W. McAllister aka Doodles the Clown, Lodge Dramatic No.571
Doodles the clown, real name William McAllister was the chief clown of the Hengler circus in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, and in summer seasons he starred in the Blackpool Tower Circus before Charlie Cairoli.
Doodles was born in 1877 near glasgow where he later was a favourite Auguste for 18yrs with henglers circus. he was a talented wire walker and acrobat but preferred the role of doodles.
One of the circus’ biggest stars – who was only 4ft 10ins high – Doodles the clown, is shown taking part in the circus parade through Blackpool. Doodles, was the lead clown at the Tower for 30 years.
Blackpool Tower Circus is one of the great permanent circus venues and opened in 1894. Even over the war years (WW1 & 2), the circus never missed a season and is still in continuous operation today. Located at the the base of the Tower, the ornate and splendid interior of the circus was designed by the renowned theatre designer Frank Matcham and completed in 1900.
His longevity at Blackpool Tower Circus gave way to different types of badges whereas Fiery Jack's appearances, in partnership with Doodles, were confined to the1930s. This may explain the rarity of the Fiery Jack badge. By the mid 1940s, Fiery Jack worked at Chessington Zoo Circus partnering another well known clown 'Little Billy' (real name: William Alfred Merchant) who was only 42 inches tall.
A great piece of circus memorabilia is showcased here with a vintage souvenir 'Clown' badge from the 1930s portraying Doodles and his 'side kick' Fiery Jack (real name: Fred Zetina). Doodles the Clown entertained at the world famous Blackpool Tower Circus for 29 years, between 1915-1944. Consequently different variations of the Doodles badge exist such as him embracing Blackpool Tower (above), Doodles standing alone in vibrant blue trousers (and in other colour variations) and a Doodles lucky charm horseshoe badge. These badges are still sought after to this day and sell on ebay.
Although Doodles spent most of his working life at Blackpool's Tower Circus, he also performed at other venues such as Zalvas Hippodrome in Scarborough, Hengler's Circus in Glasgow.
Unfortunately Doodles never appeared in the new Kelvin Hall Circus Hengler when it closed, but his memory as a wonderful clown life endures.
He raised money for the Cigarettes for Soldiers fund during the war selling postcards of himself. performed with bobby august elliot from 1915.
He died in his home in Potters Bar Hertfordshire on october 30th in his 70's his ashes were taken and scattered at blackpool tower.
There is not very much information on Doodles, The video up above gives you a 30second clip of 1930's circus.
Compiled by Alan Duthie