Owensboro native finds success in clown and entertainment business, enjoys making youth smile

January 30, 2022 | 12:10 am

Updated January 29, 2022 | 11:33 am

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Owensboro native Jimmy Wathen spends most of his weekends assuming the identity of Dr. Popper, a talented clown aspiring to make kids smile. Dr. Popper Entertainment specializes in balloon twisting and magic for birthdays, fundraisers, and other celebrations for children of all ages. 

After only a few magic lessons, Wathen entered the profession more than 9 years ago with an open mind and desire to learn. He inherited a magic set from his mentor, and the rest is history. 

“I’m basically self-taught,” Wathen said. “Once I started to learn some magic and could pair it with my balloon animals, I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to go off on my own and start doing birthday parties.'”

Wathen decided to add being a clown to his repertoire 6 months into his efforts. He began with birthdays but has evolved his services to include fundraisers, picnics, festivals, and more. 

“I have an immature bone and a personality that allows me to get along well with kids, so becoming a clown seemed logical,” he said. “I guarantee a good time when I show up to a birthday party, and I can usually make sure the kids have a good time.”

Wathen said Dr. Popper began as a hobby and something to stay busy with during his retirement, but it’s slowly evolved into a job. He also transforms himself into Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny for various functions.

With three daughters and 11 grandchildren, Wathen isn’t short on guinea pigs for his tricks and performances. He said he’s constantly making new balloon creations and practicing new magic tricks on them. 

Wathen will also provide balloon decorations and arches for weddings, showers, and other celebrations. For more information or to book an event with Wathen, visit his Facebook here

“The kids keep me doing this,” he said. “When I go to a place, it’s the kids that I want to make happy. It’s a good feeling to do a kid’s birthday party and then see them somewhere two years later, and they remember me.”

January 30, 2022 | 12:10 am

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