Category Archives: Joseph Azzolina

>Captain Joseph Azzolina Memorial Bridge in Highlands/Sea Bright Awaiting Governor’s Signature

>Almost forgotten over all the commotion surrounding Thursday night’s pension and health care reform debate down in Trenton, was the fact that pension and health care were not the only business being debated and adopted that day.

Also approved by the Assembly Thursday night was legislation sponsored by Senator Sean T. Kean and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini that designated the bridge which spans the Shrewsbury River, as the “Captain Joseph Azzolina Memorial Bridge”.
All that is left to making the naming of the bridge in honor of Joseph Azzolina is the signature of Governor Christie, which is expected to soon.

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Filed under Gov. Chris Christie, Highlands Bridge, Highlands New Jersey, Joseph Azzolina, Mary Pat Angelini, NJ State Assembly, Sea Bright NJ, Sean T. Kean, shrewsbury river

>Middletown’s Evil Clown Turns 55 Today; Big Birthday Bash Planned

Anyone who has driven up or down Route 35 in Middletown is familiar without the now famous and iconic roadside attraction that has become know as the “Evil” Clown of Middletown.

The clown has been featured in movies like Kevin Smith’s “Clerks 2” and Phillip Botti’s “Middletown“, in books and magazines such as Roadside America and Weird NJ. It even has it’s own Facebook , Myspace and Wikipedia pages.
I am sure that when the Calico (his real name) the Clown was first erected 55 years ago today, it’s owners, the Azzolina family, never thought that it would become a part of pop culture the way it has.
I was told by John Azzolina, the son of Food Circus Super Markets founder Joseph Azzolina, that Calico was designed by Leslie W. Thomas, who was a graphic design artist with Road Ad Sign Company.
Mr. Thomas, who died in 2003 at the age of 90, is famous for creating another more famous Jersey Shore icon, Asbury Park’s famous face “Tillie”, which he painted on the side of the old Palace Amusements building back in 1955.
So, in honor of of “Evil”‘s 55th birthday, the Azzolina family is planning a little birthday bash for their clown with a public gathering for all to attend at 12:00pm today. The party will take place at right in front of Calico, with birthday cake and refreshments being served.
You can read the press release >>> Here

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Filed under 55 th birthday, Calico the Clown, evil clown, Food Circus Super Markets, Joseph Azzolina, Tillie

>Calico; Middletown’s "Evil" Clown For Sale

>It was about a year ago now that I had suggested to John Azzolina, the son of the late Joseph Azzolina Sr., founder of the Foodtown supermarket chain and who represented the northern Monmouth County Bayshore area, first as a State Senator than as a member of the NJ State Assembly, that he and his family should take the opportunity and market the image of Calico the Clown.

Calico, aka “the Evil” Clown of Middletown, has been the mascot for Foodtown’s parent corporation Food Circus, since 1956 and has become something of a pop culture icon over the past dozen years, being featured in magazines (Weird NJ) and movies (Clerks 2).

John had told me at the time, that his brother Joe Jr.,had been thinking about marketing the image of Calico for sometime but just hadn’t gotten around to it. So, after the encouraging words from me, he said that he would talk to his brother and see where he stood with it.

From time to time over the passing months, I’ve been receiving periodic update from John about the marketing of the clown. John said that it was a large undertaking and that it could take a while before all the legal issues of trademarks, licenses and copyrights could be worked out but they were being worked on and sometime soon there would be a whole line of merchandise featuring Calico “the Evil” Clown.
So when I walked into the Spirits Liquor store on Rt 35 in Middletown (the official home of Calico the Clown), just before this past Christmas to buy some libations for the holiday, I smiled to myself when I saw the very first “Evil” Clown t-shirt hanging off one of the wine displays as you enter the store, because I knew that I had played a small part in it being there.

I didn’t purchase one of the shirts at the time because I was to busy trying to get Christmas under wraps, but I kept it in the back of my mind for the next time I made it to the store.

So A few days ago as it turns out, I received an email from John Azzolina with an updated status report on the merchandising efforts, he said that all the hurdles had been overcome and that the marketing of the “evil” clown had begun with the t-shirts with other merchandise and collectibles to come. He was glad to hear that I had already seen the t-shirt and was happy that I could smile about it.

So yesterday when I finally made it back to the liquor store, I had a hard time deciding which “Evil” Clown shirt to buy, now instead of just one shirt design, there were three or four designs and colors to chose from. It was a tough choice but I purchased the original shirt that I saw back in December,a white t-shirt with a large image of the clown on it.

I was told that so far the sale results for the shirts have been great. The t-shirts are currently only available for sale at three locations, which happen to be the Spirit Liquor stores in Middletown, Red Bank and Wanamassa. Soon however, they will be available in the Foodtown supermarket stores all over the state.
If you would like to purchase a shirt the cost is $20 for the white shirt (modeled above), and $15 for the other designs.

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Filed under Calico the Clown, evil clown, Joseph Azzolina, Middletown NJ, Spirits Liquor, WeirdNJ

Renaming Of New Highlands Bridge "Captain Joseph Azzolina Memorial Bridge" Passes Senate Committee

In tribute to one of the leading voices of the Bayshore, Joseph Azzolina, the NJ Senate Transportation Committee approved yesterday the renaming of the new Highlands bridge the “Captain Joseph Azzolina Memorial Bridge”.

Azzolina who passed away on April 15th of this year was a life long resident of the Northern Monmouth Bayshore area and a leader of the community who served in both the NJ State Senate and Assembly from 1965 until 2006.

Mr. Azzolina was a true patriot, he served in the United States Naval Reserve from 1944-1986, Captain (Retired).[1] As a reservist, he returned to active duty in 1983 for a tour of seven months – four of them off the coast of Lebanon – aboard the battleship USS New Jersey. He received three Meritorious Service Medals and two Navy Secretary Commendation Medals in addition to other combat awards and honors. As an Asemblyman, Azzolina led the effort to acquire the retired ship and have it docked in New Jersey waters where it has been transformed to a floating museum.

In an email sent to family and friends, John Azzolina issued the following statement:
” Our family is proud to announce that a Bill renaming Highlands Bridge passes senate committee Today will be named after our father Joe Azzolina. The Senate will vote in the fall to finalize. We are so proud of his accomplishments in life and will never be forgotten!!!!!!!!!!!
The Azzolina Family”
To read more about the renaming of the bridge in honor of Joseph Azzolina you can check out the article on the Bayshore Courier News website.

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Filed under Battleship New Jersey, Bayshore, Highlands Bridge, Joseph Azzolina, Monmouth County