Saturday, April 25, 2009

Emmett Kelly

The clown persona of Emmett Kelly (1898-1979) was "Weary Willie." When he was in costume, he never cracked a smile. The exception came when he learned of the birth of his daughter Stasia in 1955 - the photograph of him breaking character was seen around the world. A quarter of a century later, his daughter took another look at the old newspaper clipping as she sat in her airline seat waiting to take off to attend her dad's funeral in Florida. "The only time Willie smiled in public, the world smiled with him," she writes. She had just spoken to him on the phone the day before and he told her that moment was one of the happiest in his life. Stasia was grieving quietly when the man who had taken the seat next to her asked if she was okay. She told him that her father had died that day, but the photo she was looking at was taken on the day she was born. She didn't need to explain - he was Frank Beatty, the very man who had taken the photograph!

I heard this story yesterday, when Squire Rushnell was promoting his latest book about coincidences. He calls them "God winks," but we Forteans prefer the term synchronicity.

1 comment:

  1. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting him, Emmett Kelly, Sr. was my father-in-law. I met his daughter Stasia in 1982 (a little less than three years after he passed away) when we were both working in radio together in Atlanta. We were married in 1984 and have two teenagers now; Emmett’s grandsons who I know he would be proud of. Thank you for writing about Emmett and this story has touched thousands of people over the years. When I retell it I still get goodebumps at the syncronicity of it all.


You may add your comments here.