It was originally constructed by Joseph Azzolina’s Food Circus grocery store in 1956 to advertise his store. In its early years it continuously rotated by electric motors, a then-common form of advertising that for the most part went out of style by the 1970s. The clown has long since been fixed in place.
The clown’s first starring role was in 1996, during the opening sequence of the Philip Botti movie Middletown. The movie won the New York Underground Film FestivalChoice award. The clown is well-known because it is unusually scary-looking. 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”. The clown is about 30ft tall. Tourists come from all over to take pictures with it.