Deano’s No Bozo
by Steve Waine
Planet Northwest, 1993

 

Clowns are supposed to make you feel happy, not inadequate. But it’s not Deano’s fault that he knows four or five languages and several hundred magic tricks, and that he sky-dives, sings, juggles, plays guiter and piano, is a ventriloquist, unicyclist and ski instructor. Deano the Clown (aka Dean Petrich, 44, of Freeland, Whidbey Island) has been performing at birthday parties, schools, fairs, senior centers and company picnics since 1973. “After this many years, I know exactly what appeals to which age,” Petrich said. “When I fall off a ladder, 4-year-olds laugh. When I ride my unicycle, 9-year-olds laugh.” The graduate of Lakeside School and Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, is a self-taught showman. He got his start in fourth grade, “the age when girls like horses and boys like magic.” He studied a library book called Magic Made Easy by Larry Kettelkamp, then put on a show for 60 people. Petrich will take his repertoire of gags, stunts and tricks to Russia in September. Naturally, he will do the show in Russian. Having enetertained thousands of children over the past two decades, what insight would Deano the Clown offer parents? “Trust your kids. Don’t overprotect them. They’ll turn out all right.”