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Sent on Mormon-News: 23Jan01

By Kent Larsen

Walnut Creek Expells 'Flasher the Clown' from Parade

WALNUT CREEK, CALIFORNIA -- A self-described devout Mormon has been expelled from Walnut Creek's annual Walnut Festival Parade after townspeople complained that his 28-year-old act is offensive. Bob Manion has appeared in the parade, and several others, as "Flasher the Clown" since 1973. In his act he opens his coat to reveal a small terrier sticking out of the top of his pants.

"There's nothing perverse going on," says Manion, who is confused by the sudden change. "I'm not being rude, crude or insensitive. I'm just a clown trying to bring laughter to children and the aged." But parade organizers said they were contacted many times by paradegoers and that several even called police after seeing his act.

"The dog was down in his crotch area," said Walnut Creek police Lt. Craig Zamolo. "He was like a flasher and the dog would pop out. People felt it was inappropriate, that it perhaps sent the wrong message to the kids." Parade chairman Robert Menary says Manion is just a victim of changing times, "It's just amazing what this guy does. It was probably OK in the early days, when he did it 28 years ago. But to even be called Flasher the Clown today is too much."

But others think that the Festival has gone too far. "It just sounds a little bit hypersensitive to me," said Clayton City Councilwoman Julie Pierce, who for years has watched Manion perform in her hometown's Fourth of July parade. "We've never heard any response other than giggles." And San Francisco's parade director, Renie Champaign, says she will still let Manion appear there, "I don't know why those people in Walnut Creek are up on their high horses. They've got some kooky people running that parade. It's not like he's showing his genitals."


Flasher the Clown exiled from parade
Walnut Creek CA Contra Costa Times 22Jan01 P2
By Matt Sebastian: Times Staff Writer
Bob Manion's act -- throwing open his coat to reveal a small dog in his pants -- was criticized by some at the Walnut Festival


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