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1959: KTLA-TV Aired the First Franchised 'Bozo the Clown' Show
January 5, 2019  | By David Bianculli  | 2 comments
 
Until Ronald McDonald came along, the most famous clowns on TV — not counting politicians — were Clarabell from Howdy Doody and good old Bozo, a Capitol Records character "franchised" to local TV markets by entrepreneur Larry Harmon (left), with most stations providing their own hosts (the same trick was employed, beginning at about the same time in the fifties, by Romper Room).

It was on this day in 1959 that KTLA-TV in Los Angeles launched the first of those local Bozo the Clown shows, with Vance Colvig Jr., son of Pinto Colvig, who had supplied the voice of Bozo for Capitol Records (and, it's worth noting, for the Walt Disney character, Goofy).

The most famous Bozo, undoubtedly, was Washington D.C.'s Willard Scott, who took his clowning around to the Today show.

At one point in the sixties, there were approximately 250 local Bozos starring in children's TV shows around the world, and though the craze had peaked and flattened, the Bozo the Clown character certainly made his mark. No one insults anybody else, after all, by saying "You Ronald!" or "You Clarabell!"

—Excerpted (in part) from Dictionary of Teleliteracy: Television's 500 Biggest Hits, Misses and Events

 
 
 
 
 
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2 Comments
 
 
Zeke
Peaked, and flattened.... leaving behind a generation of clown phobics...primed for Stephen King!
Jan 5, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
My dad (Henry Vajcner) produced Bozo The Clown from 1959 to 1962 for KTLA. This was a dream come true for a shy elementary shool student. I was happily introduced to Bozo (my hero) on the set and I loved him instantly. Because of our "close relationship" (a one handshake love affair for a seven year old), he showed his goodwill by giving me lots of "Good and Plenty" candy and "Bazooka" bubble gum. As a result, I became very popular in school and passed on the goodwill like Bozo did to me. Now that I think of it, 60 years later, I should have asked Mr. Colvig to give me a "chewy graph" from the bubblegum to show you in a pic format that he was the real Bozo! A good one at that!
Oct 14, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
 
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