web analytics

Not just any bozo…

bozo the dead clown

Hey, kids! Bozo is dead!

Did y’all see this? Larry Harmon died in his home on the third of this month. He was 83.

He wasn’t Bozo’s creator (that would be Alan Livingston of Capitol Records), nor was he the first Bozo (that would be Pinto Colvig, the voice for Disney’s Goofy), but Harmon bought rights to the character in the Fifties and flogged that clown for a zillion bucks. Harmon trained and licensed over 200 Bozos to perform in local cities across the US.

I knew somebody who claimed to know the Nashville Bozo. Said he a pervert. I bet they say that about all the adult men who opt to dress up and play with children for a living. I was told this guy paid $30 grand to become a licensed Bozo.

According to Wikipedia’s list, there wasn’t a Nashville Bozo, so I’ve probably been had. Kids waited years for tickets to go on the program. My big brother was on once, but I don’t even know where. <insert funny anecdote and/or recollection here>

Many local Bozos went on to become local bozos. Weather men. That guy who used to introduced the afternoon movie on TV. Like that.

In 2004, controversy swirled when the International Clown Hall of Fame took down Harmon’s plaque, claiming that he had misrepresented his role in the Bozo legend. Geez. He carried that fool thing for fifty years. Give the man his plaque.

Snopes has some doubts about whether a child ever told Bozo to “cram it” live on-air. However, they did go out live, so I’m sure plenty of unsavory things snuck through. My mother said she saw an episode where some kids sitting in the bleachers got the giggles. When none of them would tell Bozo what was so funny, he asked one of them to whisper it to him while he stuck the microphone by his ear. “Jimmy farted.”

Yeah. Weasel’s back.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 25, 2008, 1:15 pm

Also dead: Randy Pausch. He was that university lecturer with pancreatic cancer. The one that gave the “last lecture” that made him a YouTube celebrity.

I confess I’ve been keeping a morbid eye on his web site. Pancreatic cancer is what got my mother.

He made it longer than expected, anyway.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 25, 2008, 1:37 pm

Well! Can’t have too much dead clown, I suppose…

Comment from doubleplusundead
Time: July 25, 2008, 1:39 pm

alexthechick would agree.

Comment from glenster
Time: July 25, 2008, 1:54 pm

FWIW, Willard Scott was the Washington DC area Bozo, at least in the early 60s. I vaguely remember seeing him at an appearance the Odenton, MD McDonalds in 1965 or so.

My brush with fame….

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 25, 2008, 1:55 pm

Spam King dies in murder/suicide. Spotted at HotAir. Sorry about his wife and kid and all, but DIE, SPAMMER, DIE!!!!

I’m getting a *huge* uptick in comment spam lately.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: July 25, 2008, 2:02 pm

Hmm. I remember watching Red Skelton’s final recorded performance before he died, where he closed out with a story about a Doctor, a Lawyer, a Politician and a Clown, who all died and met at the pearl gates. St Peter came forward to welcome them when the Politician demanded to enter first, stating that he had devoted his life to bringing people together in peace and prosperity. The Doctor objected, saying that he had devoted his life to providing comfort to the sick and dying, and the lawyer claimed that he had devoted his life to redressing injustice for the oppressed and the wronged. St Peter turned to the Clown and said “and what have you done to earn your place at the head of the line?”

“Oh, no”, the clown replied. “I didn’t do anything important. I was just a clown. I just made people laugh.”

And so it was that the Clown was allowed to enter heaven first. Because while people can give understanding, and comfort the sick, and bring justice, laughter restores the soul, and gives us strength for the trials that we face in life.

I was just a kid when I saw that performance, and it never left me.

Red Skelton died later that year.

Comment from Jill
Time: July 25, 2008, 2:32 pm

It’s a bummer Friday in CMU-ville, PA…>>>sigh<<<
Rest in peace, Dr. Pausch.

Comment from Buffoon
Time: July 25, 2008, 3:26 pm

Poor Larry, dead and SWeaseled all in one month…. the horror!

Comment from porknbean
Time: July 25, 2008, 3:49 pm

Clowns skeer the bejeezus out of me. Brrr…

Comment from Gnus
Time: July 25, 2008, 6:20 pm

I lived across the street from a Bozo the Clown for a number of years. Dunno if he was a “real” Bozo, since I don’t see a Knoxville Bozo listed at WPedia. Whatever, he was well suited for that role. A natural, so to speak.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 25, 2008, 6:32 pm

A Knoxville Bozo. The mind reels.

Comment from kishnevi
Time: July 25, 2008, 10:40 pm

The Nashville Bozo who wasn’t reminds me of Kentucky Fried Movie.

Comment from Odinist
Time: July 25, 2008, 11:14 pm

The version of the ‘Bozo No-No’ story I’ve always heard was that the kid said ‘fuck you clown’ and then the TV went black…

/Anecdotal evidence from several family members from Pittsburgh, PA, who claimed to be watching at the time… May or may not be true, as is the case with most ‘family anecdotes’…

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: July 25, 2008, 11:22 pm

I loved Bozo when I was a kid and I loved watching his show. My parents gave me a Bozo Clown doll that had the pull-string in back to make him talk. He did his Bozo laugh and said “That sure tickled me!” I have since learned that my parents kinda regretted giving me Bozo as it seemed that I never got tired of him sayting that.

Comment from Lokki
Time: July 26, 2008, 12:06 am

Cheer UP Weasel! Wikipedia apparently doesnt’ know everything yet.

A quick google of “Nashville Bozo” came up with this site
See Item # 42.


Comment from Muslihoon
Time: July 26, 2008, 12:41 am

Wikipedia apparently doesnt’ know everything yet.

Perfect opportunity to introduce this:

Comment from wendyworn
Time: July 26, 2008, 2:38 am

clowns as the bad guys is just wrong. In fact! I got about three or four chapters into Stephen King’s “It” and I thought the idea of a clown as teh eval was so stupid that I had to stop reading it. Still don’t know how it ends. On an unrelated note, thought Patch kind of sucked.

this is what I mean:

wrong, just wrong

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 26, 2008, 6:44 am

gacy clown

Wrong. Just wrong.

Comment from wendyworn
Time: July 26, 2008, 6:51 am

yeah. The ultimate evil clown. eww.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 26, 2008, 2:20 pm

OMIGOSH, Scubafreak! That was brilliant! MOAR!

Opera didn’t like the player, but that’s okay. I got backup.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: July 27, 2008, 11:22 am

My friend has a record of old time bloopers and there’s one from Bozo. The kid was acting up in some way and Bozo says “That’s a Bozo no-no!” so the kid responds “@#(* off clown!”
It’s pretty hilarious to hear.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 27, 2008, 1:18 pm

If you follow the Snopes link, Christopher, they say that was a studio recreation. As was a lot of that album, I gather.

Snopes: ruining everybody’s fun since USENET days.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: July 27, 2008, 8:43 pm

Yeah, if you trust Snopes. Which I’m a bit skeptical of, everyone thinks they’re the final word… based on? Them being an internet site? They claim to have “debunked” the lemming suicide story, and everyone signed on, but their only case is a claim (unsupported) that Disney chased the Lemmings off the cliff. You know, instead of them scattering in all directions, they all ran at the same time the same direction.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: July 27, 2008, 9:08 pm

If it’s published on the Internettubes, it has to be true.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: July 28, 2008, 1:09 pm

Here ya go, stoatie

(not safe for work)


I was looking for the scene in Critters 2 – The Main Course where the little monsters got into a clowns outfit and were eating him alive, but ran across Scary Movie 2 instead….

Comment from Anonymous
Time: September 11, 2009, 12:04 pm

looking to find or hear that old record where bozo says thats a bozo no no if anyone nows where i can get it or hear it i would apprciate hearing from you


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 11, 2009, 3:26 pm

Follow the Snopes link. If I recall correctly, there may be audio, but it may be a recreation of something that may or may not have actually happened.

Given that Bozo was live, I’m sure all kinds of weird goofs happened. But that one may be apocryphal.

Comment from JAY KOURY
Time: January 16, 2015, 4:06 am

The Bozo thing is true. I’m 55 now, probably happened when I was about 8-9 so maybe 1967ish. I was watching the Bozo show in Detroit. Not sure if the show originated there or not. Little kid says “Fuck you Bozo” then Bozo says “Wooo Nelly” and the cut to a commercial. I remember running across the street and telling my best friend Dave about it. This really did happen

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: January 16, 2015, 4:30 am

Old Post Necromancy!

Comment from A Hart
Time: November 9, 2019, 10:48 pm

Jay Koury is correct!! I too as a kid remember seeing the kid do it! I lived and was from Northern Indiana near the Chicago line where Bozo was filmed!! My brother and I both saw it! Not a lie! I am 63 Now and still recall it.

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)

Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.

<< carry me back to ol' virginny