EXPIRED: 05/23/10 – Irv Romig, 90, better known as Ricky the Clown, started clowning for the Frank McIntyre Circus when he was just 5 years old. His family dressed him up as clown and that was that.
His family circus act moved around with traveling circuses but would always settle in Detroit in the off-season. But during the Depression, when getting work was tough, they started their own circus: the Romig and Rooney Circus, and Irv became “Irvie The Circus Buffoon.”
After doing time in World War II, Romig headed for New York and eventually joined Ringling Bros., even appearing in the early 50’s movie of the phenomenon, “The Greatest Show On Earth” by Cecil B. DeMille.
Then in 1953, Romig. eager to start a family, tried his hand at something that required less traveling — Television. He changed his name from Irvie so that kids could easily remember it and called the show became Tip-Top Fun starring Ricky the Clown, sponsored by Tip-Top Bread.
He was so popular he even opened a small amusement park called Rickyland in his hometown in Birmingham, Michigan. But admission was based on the honor system and nobody donated anything. Rickyland closed after only a year.
In the mid-60’s the show was over and Ricky went into retirement. In 1986, he signed with OmniArts in Education, a Detroit-based arts education program that brings live artists and musicians into the public schools to entertain and educate children. And in 2001 Romig was inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.