DAVIE (CBSMiami) — When Richard Levine learned he had just inherited 13,000 clown items from his father-in-law, it didn’t exactly turn his frown upside down.
The colorful collection includes clown dolls, some happy and some sad, tiny clown figurines and disturbing clown puppets.
Also among the bonanza of big-top items: clown photographs, clown books and clown costumes.
Some items are worth a lot of money, while others are worth simply a chuckle.
Jack “Clown Jackey” Kline, Levine’s 81-year-old father-in-law, died in 2010 after spending decades amassing the cache of clown collectibles.
Levine is amazed at all the memorabilia.
“When I start to unpack these, I think to myself, ‘Dad, what were you thinking?’ I thought I’ve seen everything until I open up the next box. It’s just amazing to me,” Levine said.
Kline, who often dressed up as a clown and visited children hospitals, later opened a Winter Haven storefront museum called Clown Rushmore.
Earlier this year, Levine took six round trip trips to Central Florida in a 30-foot truck to bring down his inherited heap of Bozos. He now keeps the clown collection in a Davie warehouse bay.
Levine plans to sell off duplicate clowns from the collection to raise money to resurrect Clown Rushmore, this time in South Florida.
He also plans to hand out hundreds of stuffed Clown Jackey dolls to challenged children.
Levine, who runs the same Waterboy Sprinklers business his father-in-law started in the 1970s, said he barely has had the time to go through all of the items.
He has nothing but love for the task at-hand, however.
“Once you put this paint on your face and when you get it in your mouth, you get it in your blood and now you’re a clown forever,” Levine said.
“I just love kids and when they smile, it’s worth a million bucks to me. There’s nothing better. If I can just do that for a living and go play with kids all over the place, it would just be a dream,” Levine said.
The owner of all this clown stuff isn’t clowning around: he’s going to Clown College, to become “Clown Richey”. It will allow him to carry on the family tradition of making children smile.
If you are interested in any of the items, contact Levine at firstname.lastname@example.org.