I'll never forget the time when I was about 8 years old in Worcester, Frankie dressed me up in a clown outfit and was going to take me around the ring during the afternoon show. The Foreman at the tent entrance stopped us.

He said, "Frankie, where the hell are you going with that kid?"

Frankie said, "I'm taking him around the ring with me."

Forman: "No you're not. He could get killed by those elephants."

I turned around and right behind us were the elephants. I said, "I'm outa here," and ran back to my parents.

  • Al Mason, Jr, Nephew to Frankie

My Uncle Frankie Saluto was short in physical stature, but was still considered "King Of The Midget Clowns" for RBBBC and a very BIG showman. For the most part, too, he was called "The BOSS!"

  • Shirley Weller, Niece to Frankie

End of Frankie's Circus Career

The saddest thing I remember from my days with Frankie and the circus was the last show of the 73 season in Worster, Mass...I didn't know if your Uncle really comprehended he was being let go by Feld, after being told in Chicago, in October. After the Finale music ceased at the last show of 73, performers were heading backstage and audience was leaving, when I looked on the front track, and saw Frankie, in his spangled production costume, with his hands covering his eyes, crying like a baby. Little Jimmy Briscoe and I comforted him, got him up and returned to Clown Alley. So sad. I'll always remember. It broke my heart.

Uncle Frankie was 'forced' out in April of 1973 after administration contacted my mother to 'come and get him', after the final performance in Hershey, PA., as he was refusing to leave. Well into dementia, he assumed he would be just visiting with his sister and returning to 'work'. Never happened. He lived with us in Shippensburg, PA for several months until he became more unruly. The circus made arrangements for him to be placed in an "actors' retirement home" near Sarasota. Soon after, it was necessary for full care nursing in Naples, FL. We visited several times. He smiled & cried as we showed him photo memories. His legacy provides much joy for his many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews and now great grand-nieces and great grand-nephews. The Ringling Bros. Show may be done, but will live on in the hearts and minds of many.

  • Shirley Weller, Niece to Frankie