Posted on 02. Oct, 2012 by Erika Pedroza
Tomorrow’s edition of the Messenger features a story on Carolyn Bassham and her son, Brian, making their debut as Oopsa Dazee and Okee Dokee the clowns.
Brian graciously volunteered to join his mother, filling the void left by his dad Alvin, who passed away this summer. Carolyn and Alvin had clowned for 15 years since the early ’90s.
The couple was recruited to the Wise County Clown Alley by Clara Clay and her husband, Henry, who they knew from Garden Club.
“Well I never thought about clowning in my life, you know,” Carolyn said. “They invited me to come, and I thought, ‘Well, I don’t know’ off and on all through the day. I asked Alvin if he wanted to go, and he said he don’t think he wanted to go. And I thought no, but then at the last I thought, ‘Oh I will. They’re so sweet.’”
Members of the Cowtown Clown Alley out of Fort Worth attended the meeting to help the local clowns get started. Carolyn took to one clown in particular, Cecily Conklin, who later became a clown for the Ringling Brothers Circus.
With the help of the Cowtown Alley, the Basshams were founders of the Wise County Clowns.
“We had it for several years, but Henry and Clara were older people and we had quite a few older people. It gets hard when you’re older,” Carolyn said. “We had some young ones, too. But they went on. They were clowns to help put themselves through college. But they went on and moved away. So it just kind of disbanded. I wish we still had it. I’d like to have a clown alley. But I’m not up to starting one.”
Back then, Carolyn also held a summer clown camp at her home.
“We had a bright-colored Jeep that we fixed up for this,” she said. “We taught them how to put their makeup on, and we came up with costumes and we would to go to The Hills to put on a show. I was just amazed how young people can be with the residents.”
In her second debut, Carolyn hopes she and her son have the opportunity to visit with residents through gospel clowning and religious skits.
“We are just so tickled to get to do this,” she said. “It will be fun.”