Kansas 105

Today’s Trivia (May 16)

The world knew him as "Weary Willie," a sad-faced hobo in tattered clothes and a worn hat.

Now, more than three decades after this Kansan’s death, Emmett Kelly is still considered to be one of the greatest clowns ever.

Weary Willie's trademark — seen in movies and on television for decades — was a scene in which he takes a broom and tries to sweep away the light of a spotlight.

Wistful and lovable, Weary Willie was a gentle reflection of Emmett Kelly.

He took a correspondence course in cartooning and in 1917, at the age of 19, he headed to Kansas City, Mo., where he did odd jobs: painting signs and working on farms, at an oil refinery and in a carnival. He also worked as a cartoonist in a Kansas City silent film company.

By the 1920s, he had joined Howe's Great London Circus and became a trapeze artist. In the 1930s circuses were having a hard time surviving. That's when Kelly created the persona of Weary Willie. His character debuted in the Gertram Mills Circus.

Kelly traveled the world with other circuses entertaining people from all walks of life.

In 1942, he joined the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and became famous for his routines — stringing up laundry on the acrobatic wire and dusting off the animals.

Question: What was Emmett Kelly’s hometown? And, what classic movie did he appear in?

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Answer to Sunday’s question: Joseph Kesselring taught at Bethel College in North Newton. The house that may have inspired “Arsenic and Old Lace” is Goerz House.

Check Kansas.com on Tuesday for the answer to today’s question.