Tuesday, November 20, 2012

His Satanic Majesty, Milky the Clown!

I don't know how I happened to so casually wander into Dante's Inferno, but here I am, somewhere in the ninth circle of hell, third row in the balcony. It took me a dashed long time to find any clips of Milky, since none of the Detroit kiddie shows I used to watch were taped. Or if they were, the tapes were soon erased to make way for Rita Bell's Prize Movie or George Pierrot's heartstopping travelogues.

Milky is like a fever dream from another dimension, someone who materialized out of pure evil. He wasn't a human being. What was he doing in that pointy-headed white Ku Klux Klan-like garb anyway? A proper clown, not one from the 20th century anyway, would never dress that way. You see this sort of costume in very bad productions of Pagliacci: by the last scene the homicidal clown stands there dripping with gore, ready to run on his dagger as the curtain comes down. 


Were these shows really any good? Who knows, they were just there, just "on", so we watched them. Probably Soupy Sales, with his good-natured hound-dog looks and wacky stunts, was the best of them. The rest of the hosts were, like the kid's show personalities on SCTV, just people from around the station who had been pressed into service.

Captain Jolly was anything but jolly - he was bizarre. He mostly showed old Popeye cartoons from the 1930s, gave bad puppet shows and narrated silent movies from the 1920s, Little Rascals they were called - actually gave a running commentary, most of it inane. "Oh look, look! Look, there's little Farina falling into a barrel of flour! And now he's white, see? He's white! Oh, ho-ho-ho-ho!"

Then there was Poopdeck Paul, a faux sea captain who referred to us all as "maties" and had a weekly limbo contest where you could win fabulous prizes. I'm not sure if that was the one where you got to reach inside a jar full of pennies. Maybe that was Milky's Party Time with "Stars of the Future", a forerunner of America's Got Talent. 

Jingles was pretty cool - a court jester, which was sort of original, though I have to say, the costume was a bit kinky, the kind that doesn't seem to have a zipper in it anywhere so it must be hard to go to the bathroom.

Why do I want to go back there? For I do, sometimes. I've made no secret of the fact that I had a bad childhood, with a few exceptions. I lived in my head most of the time and dealt very poorly with reality, an affliction I bear to this day. But I hang on to these grainy black-and-white ghost-images, my neighborhood in Chatham, the elm trees, the cicadas buzzing, what the air smelled like. I want to start over. And do things differently, this time?

Yes. Practically everything.

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I hate clowns

I hate clowns, I hate clowns,  I truly hate clowns,
They always depress me and drag my soul down.
When somebody puts on such strange things to wear,
The human condition is truly laid bare.
I ask, what's the point of all this tom-foolery?
It triggers in me a deep incredulity.
Now here is a clown who caused me great dread.
In childhood this creep rented space in my head.
His name was Milky, which was awfully scary,
Just clowning and whoring for Twin Pines, the dairy.
Before John Wayne Gacy came ambling along,
There was this guy here. And he was just wrong.
He wore stars and stripes for some unknown reason,
Though flag mutilation's a high form of treason.
Back when I lived near old Detroit town,
I saw a strange act performed by a clown.
When he mounted his friend, to my child's mind, 
of course he
Was riding on Bozo, just playing at horsey.
When I saw this old photo of black-and-white clowns,
I climbed on a bridge and just threw myself down.
There's Milky and Bozo, the two that were lovers,
Jingles, and Whatsis - who cares, they're all mothers.
This clown guy I mentioned, and those of his ilk
Did a lot of hard-selling by sucking down milk.
In Milky the dairy thought they would invest - right?
Then found out that he was a flaming transvestite.

Twin Pines weren't aware that they'd started a fashion.
Soon clowns 'round the world drank their milk with a passion.
And poor Pagliaccio was filled with a rage,
So he drank milk, then  killed his poor wife right on-stage.

With hijinks like this, some dark force was released.
The ringmasters shot themselves: all were deceased.
Clowns threw nasty fits, banged their heads on the wall:
These Komedy Kapers weren't funny at all.
If this gets much weirder, I'm going to be sick.
I've never laughed once when a clown did his trick.
I can't speak for you, but I think this is rude -
I never knew clowns were this nasty and lewd.
Milky is dust now, and Bozo is dead.
Their romance still haunts me and lurks in my head.
I hate clowns, I hate them, I'll never be free,
They never will get one guffaw out of me.