This little tidbit came to mind when I saw this ad over on Roger Ebert's website the other day:
In case you can't read the small print, this ad is for the Circus Circus Casino in Las Vegas which, they assure us, is "Fun For The Whole Family". But take a look at this clown. For an ad that wishes to impart a Barnum and Bailey's feel, right down to the two classic circus fonts used, they didn't blow much money on the clown. His make-up is very minimal, as is also his costume. He could be a valet at the hotel for all we know. The image itself isn't very sharply photographed, which somehow makes the ad more creepy. But the overriding quality that really seems counter-productive is the choice of the man playing the clown. Is it just me, or does he look like Malcolm McDowell. And not just any Malcolm McDowell, but that Malcolm McDowell.
I suddenly have the fear that, were I to go to this place, that clown would break into my hotel room, bind and gag me, and then kick the living crap out of me whilst crooning "Singing in the Rain".
But maybe I have this all wrong. Maybe this ad is some very subtle dual-programming initiative. A child might see this as simply a clown, nothing more. His or her thoughts may lead plainly to the circus and, therefore, a good fun time. Meanwhile, any adult who has seen A Clockwork Orange will see the poster and pick up on the sense of menace and the darker side of Vegas. "Yes, we have something for adults too", it seems to say, much in keeping with the current slogan "What Happens Here, Stays Here".
I may be reading too much into it, I suppose. But if Mrs. Mosley and I ever go to Vegas, I'm sure as hell deadbolting the door against possible droogie/clown invasions.