14. A museum dedicated to clowns
Coulrophobia (coal-row-fo-bee-uh) is the fear of clowns, which often affects people in circuses, parades, and some Italian restaurants. The condition is enough widespread to generate the formation of support groups online and in-person for people with a deep-seated fear of clowns. Such unfortunates would be wise to stay away from the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center, located in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Since 1989, the Hall of Fame has inducted members, with the first class of inductees including Red Skelton and Emmett Kelly, among others. The organization also grants a Lifetime Achievement Award. Among its recipients are included Willard Scott, longtime weatherman on The Today Show. Scott earlier portrayed both Bozo the Clown, and Ronald McDonald. The Clown Prince of Basketball, Meadowlark Lemon of the Harlem Globetrotters, is another such honoree.
The Hall of Fame has a history, tied somewhat inevitably to the circus. It originated in Delevan, Wisconsin, in 1987, the first home of Barnum and Bailey’s Circus. It later moved to Milwaukee, and in 1997 it closed, its artifacts placed in storage. Resurrected, it moved to a small building in Baraboo. It maintains a website, which is mostly a blog, with advertisements for clown-related products. It is located within walking distance of Baraboo’s Circus World Museum, though they are not affiliated. The museum recognizes Pinto Colvig as the first to portray Bozo the Clown, not Larry Harmon, as is commonly believed. Colvig first played Bozo in 1946 on records and in 1949 on television. Harmon purchased the rights to the character in 1956. Since then, Bozo has been played by numerous clowns and actors, both nationally and at the local level.