Friday, July 11, 2008

Hey Bozo!

Sad news in the clown world today.... It was reported that "Larry Harmon wasn't the original Bozo the Clown, but he was the real one. Harmon, who portrayed the wing-haired clown for more than half a century, died Thursday, July 3rd, of congestive heart failure, said his publicist, Jerry Digney. He was 83.

As an entrepreneur, Harmon licensed the character to others, particularly dozens of television stations around the country. The stations in turn hired actors to be their local Bozos..."

Some fun facts I learned about 'Bozo' from Mr. Harmon's obituary:

1. Pinto Colvig, who provided the voice for Walt Disney's Goofy, was the first Bozo the Clown, a character created by writer-producer Alan W. Livingston for a series of children's records in 1946.

2. Bozo wore size 83AAA shoes.

3. The business — combining animation, licensing of the character and personal appearances — made millions, as Harmon trained more than 200 Bozos over the years to represent him in local markets.

4. The Chicago version of Bozo ran on WGN-TV in Chicago for 40 years and was seen in many other cities after cable television transformed WGN into a superstation.

5. Bozo - portrayed in Chicago for many years by Bob Bell - was so popular that the waiting list for tickets to a TV show eventually stretched to a decade, prompting the station to stop taking reservations for 10 years. On the day in 1990 when WGN started taking reservations again, it took just five hours to book the show for five more years. The phone company reported more than 27 million phone call attempts had been made.

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