Here is the letter that started my clown career. M.B. Kellner was the "Matthew" in "George Matthew's Great London Circus," the owner's son.
Let's dig a little deeper into the specifics of this offer.
A bunk in the band bus. The band bus was formerly a school bus, but the front part with the engine and driver's seat had been cut off and a fifth-wheel doohickey attached. A partition in the middle of the bus divided it into two halves. The front part housed the clowns; the back part housed the props and rigging crew. Oh! There was also a teeny tiny part at the very back for the prop boss (and his girlfriend).
There were six bunks in the clown half, three on each side. Well, I can't in all honesty call the bottom bunks "bunks," because they were the floor. I shared the bus with the other three clowns, all men. Thank God they were decent men!
I got to eat in the cookhouse. This post has all the details about the cookhouse and Lee, the cook. I liked Lee a lot, but he was not a gourmet cook. Then again, we weren't exactly gourmets.
From the letter, it kinda sounds like I had to pay $50 a week for room and board, but no; that was my weekly salary. And, if I stayed until the end of the season, I got an extra $25 a week. So, I really got $75 a week, with $25 of that withheld until the end of the season. I also got an extra $10 a week for loading quarter poles during tear down, and I got 10 cents for every Hershey bar that I sold during intermission. (Yes, I sold my pure clown soul for filthy lucre. Look, when you're getting the kind of chump change I was getting, you caved.) I always got paid, but there were a few weeks when it was a near thing. At the end of the season, I got my weekly pay and my bonus -- all in singles. That wasn't so bad; there were guys that got paid in quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies! But -- we got paid.
This post has the details on my first days and orientation process. A good time was had by all!