CLOWNS ARE RUNNING THE WORLD – Garry Armstrong

“Send In The Clowns”, on its own merit, is a beautiful song from the show, “A Little Night Music.” Judy Collins’ cover has made it a popular favorite for decades. A Frank Sinatra version is especially poignant.

Jimmy Stewart (clown) and Charlton Heston in “The Greatest Show On Earth”

In the early 70’s, a seemingly more innocent period, I used “Send In The Clowns” as a musical wrap around a political TV piece. I was covering local Boston politics. A primary campaign. Those were the days of political and community icons like “Dapper,” “Fast Freddie,” Trixie, “Kevin From Heaven,” “Wacko,” and “Raybo.”

Those were influential folks, beloved by their constituents and bearers of much political clout. I was on “friendly” terms with most of these folks. There was less Sturm und Drang between the media and politicians in those days.

There was respect.

My piece was shot with silent black and white film.  We were still in the pre-videotape and digital days. I chose silent film over sound because I wanted the music to have more presence, less competition from people talking.

We used a montage of candidates faces, posters and campaign slogans. The lyrics of “Send In The Clowns” soared as the video zoomed in on campaign slogans and candidates kissing babies and pressing the flesh.

I anticipated a flurry of angry calls from campaign directors.  Nothing. Nada. One candidate, over happy hour drinks, praised the cleverness of my piece but said he would’ve preferred the Sinatra version of “Clowns”.

So much for being glib in those days.

Imagine using “Send In The Clowns” today.  For the coming mid-terms.  The  ’20 Presidential race. How would the “Clowns” lyrics fare over the screaming POTUS?  The ranting Rudy? The shouting Sean Hannity?

Should we intercut snippets of circus clowns with “breaking news” video and clips of all the President’s minions?  Don’t forget those shots of the President’s supporters, the “People,” with their “Jail Her” signs and the racist banners flying over political bonfires.

Send in the clowns?  Don’t bother.
They’re already here. 

Author: Garry Armstrong

As a reporter for Channel 7 in Boston for 31 years, I was witness to most of the major events affecting the region. I met a lot of people ... politicians, actors, moguls, criminals and many regular folks caught up in extraordinary situations. Sometimes, I write about the people I've met and places I've been. Sometimes, I write about life, my family, my dogs and me. Or what might otherwise be called Life.

28 thoughts on “CLOWNS ARE RUNNING THE WORLD – Garry Armstrong”

      1. Not just hilarious, but in its own way touching, and repeatedly voted the best single episode of any sitcom ever. The turnaround when Mary objects so strenuously th Lou and Murray’s jokes, when she bursts into tears at the funeral is so0 an ingenious twist. Did I say twist? I’ll be they thought of that first and built the episode around it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s funny because I only watched this show intermittently over the years. I was busy, working full time and raising a kid and back then, I even had living friends! But I remember THAT show. It was pretty much unforgettable.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Cork, you’re so right about the “Chuckles, The Clown” episode. Wonderful work by Moore, supressing giggles, etc. Bound to happen if you attend enough of these things.

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    1. Son, we have a new stable of clowns in DC, including Donzo — playing caliope music in the Oval Office.
      Bozo has turned in his clown outfit — says his profession has been sullied by the current crop of red nosed hucksters.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It IS really depressing to realize that the candidates for Head Bozo of America (snicker, snort) for this election are no better than the old ones in 2016. With one exception. And we elected that horror show. I shudder to think what will happen this time because it seems to me that we’ve not learned one damned thing in these four years. Punchinello has a machete and isn’t afraid to use it either. *sigh* Blame my Eeyoresque attitude and glumness on the rain. It’s been doing that for the past two weeks and I live in a ‘desert’ (bwahahahah). The Head Clown is going to mess with our national park ‘Zions” and do something vile to Angel’s Landing. Can you beam me up Scotty? It’s too stupid to survive down here. Have a great day Garry and realize that your piece, all those many years ago, was a fore runner to the the actual three ring circus in which we ‘live’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Melanie, I could never have forseen what’s happened. Those political folks were comparatively innocent given the clowns we have now. No Ringling Brothers laughter with these wankers.

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  2. Life is a circus, and the clowns are running it. Sinatra could be a cruel clown himself. One evening, when my parents were having dinner with him, he was verbally abusive to the waiting staff. When they ordered the second round of drinks, my mother said to the waiter and pointing at Sinatra, “And you can bring him a high colonic.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Patricia, I’ve heard that about Sinatra. He wore many faces. He had his “Mr. Nice Guy” face on the night I met him.

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  3. I’m waiting for Donzo to dress up as Yankee Doodle Dandy for HIS 4th of July celebration. It’s always about HIM. I wonder if Benedict Arnold was a consultant for Agent Oranghead.

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