The Look, 1959

Clockwise from top left: Jeffrey Madison, Buddy Vanderhoop, Elmer Vanderhoop, Ronald Francis, Carla Giles (Cuch), Gloria Francis, Kathy Madison, Juanita Cook, Adriana Giles (Ignacio), Janice Cook (Baird), Erick Vanderhoop, Laurie Perry, and Otto Griebling.
Vineyard Gazette Archives

Do kids still dress to the nines for a field trip to the circus? Probably not, but this wasn’t just any regular trip. The Gay Head schoolchildren got a personal audience with Otto Griebling – one of the most famous clowns in the world back when there were famous clowns. Griebling was inducted into not one, but two international halls of fame, and was one of only four to be named a “Master Clown” by Irvin Field, the head of Ringling Bros. and the person credited with discovering Paul Anka. So you know Griebling was good. But enough about the man in the funny costume – he looks like a tramp compared with those stylish kids. Take Elmer Vanderhoop (top, second from right), who stole the show in a sports jacket, bolo tie, and feathered fedora. Erick Vanderhoop (bottom, second from left) won flair points for his plaid bow tie. And while most of the girls kept it simple with Mary Jane’s or saddle shoes, bobby socks, and high-waisted skirts or dresses, Laurie Perry (bottom, left) and Kathy Madison (bottom, third from right) took it to the next level with Chanel-inspired double-breasted jackets. The double-breasted statute in back could have used one of those. Pants, too.