By Melani Carty:
This is the story of a magical Christmas present given to me by a very kind person I have never met: Mr. Roger Schutt. It all began last autumn, when a number of Pepito-related items were being sold on eBay. One of the eBay lots contained a number of old photos of Pepito and an antique ?trick violin? that I suspected may be the older sister to the famous ?trick cello? that Pepito built for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz?s vaudeville act in 1950.
Roger Schutt was the person who won the auction for the trick violin and some accompanying photos. Over the next few weeks, we became good penpals, writing back and forth about my research into the life and times of Pepito the Spanish Clown. Roger Schutt did not know Pepito personally, but, being a professional clown himself (see photos below), Roger could see with his discerning eye for details, that Pepito was a talented clown indeed. The photos showed that Pepito had a firm grasp of costuming, props, makeup, and facial expressions. In the photo above, Pepito is wearing a prosthetic nose of his own design that, just by its shape and uptilt, gives you everything you need to know about his character, ?The Maestro?: he is snooty and untalented, but thinks quite highly of himself and his abilities as a musician.
The next part of the story is the real surprise. After our enthusiastic correspondence, and perusing my PepitoAndJoanne.com website, Roger decided to ship the violin and photos to my house as a special Christmas gift!
I must say that never, ever have I experienced so much kindness from someone I have never met. The internet is a very magical place indeed, and a wonderful way to become friends with people who live far away but have identical interests.
Below are two pictures of Roger Schutt in costume as Butterbean the Clown. He has a weekday job, but loves his part time work making children happy. He certainly made me happy too! Thank you Roger, thank you for the kindness in your heart and your amazing generosity.
Oh, I almost forgot to say that, now that I have looked at it in my own hands, this violin must be the sister to the famous trick cello, because it too has a trap door on the back and a big rubber band for shooting the bow across the room. If you have forgotten Lucy?s cello routine which was devised by Pepito the Spanish Clown and used in the Lost Pilot and Episode 6 of ?I Love Lucy,? then click below to watch on right now on your computer.
?I Love Lucy? The Lost Pilot
?I Love Lucy? Episode 6
Roger Schutt as ?Butterbean the Clown?