November 8, 1906 -- Frank Thomas Saluto was born in Massachusetts
1931 - Joined Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Baily Circus
1936 - Voted "Most Popular Clown" by his peers in the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Baily Circus
1955 - left RBB&B
Between 1955 and 1960 - Joined Clyde Beatty and Cole Bros Circus
1960 - rejoined RBB&B
1974 - retired from RBB&B at the age of 65
July 30, 1982 -- passed away in Sarasota, FL
1991 -- Inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame
Frankie is on the right in the rocking chair, surrounded by a few of his siblings - Rose, Lillian, and Phily, and unknown whose name ends in -gerita.
Frankie furthest left with his father, Tom Saluto, and brother, Georgie.
Circus Blue Books
Frankie Saluto joined Ringling Brothers in 1931, or at least sometime between the publication of the 1930 and 1931 Circus Blue Book releases.
Frankie is not listed as a circus performer.
Frankie is listed as a circus performer for Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey.
Ed Kelty, photographer, takes a picture, RB & B&B, 1938.
Frankie is in the bottom row, furthest right.
4-27-1939 Photo shows Frank Saluto doing a tight rope act on a two inch pipe. Two of his pals cheer him on. Bellevue Hospital, NY.
At the ????
Liberty Lake, Washington
Aug 31, 1941
Listed in the Performers section of the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey 1945 Route Book.
Diamond Jubilee Anniversary
Reproduction of a negative, no description given.
Photo from book, "Pink Lemonade," by Maxwell Frederic Copland published in 1945.
Maxwell Frederic Coplan (February 13, 1912 – July 1, 1985) was an American photographer. His subjects included Bob Dylan, Alfred Hitchcock, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe, as well as many other noted public figures of his time.
4-9-45 CIRCUS KIDS KEEP UP WITH THEIR ABC'S NEW YORK. . . . A COUPLE OF LUCKY KIDS ARE PEPPI,3, AND NITA,9, BORZA. NOT ONLY ARE THEY A PART OF THE CIRCUS BUT THEIR "SCUOLLMARM” IS LOVELY JUANITA ROYAL, STAR AERIALIST. HERE, THE CHILDREN OF CHARLES (CHARLES & ADRIANE), TRAMPOLINEISTS, GET AN ARITHMETIC LESSON FROM PRETTY TEACHER AS MIDGET CLOWN FRANK SALUTO KIBITZES.
New York Yankees Babe Ruth stands with clowns, Frankie Saluto, Charles Bell and cancer victim, Leonard Rods during an American Cancer Society make-a-wish photo shoot on April 17, 1946.
No Date. Eddie Jackson Circus Photos. Not all names known. Back row: Charlie Bell, Paul Jung. Bottom row: Frankie Saluto, Prince Paul, Jimmy Armstrong.
A brilliant performer, favorite of both young and old, Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey's famous Midget Clown, Frankie Suluto, will appear in the Shrine Circus this year.
Suluto is spelled incorrectly on the post card.
Frankie Saluto & Pete
RB - B&B, Philadelphia
May 30, 1946
Listed in The Big Show's Congress of Clowns. From the Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey 1947 Circus Magazine & Program.
ANNE MACE, QUEEN OF THE CIRCUS SERENADE, MAKES AN EYEFUL AS SHE WALKS THROUGH ONE OF THE HALLS OF MADISON SQUARE GARDEN PAST THE ADMIRING GLANCE OF FRANK SALUTO, MIDGET CLOWN OF THE RINGLING BROTHERS AND BARNUM & BAILEY CIRCUS NOW IN NEW YORK CITY.
9/7/53 - TIME FOR COMEDY
Painting by Corinne Bruno
Anita Hutten of aerial ballet and Frankie Saluto King of Midget Clowns of Boston
Jimmy Armstrong & Frankie Saluto
November 16, 1960. Another comparative newcomer will be Frankie Saluto, who measures 3 feet, 7 1/4 inches in height. Although he has been a clown for 27 years, he had been away from Ringling Brothers for five years.
From the 1962 92nd Season Circus Souvenir Magazine and Program. No caption.
Original Description: Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus...I am guessing early 1960's...I see folks like Lou Jacobs, Duane Thorpe, Michael Polakovs, Prince Paul, Glen Sunbury, Frankie Saluto, Paul Jung, Gene Lewis, Freddie Freeman, etc.
Photo in the Circus Souvenir Magazine and Program for at least 92nd season through the 99th season (1962 through 1969) for the Pantomimic Pranksters.
NEW YORK: Cindy, a 32-month old patient at Bellevue Hospital, puts a disbelieving hand to the bulbous nose of clown Frankie Saluto during the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey one-ring circus performance for some 3,000 patients in the hospital’s courtyard 4/16. (Editors:Patients’ last names omitted.)
DEC 19, 1965
Otto Griebling, unknown, Frankie, Coco, and Lou Jacobs.
The book, "Clowns," autographed by some people who knew the subject well...the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus clowns for the year 1967.
From the 1967 97th Season Circus Souvenir Magazine and Program.
Autographed press photo
Autographed press photo
For my Friend Oscar from Big Little Man of of the Circus 1967
Ringling Bros 1968
9-30-1969 -- Minnhaha Park, Minneapolis, MN. Keith Crarey, with Fred Messig, 7 months old 4019 39th Ave. Mpls. is sure letting off steam, as clown Frank Saluto, holding him.
From the "Congress of Clowns" page in the 1969 99th Season Circus Souvenir Magazine and Program.
1970 -- A trailer containing props for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus loomed over the heads of two of the show's clowns. Keith Crary (right), 19, of 3976 S. Taylor Ave., and Frankie Saluto grinned as they awaited a show call. Young Crary is a graduate of the circus clown college at Sarasota, Fla., and has been with Ringling for two years. Crary's father, Perle, is rate traffic manager for the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co., which sponsors the annual Old Milwaukee Days celebration in July. The circus will be in Milwaukee then.
Charlton Heston and James Stewart meet at The Greatest Show on Earth for the first time since filming "The Greatest Show on Earth."
Taken from a page in the 1974 104th Edition Souvenir Program and Magazine. $2.00
Cover of the program for the Third Clown Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Frankie's profile page in the ceremony program.
(1906 - 1982)
Frankie Saluto was short in stature, but quickly became big in clowning circles. He began clowning in 1928 and shortly afterwards joined the Ringling Brothers Circus. He became known as the whiteface dwarf with the large white rabbit. His career also included an interpretation of a miniature Charlie Chaplin and he was a member of the Ringling Giants, a midget baseball team that promoted the circus. Saluto had the distinction of being chosen as the "most popular clown with RBB&B" for which he was awarded a diamond stickpin. Pictured frequently in circus programs as well as appearing in books on circus and clowning, he retired at age 65 after 46 years of clowning.
The Clown Hall of Fame & Research Center, Inc.
Jim Howle print of "Frankie"