88 Friday, October 4, 1985
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Ringling Brothers' Scott
Linker has a special
affinity for the Jewish
to The Jewish 000,1
riginally Scott Linker
took up sign language to help him-
self with his pantomime. A student
of visual humor, Linker hoped the
expressiveness associated with sign-
ing would help in his career as night
It didn't work out that way.
Linker never cracked the New York
comedy circuit, and he eventually
began getting paid for being the
clown he had always been. He forgot
stand-up comedy, but not signing.
By using the "langtage of the
hands," Linker has been performing
mitzvot across the country by
entertaining hearing impaired
adults and children at every oppor-
Originally from Louisville, Ky.,
Linker was raised- in a Conservative
Jewish home- by, parents Hoirard and
Bernice Linker.. He now calls his
Jewishness "un-Orthodox." While his
occupation may keep him from
attending services regularly, he is
active in his efforts to entertain the
Jewish hearing impaired across the
Now in his fifth year with "The
Greatest Show on Earth," Linker is
on the road 46 to 48 weeks a year.
He will delight more than six rail-
lion people this year in some of the
country's largest arenas. But during
his hectic tour, Linker and a team of
six other clowns will also find the
time to entertain hearing impaired
individuals through free local per-
tween the jokes which dotted his
interview. "The circus and clowns
can reach these people; TV and radio
The deaf have a longer attention
span and make a better audience for
a pantomimist, he added. "It's only
natural for a performer to entertain
for an audience," he said, downplay-
ing his work with the handicapped.
"And I think the deaf are one of the
Linker travels so much with the
circus he says he has no home. "Bas-
ically I am a Detroit resident this
week, somewhei re else next week,"
he said. "I think the reason the
traveling never gets to me is because
we are welcomed in all 80 cities we
play," he explained. He added that
he hoped to be "clowning" for a
number of years more.
Asked how old he is, Linker, al-
ways the 'clown, replied: "I cut my
arm anyounted 31 rings."
Des ite his three decades arid a
it is difficult to determine his
formances, sometimes held at Jewish hearing impaired programs spon- year,
real age. - Linker is able to hide' his
Community Centers or synagogues sored by Jewish agencies so that as age — and identity --- under
with programs for the deaf.
large a Jewish deaf audience as
and an orange- Harpo
Yesterday, the clowns performed possible can be reached in the cities greasepaint
at. the Detroit Day School for the in which the circus performs.
Deaf, delighting the students with
"I Wok my Jewish education dark and handsome."
their pantomime, greasepaint and largely for granted until I got older,"
Dressed as a mismatched usher,
their ability to sign.
Linker recalled during an interview Linker warms up the circus crowds
Linker said that he regularly late last week. "As time has gone by
roaming the seats prior to the
furnishes Ringling Bros. and Bar- I realized how important our heri- by
Once the show begins, the
num & Bailey scheduling personnel tage is."
Linker leads a thunderous
with names and phone numbers of
Last year Linker and his troupe, charge of 21 elephants around the
performed at synagogues and Jewish arena.
Community Centers in New York,
Besides running with the
Chicago and Los Angeles. This year pachyderms and playing with the
e one-hour variety show that fee- audience, Linker is featured in a
1 1 7 1 9 4
res pantomime. and magifor` the slapstick Keystone Cop skit titled
HEBREW JNI I ON COLLEGE
af will play at Cong Shaare "Cherry Berry" which he helped
n6th in St. Louis and at JCCs in write.
WALTER ROTHMAN, L IBR
eveland and Boston.
Watching Linker entertain the
"Five percent of all people are "children of all ages" prior to the
nearing impaired," said Linker be- Continued on Page'70