Uncle Sam’s Bicentennial Birthday Bash : Toasting Dan Rice!
Dan Rice, the most famous clown you’ve never heard of, is going to turn 200 this year!
You may not have heard of him, but surely, you know his image.
Dan Rice was “most likely” the model for the classic Uncle Sam poster. It’s not 100% proven, but the poster looks a lot like him, and combines his costume and his signature goatee from 60 years before the poster first made the rounds. There’s a great article in the Smithsonian magazine that goes over all of the pertinent details.
The details in that book were more than likely taken from the top book on Rice, Dan Rice: The Most Famous Man You’ve Never Heard Of written by clown and friend David Carlyon. This amazingly detailed biography is a work of eminently readable scholarship, and gives a fascinating look at the John Oliver of 1840’s America. You can pick it up on Amazon here.
In honor of Rice, Carlyon and another friend Trav S.D. (who might be the most referenced other person on this blog) will be hosting a virtual Rice-Centennial this Sunday, January 22 at 2 pm Eastern time. There will be fun facts, exciting talk about the man, and a toast, so bring some virtual champagne! And then on January 25, 2023, (the actual bicentennial) Carlyon will have a guest post on Trav’s blog.
Get all the details (and the zoom link) on Trav’s blog Travalanche.