Evil Clown of Middletown
Coordinates: The Evil Clown of Middletown is a large outdoor sign on northbound New Jersey Route 35 in Middletown Township, New Jersey, advertising a Spirits Liquor Store. Much of the clown's notoriety stems from its sinister-looking face, which might be described as bearing a vaguely-amused sideways scowl.
It was first constructed in 1956 by Joseph Azzolina’s Food Circus grocery store as a road-side advertisement. In its early years it rotated continuously by electric motor, a then-common ad gimmick that went out of style (or economic practicality) by the mid-1970s or so. The clown has long since been fixed in place. One hand of the figure originally held a sort of fool's scepter tipped with a pom-pom or ball; the rod at one point was painted out, with the "ball" now treated as a kind of badge or sign-within-a-sign.
The clown's first starring role was in the opening sequence of the Philip Botti movie Middletown (1996). The movie won the New York Underground Film Festival Choice award. It has been featured in the local New Jersey magazine Weird NJ, as well as on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in a Kevin Smith short. The Evil Clown appears in the first few minutes of Smith's 2006 film Clerks II. It is also known by some as "The Scary Liquor Clown".
- Weird NJ: Calico, the "evil clown" of Middletown, Asbury Park Press, November 16, 2014
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