y America.  Verdadera novedad en Barcelona. Exito entusiasta, clamoroso aplausos a la sensacional atraccion. Mac-Wills The comedian of comedians. Continuous laughter, laughter in bulk. Great success in the principal theaters ofContinue reading “La Vanguardia: Pepito as “Mac-Wills,” Appearing at Teatro Circo Barcelona, Spain (1920)”

Billboard Magazine: Pepito, Cuban Clown, In Charles L. Sasse Agency Advertisement (1919)

Saturday, December 20, 1919 Thruout the Entire World and sincerely hope for a Prosperous and Happy New Year CHAS. L. SASSE* GENERAL REPRESENTATIVE 300 West 49th Street, NEW YORK Suite 610  Telephone: Bryant 7720 FANTINO TROUPE (4) AERIAL TEETH NOVELTY CARL EUGER TROUPE NOTED EUROPEAN ACROBATS MR. AND MRS. EMIL PALLENBERG’S CELEBRATED BEAR ACT Baader-LavelleContinue reading “Billboard Magazine: Pepito, Cuban Clown, In Charles L. Sasse Agency Advertisement (1919)”

Billboard Magazine: Pepito and Carmelo in Santos & Artigas Circus in Argentina (1919)

Thursday, December 18, 1919 Buenos Aires, Argentina The Santos & Artigas Circus is at present playing at The Coliseo, a beautiful theater at Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a seven weeks’ engagement. The company reached here after a safe trip over the Andes Mountains from Santiago, Chile, a three-day trip climbing 15,000 feet thru huge snow drifts.Continue reading “Billboard Magazine: Pepito and Carmelo in Santos & Artigas Circus in Argentina (1919)”

Billboard Magazine: Pepito, Musical Clown, With Circo Santos y Artigas in Cuba (1918)

Saturday, December 14, 1918 SANTOS Y ARTIGAS CIRCO Has Splendid Opening — May Wirth is Well Received — Numerous Features in Reserve for Changing of Bill Messrs. Santos and Artigas have again successfully launched their Santos y Artigas Circo at the Payret Theater, Havana, Cuba, and since the opening have enjoyed enormous business, the houseContinue reading “Billboard Magazine: Pepito, Musical Clown, With Circo Santos y Artigas in Cuba (1918)”

Pepito the Spanish Clown Mentioned in Tiny Kline’s Memoir “Circus Queen & Tinker Bell” (1917)

In Cuba, in the winter of 1917-1918, Pepito Perez appeared as a clown with the Santos & Artigas Circus.  However, even though I have researched his career and studied his photographs and papers, I would never have known that he was ever in Cuba, or that he performed in a circus — if not forContinue reading “Pepito the Spanish Clown Mentioned in Tiny Kline’s Memoir “Circus Queen & Tinker Bell” (1917)”

Billboard Magazine: Pepito With Pubillones Circus in Mexico (1917)

July 21, 1917 Pubillones Circus Doing Splendid Business in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico The Pubillones Circus closed this season only for a few days, while the Cuban revolution lasted. At present the show is in Merida, Yucatan, doing splendid business, and will close until October.  The new show for the winter season will then open andContinue reading “Billboard Magazine: Pepito With Pubillones Circus in Mexico (1917)”

Photograph: Pepito as Mr. Hermhan the Clown, Circo Parish, Madrid, Spain (1916)

This rare photo of Pepito, the Spanish Clown, is from the personal collection of his great-nephew, Raymond Escobar.  It is the earliest known photograph of Pepito, whose real name was Jose Escobar Perez.  Pepito was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1890, and as a young man he became an entertainer.  He came to the UnitedContinue reading “Photograph: Pepito as Mr. Hermhan the Clown, Circo Parish, Madrid, Spain (1916)”

Lithograph: Circo Parish Compania Internacional, Madrid, Spain (circa 1916)

Among the items from Joanne Perez’s estate which were sold in 2004-2005, was this intriguing lithograph of the Circo Parish Compania Internacional, Madrid, Spain.  Presumably, this lithograph was one of the prized possessions of her husband, Pepito the Spanish Clown. According to old interviews, Pepito was with Circo Parish for five years.  Exact dates areContinue reading “Lithograph: Circo Parish Compania Internacional, Madrid, Spain (circa 1916)”

Billboard Magazine: Pepito and Augusto in Pubillones Circus in Cuba (1914)

PUBILLONES OPENS IN HAVANA, CUBA November 21, 1914. The Pubillones Circus opens Thursday night in the Politeama Theater to a packed house of the elite of Havana.  Many Americans were here also to see the big opening of the Barnum of Cuba. The show went through without a hitch, with Joe Miller, of the RinglingContinue reading “Billboard Magazine: Pepito and Augusto in Pubillones Circus in Cuba (1914)”

The character of “The Imp” from “Little Nemo” by cartoonist and animator Winsor McCay, one of the inspirations for the makeup of Pepito, the Spanish Clown.

VIDEO: “Little Nemo” Cartoon One of the Inspirations for Pepito’s Clown Costume (1905-1911)

I have in my archive, an old newspaper clipping of an interview with Pepito in which he definitively states that he modeled his clown costume on a Little Nemo in Slumberland comic strip that he saw in the streets of Barcelona when he was a young art student.  Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winsor_McCay https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Nemo

Vaudeville Treasure Trove Online at the Library of Congress (1870-1930)

Follow these links to an online treasure trove of vaudeville history at the Library of Congress: Bob Hope and American Variety – Vaudeville http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/bobhope/vaude.html Bob Hope and American Variety – The Bill http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/bobhope/thebill.html The American Variety Stage:  Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment 1870-1920 http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/vshtml/vshome.html List of Variety Stage Films http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/vshtml/vsfmlst.html From the early 1880s to theContinue reading “Vaudeville Treasure Trove Online at the Library of Congress (1870-1930)”

Memmorandom of W. John Zetteler, Grandfather of Margaret “Joanne” Zettler Perez (1865)

This is the text of a handwritten memorandum by John Zetteler.  He wrote it in 1865 after returning home from the Civil War.   John Zetteler was the grandfather of Emery John Schilling, He was also the grandfather of Margaret Zettler, whose name later became Joanne Perez, our Joanne. John Zetteler was great-grandfather of DonContinue reading “Memmorandom of W. John Zetteler, Grandfather of Margaret “Joanne” Zettler Perez (1865)”

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