The Bozo Chronicles

"Boy, do I love Bozo the Clown" Sentiments shared by all the kids in the 1960s.This character was a hit and his popularity spread throughout the U.S.A. and the rest of the world like wildfire. The story of Bozo the Clown begins in the year 1946 at Capitol Records, a company that was attempting to get into the children's business. An ambitious young man named Alan Livingston was hired and came up with a brilliant plan to have a book accompanied by a record. The book was a "read along" book and its voice were non-other than Bozo the Clown. Needless to say, it was a success. The man behind Bozo the Clown's voice, was Pinto Colvig, a seasoned circus clown with voice over experience for Walt Disney. Demand for "Bozo the Circus" was huge as some in pop-culture would refer to it as "ridonkulous", with over 1 million copies sold and other 15 books made.

Due to success, the demand for Bozo grew, leading to the making of several spin-offs. It was now time to bring Bozo to television, and it was a heck of a show, Bozo on KTTV Los Angeles. Fully clothed in his trademarked suit, red hair, and white face Bozo the Clown's popularity was so much it had Alan Livingston hiring several actors to play Bozo.

Larry Harmon

He was one of the actors but unlike the rest, he had a chip on his shoulder. Acutely aware of the undeniable potential of the character Larry and other investors decide to buy licensing rights to Bozo the Clown. Larry had a special knack for marketing, using this unique talent he brought Bozo TV shows to every big market in the U.S. and the world.

Bozo the World's Most Famous Clown

Larry had renamed Bozo into "Bozo, the World's Most Famous Clown." He also made changes to Bozo's voice, his signature laugh and also the costume to be used. This changes coupled with a franchising strategy would propel the character to new heights. Several TV shows brought out their versions of Bozo with several voices being used. It was sensational.

Bozo: The TV world

From 1965-67, Larry Harmon produced his 30-minute Bozo the Clown's shows dubbed "Bozos Big top" distributed to New York, Boston, L.A, and Washington DC. However, one cannot talk about Bozo without acknowledging the impact of Bob Bell in collaboration with WGN-TV. Bell was in so much demand that tickets to his show stretched over ten years. This demand was unmatched, and Bell would go on to perform until 1984. Bell's departure did little to stop the show as Joey D'Auria replaced him and the show would continue until 1994.

However, WGN decided to leave the children's business and consequently, the Bozo Show was taken to Sunday mornings time slot to suffer a "slow TV show death." Adding to its misery, the Federal Communications Commission in 1997 had decided that broadcast shows would have to air educational shows, and Bozo took the hit. In 2001, the show's production was ended.

There have been a few releases from then especially during the holidays, but the show has never truly rediscovered its former glory.

References:

My Adventures with Bozo the Clown norimuster.com

Biography of Larry Harmon imdb.com

Stand-up Comedy WebPortal supcomedy.com

The Bozo Chronicles: The Origin and History of the Capitol Clown 1946 To 1956 books.google.com