The North East Film Archive is one of a network of regional film archives established to collect, preserve and show film made in, or about the North East of England. Our collections are non-fiction, and date from the early 1900s to the present day, providing a rich record of life in the region over the 20th century. Many of our films are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.
This film is part of Free
B'nai B'rith Dinner for New President, Jewish Friendship Club Visits, Coco the Clown Visit
Behind the greasepaint of an iconic figure in the British circus - Coco the Clown reveals his Jewish roots.
From the collection of:
One of the most famous Augustes in Britain, Coco the Clown shows off his trademark oversize boots and fright wig and poses with Little Billy and the Bertram Mills Circus impresario on the Town Moor in Newcastle. These remarkable pictures also reveal the Jewish Latvian migr behind the greasepaint as Coco is made an honorary member of the Newcastle Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women.
In the tradition of local topical films popular with showmen in the early years of cinema, this wonderful amateur film is a significant portrait of the Jewish community in Newcastle, capturing as many faces as possible on camera. Those recorded include men and women of Newcastle (and Leeds) Friendship Clubs; guests at the smoky Bnai Brith dinner to inaugurate the new President; and those gathered to celebrate a former World War Two Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps recruit, Nicolai Poliakoff, also known as Coco the Clown. The Jewish Friendship Club Movement began in 1950, its aim to provide elderly Jewish men and women (over 60 years of age) with social and recreational centres.