Panama City News-Herald from Panama City, Florida on February 25, 1973 · Page 33
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Panama City News-Herald from Panama City, Florida · Page 33

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Sunday, February 25, 1973
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Page 33
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NEWS-HERALD, FMiaiiw Cltf, Fl»., Bimday, February W, IMS Paf« I Tell Them Emmett Kelly Won't Retire SARASOTA, Fla. (UPl) — The tent doesn't leak on Weary Willi* «nymor«. But despite lome reports to the contrary, the clov/n with the tramp clothes and sar face is rot dead or retired or even feeling poorly. Fact is, Willie has regular gigs at some spiffy supper clubs, makes a few television commercials and recently appeared in a Boston opera. "I didn't sing or talk or any other thing, but I got a bigger kick out of that than playing the circus," said Emmett Kelly, now 74. who created and became Weary Willie, the world renowned clown. "Everbody thinks I'm retired, but I got out to Harrah's in Lake Tahoe for 12 weeks every summer. I get second billing, but I'll settle for that," Kelly said. In the new den of his small white house on Sarasota's quiet South Drive, Kelly likes to sip German beer and rummage through mementoes over a half century clown for Ringling and other famous around the world. But he won't admit he misses the big top. "If it hadn't been for the circus, I wouldn't be anything," he said, "But Harrah's sure beats the circus. They've got a room that seats 850 people. That tent don't leak." In his bedroom slippers, Kolly shuffles off to another part of the house, waddling like the pathetic Willie, to turn off his teenage daughter's stereo. gathered as a top Brothers circuses Sad doll depicts famous character He comes back muttering, "I don't criticize young people for their rork and roll. What the heck. But I'd rather listen to Nelson Eddy than Elvis Presley and Tom Jones and all the rest put together." Kelly is living with his third wife, Edie, an attractive blonde who was one of the four Gebhardt sisters, an act Ringling found in Germany. They were married in 1954 in a mock Kelly set out to be a newspaper cartoonist and took a correspondence course In drawing. He created the wistful and ragged character of WiUie 52 years ago while drawing illustrations for the Ad Film Co. in Kansas City. In 1921, KeUy joined the Howes Great London Circus and until 1956 when he left Ringling Brothers and Bamum & Bailey after 14 years, he traveled to most of the major capitals of the world as a clown and sometimes trapeze artist. "Charlie Chaplin was my idol," Kelly said. "I think he was the greatest pantomlne artist we have ever known. He makes us laugh. You don't laugh at Marcel Marceau, the Frenchman. "But the guy I idolized all mj life, I never got to meet. Ht would never get out of his shell, ceremony staged by a presf agent in Madison Square Gar den. Their two daughters. Stasia 17, and Monika, 15, are bot) students at Sarasota's Rivei view High. The aging clown also has twi grovm sons by his first wife—• Emmett Kelly Jr., 47, an.:. Thomas Patrick Kelly, 27. Both are following in their father's footsteps under the big top, playing fairs in the midwest. "Junior copied my makeup, but it doesn't look right on him," Kelly said. "His cheeks are too sunken." Bom in Sedan, Kan., Just before the turn of the century, I had the presence of mind not to copy his mannerisms. I thought about using a cane, but I decided everybody would them I'm not FAMOUS FACE — The face at left is famous . . . legendary. But the face at right, a friendly ordinary face, is probably little-known. It is the face of Emmett Kelly, the man under the makeup of legendary Weary Willie — perhaps the world's best-known clown. (UP!) think I was aping him." It was years before Kelly was able to sell his circus bosses on the idea of a tramp clown. Since the middle ages the traditional clown had worn a white face with red spots on each cheek, a peaked hat and a ballooning suit with pom-pom buttons down the front. But in 1937, Willie went to London with the big Bertram Mills circus and Kelly remembers that as "my proudest achievement in show business." "The Lord Mayor of London was there and I looked out and saw that snooty looking crowd with their beautiful clothes and I thought, here goes nothing," he said. "I was given six or Kerner Conviction: Tragdey And Bombshell In Illinois eight minutes and I went up in television commercials," Kelly the seating area, something said. "And it worries me thut that clowns had never done people think I've retired. I quit before in England, eating my the circus, but I have no cabbage. I got a tremendous thoughts of retiring. This way I hand." can take it as it comet. Then there was that tragic ..you tell day, July 7, 1944, in Hartford, retired " Conn., when suddenly the ring band of "The Greatest Show on Earth" broke into Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever," the traditional circus signal of disaster. The big top was on fire. Kelly, backstage in "clown alley," had just finished putting on his Willie makeup when he heard the screams of the panicked audience. He clattered down the runway in his oversized shoes, picking up a pail of water along the way. The center pole collapsed and 169 died in the holocaust. Another 600 were burned or injured. A picture of Kelly, in hifl sad tramp's uniform, standing among the ruined tent and charred bodies, clutching his tiny pail and weeping was printed all around the world. Sunday night, Kelly's circus friends and fellow show folks of Sarasota gathered at the Palatial John Ringling showplace home to pay tribute to the king of clowns. John Hurdle, curator of the Ringling Circus Museum, presented KeUy with a plaque and a lifetime pass to the museum, where a special display featuring Kelly's career will be shown for several months. ^I've done a little or everything, from vaudeville to CHICAGO (UPI) — When the jury found Otto Kemer guUty of being a crook last Monday morning, the courtroom was so quiet someone in the back could be heard distinctly saying, "Oh, my God." A lot of politicians and ordinary citizens in Illinois still feel that way about the conviction of Kemer, former major general in the National Guard, twice elected governor of Illinois, still a ;42,500-a-year judge on leave from the U.S. Court of Appeals. If It could happen to Otto Kemer, the feeling is, it could happen to almost anyone. Any politician, at any rate. The man was Mr. Clean: Mr. Class; soldier-statesman; elegant amalgam of hard-nosed Ciiicago politics and governmental Integrity; champion of civil rights (remember the "Kemer Report"?); savior of Illinois' mental health program; the politician you could trust. The charge is that he betrayed that trust by collaborating with a crony to shake down a racetrack proprietress for roughly $300,000 in ill sought and ill gotten profits on her organization's stock, Kerner, at 64, is still a long way from jail. He has vowed to "continue this battle" and his attorneys are preparing pleas for a new trial. But his sentence could conceivably come to 83 years. Moreover, Kerner and his codefendant, Theodore J. Isaacs, may not be the only ones In trouble. Already, the word is going around that James R. Thompson, the young U.S. attorney who nailed Kerner, is preparing charges against as many as 12 more Illinois political figures — charges of the same sort of racetrack bribe-taking ascribed to Kerner. Among others who bought lush racetrack stock at bargain prices, as did Kemer, are known to be George W. Dunne, president of the Cook County Board and second only to Mayor Richard J. Daley in the Chicago Democratic organization; U.S. District judge William J. Lynch, Daley's former law partner; Rep. Daniel Rostenkowski, the man who speaks for Daley in the Congress; Democratic State Rep. Clyde Choate, minority VOTEFOR A WINNER! arguerite W TUESDAY, FEB. 27 amwright The (.lt^ " Pd Pol Auv CITY COMMISSION WARD 2 leader in the Illinois House; and former State Sen. Arthur J. BidwiU, Republican and former Illinois Senate majority leader. Thompson maintains there was no political motivation in his prosecution of Kemer and that there will be none if he moves against other Illinois Democrats. Of course, Washington Is highly interested in what Thompson is up to. President Nixon relayed his personal congratulations on the Kemer conviction. Attomey General Richard G. Kliendienst telephoned, "Take a day off ... go I out and unpack" —an inside joke that Thompson would have had to leave town if Kemer beat the rap. Whatever the motivations, a new heap of troubles has been laid on the back of Daley and his once Invincible political stetunroller. On the morning after Kemer's conviction, a glum party insider said, "Watch and see. This convic- Ition is going to spell the beginning of the end of the Cook County Democratic Party as we know it." The Republicans, who have been in sore need of a hot political commodity In Chicago for years, may have found one in Thompson. After less than a year and a half in office, he has attained a reputation ai something of a giant killer. Although he is only 36, Thompson 's yen to be mayor of IChicago is no secret and it is debatable whether the redoubtable but aging Daley would try to fight him for the job when It becomes open again in 1975. If one man's career Is blossoming, another's seems almost certainly over. Even Thompson felt that what has happend to Otto Kemer a 1 tragedy. There was a sence of shock in the city and the state Monday. Color TV's '-fTTELECYNE FWCKARDBELL 532 Mediterranean Ook Roll About Costere REVINA 10C95B ED OHnemnns 46»."W.29h''H.2i!4"D Tele-Magic One Button Total Control ^ • Ease and convenience rnggBtLJ^i picture control are as I ^MMpJ importanttoviewingpleas- I mJ *^ ure as the picture they I produce. Tele-Magic one ••"•^ button total dolor control places the six most important color tuning functions under the instant control of one button.Touch it. for an immediate, fully tuned, sharp and brilliant color picture. Handcrafted Cabinetry Reaching back to the older, traditional skills of the furniture maker. Teledyne Packard Bell console cabinets asserttheir own unique dignity. Unobtrusive yet distinguished, they are ^ handcrafted and handrubbed from fine hard- vi^oods.OversevieFaldecades.they have been consistently honored with major styling awards. %A^0 i ^r '^r^^^^'^'^'^)*^ ift^^ Brigl* Ctolor TVpkhwtube MM»qiitcuiHii TV AND RADIO SHOP (LOCATED NEXT TO THE WATERTANK) 1101 OHiOAVENUe 265.Z771 JYNNHAVPi.FUL UMIfB) OFFER Everybody knew Kerner was on trial. Almost everybody, it seemed, thought he would be acquitted —either because he was mnocent or because, although legaUy or morally guilty, they believed men who have climbed as high as did Kerner are hardly ever convicted in Illinois. Besides, the crime of which he was accused and convicted seemed such a shabby affair. It Just wasn't Kemer's style. The charges against Kemer are bribery, conspiracy, mail fraud, income tax evasion, perjury before a grand jury, and the making of false statements to the Internal Revenue Service. What they boil down to is the allegation that, shortly after the start of Kemer's first term in 1961, a Mrs. Marjorle Lind- reimer Everett of Chicago either decided or was given to understand (the prosecution's two key witnesses never could get together on this point) that the govemor would be kindly disposed toward her in return for certain favors. Mrs. Everett at the time controlled two Chicago area racetracks and frankly enjoyed the title of "queen of Illinois racing." She stood in sore need of Kemer's kind regard, since the fortunes of her tracks depended on what racing dates were allotted to them by the state racing board. The go-between in the deal 5s supposed to have been William S. Miller, then chairman of the racing board. Miller says he told Kerner that Mrs. Everett in her desire to be kind and in sympathy with his financial situation," had set aside certain stocks which Kerner and Isaacs could buy. Stocks worth $300,000 were made available for $50,000, it is charged. Kemer, so Miller's story goes, commented, "That's very nice of Marje." Thereafter, it Is charged, the govemor stuck his oar in to get Mrs. Everett the racing dates she wanted and his administration sponsored legislation favorable to her interests. Kemer's old friend Isaacs, at that time the state director of revenue, handled the details, according to the charges, and the two of them eventually cashed in their stock for $144,721 each. Both Mrs. Everett and 'Miller testified against Kemer — Miller under a guarantee of immunity from the bribery charges against him and aclniowledging his promise to keep on telling all for the government in any related future prosecutions. Each either said flatly or strongly implied that the other was a liar. Kemer, in his testimony, indicated he agreed with their assessment of each other. Gen. William C. Westmoreland, former Army chief of staff and Kemer's comrade in arms in North Africa and Sicily, testified to Kemer's character. Roy C, WilWns, the NAACP executive director who served unfier Kemer's chaii> manship on the 1967 Presidential commission on eivil disorders, assured the jurors (two of them were black) of Kemer's reputation. Even Jack Brickhouse, an announcer who broadcasts almost every sport in Chicago, attested Kerner was an all right guy. But Kemer put his chips on himself. Plandsome, distinguished, confident, perfectly postured and tailored, he went on the stand as the star witness of the defense, since Isaacs, 62, had elected to stay sUent. Kerner put a lifetime and a heritage on the line: sun of a federal judge, husband of the daughter of the late Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, graduate of Brown University, Cambridge University and the Northwestem University School of Law, veteran of World War n campaigns in Africa, Siciliy and the Philippines, U.S. attomey. Cook County judge, the man people had thought a politician without clay feet. Kemer acknowledged he had owned the stock and made the profit. But, as he summed up his testimony after the trial, "At no time that I have held public office have I taken any advantage and I have always tried and always made my judgments In consideration of tiie people I have served". He asked the middle class jiuy of seyen women and five men to trust him, to believe in him as people had before. The jurors didn't trust him or believe him. They found him guilty on all 19 counts in the indictment. At his victory news conference, Thompson said, "I have a feeling of sadness and tragedy about this case. "Many people believe all politicians are crooked and all public officials are corrupt. Kemer had the reputation of being different from all that. "I voted for him once. It Is ironic that corruption should reach such a man." Robbers Enter Wrong Door BUFFALO, Okla. (UPI) The only explanation police have is that the two teen-age robbers must have gotten the bank mixed up with the library. "It's the first attempted library robbery I ever heard of," policeman Ray Dawson said Thursday. Dawson said the teen-agers held out an empty pillow case and told the Ubrary attendant, 'Put it in." "Put what in?" the attendant asked. "The money. Put It In and nobody'll get hurt," the youth demanded. The attendant, who said there was less than $1 in collected library fines in his petty cash box, ran out the door and escaped. The teen-agers, believed to be nmaways from Florida, were arrested hours later in Garden City, Kan. The town's library and bank are a block apart on comer locations, and the exterior of the bank is partially obstnioted because of scaffolding used in Nona TO PUBLIC WE WILL BE CLOSED SUNDAY FEB. 25 Ml lOVSE TIL THE FIRST WEEK IN MARCH WEWISHTOTHANK OUR MANY RKNDS AND STEAK EATBIS AND PROMISE TO save YOU EVEN BETTERMOUR NEW CATPISH HOUSE OURSPKULTY . FRESHCHANNaCATFiSH remodeling. "It would be easy to go in the wrong door, thinking you were in the bank," Dawson said. Lovable Weary WilUe in tattered coat t homeowners in this general area will be given the opportunity of havingu.S. steel and fiberglass stone applied to their homes with optional decorative work at o very low cost. This amazing new product hos captured the interest of homo- owners through-oul the U.S. who are fed up with the constant painting & other maintenanco cost-Guaranteed 40 yr. & provides full insulation, summer&winl«r,aswell as fire protection. Our new production (Eun be used over every typo of home, including frame, concrete block, stucco, & so forth. It comes in o choice of colors & is now going to be introduced to the Panama City market. Your home con be a show phice in your vicinity & we will moke it worth your while if we con use your home. fREE 10 x 20 ALUMINUM CARPORT TO THEIIRST 3 CUSTOMERS BOX 1721 PANAMA CITY, PLORIDA IN YOUR CHOICE OF 3 EXCITING PATTERNS! A. CURRIER A IVES JEWEL BOX 469 HARRISON AVE. PANAMA CITY 785-5511 USEOURHEVOLVINQCHARGEPLAN, „^«.„.,,..Bn CUSTOM CHARGE PLAN, LAYAWAY OR YOUR FAVORITE BMIK CARD I I i I

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