Pepito the Spanish Clown and His First “Lion” Act (1927)

Saturday, January 1, 1927

When the estate of Joanne Perez, widow of Pepito the Spanish Clown, was liquidated in stages from 2004 through 2008, many items from their home and their personal memorabilia were auctioned off, or sold on Ebay.  One of the lucky bidders was Todd Hoover, an art and photography collector.  Although he has no personal ties to Pepito, he was intrigued by the fascinating images from the vaudeville era, and bought several photos.  Recently he was so kind to sell most of his Pepito pictures, which have rejoined the rest of the archive here.  

The image above is a unique photo of Pepito with his first “lion.”  This lion-tamer routine appears briefly in the 1928 film clip from the ballyhoo (pre-show) at the premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s motion picture, “The Circus” at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.  

In 1931, Pepito mentioned in an interview that he owned four real lions at home in Hollywood, which he rented out for film work.

Thank you to Mr. Hoover for safeguarding this piece of entertainment history.

Mr. Todd Hoover has carefully framed this photo in a charming tramp-art frame, and displays it in his place of business. 

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