Ask DJ Lyons: Bozo the Clown Memory

No Clowning Around: BOZO THE CLOWN "The Man Behind The Nose" Celebration

Bozo the Clown from [IMG][/IMG]
Bozo the Clown from [IMG][/IMG] | Source

Bozo the Clown Memory

Does anybody remember Bozo the Clown?

I had an encounter with Bozo the Clown back when I was in the sixth grade. My Girl Scout troupe of fourth, fifth, and sixth graders decided to attend the taping of a Bozo the Clown show located in the city where I grew up: Kingsport, Tennessee. Well, I will qualify that to say I lived in Kingsport from fourth through twelfth grade. Before that, I lived in Rochester, New York.

We arrived in time for the show. If I recall correctly, it probably aired from 4:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon. Perhaps it was later. All the kids in our elementary school seemed to know about this based on the comments we received the next day. My elementary school was called Dickson Elementary School that was part of the Kingsport City School district in Tennessee.

At some point during the show, the camera man panned his camera around on all of our faces. Then, as fate or chance or bad luck would have it, the camera landed again on me. That meant that I had the dubious honor to get out of my seat in the bleachers and join Bozo the Clown front and center. They put this scratchy navy blue wool jacket around me. As I recall, it had a rather unpleasant smell to it. I don't think I got any prizes. During this time, Bozo the Clown thought he would be funny and put me in a headlock. This was awkward and uncomfortable. For one thing, I was wearing my Girl Scout uniform which was a dress. I also wore braises and was having a rather "bad hair" year. I must have looked ridiculous. I know I felt humiliated. I don't believe I was looked on with envy by any of my fellow Girl Scouts. They probably all felt relieved that it wasn't them.

The next day when I returned to school, my boyfriend and many of the other kids in our school made various comments. My boyfriend was kind about it. The other kids were less-than-kind. I did my best to laugh it all off.

I never have been overly excited about clowns. Perhaps this is part of the reason why.

What made me recall this memory is the following:

As my husband and I were driving home from eating out at a restaurant, we started discussing a CSI show we had seen recently that featured a clown as the featured criminal. I all of a sudden recalled that day back when I was in the sixth grade and related that story to my husband.

In turn, he told me an anecdote that he heard from his first wife. This is how I recall his story:

"My ex-wife, when she was a little girl, loved watching the Bozo the Clown show. One day, this one little girl was called up front to join Bozo the Clown. As he did his routine with the little girl, she finally got fed up. She apparently said a little more harshly than I will write, “STUFF IT, Clown! You’re not funny anymore!” The first word of her quote was a lot less polite sounding than what I wrote – not that what I wrote is polite."

I laughed when he told me that story. I also was a bit envious. She at least had the courage to stand up to him. I don't think she did it in a great way. But I wondered how I could have stood up to him in a more polite yet firm way. Any ideas? Short of refusing to be his guinea pig, what could I have done?

Does anybody else have a Bozo the Clown or some other kind of clown story to share? Also, what are your suggestions of how I could have avoided him putting me in a headlock? If you have any ideas or your own clown memories to relate, please share in the comment section at the bottom of his hub.

Additional thoughts on Clowns

 Does anybody share my views of being a little unnerved when you see a clown face. I don't recall feeling this way when I attended circus shows years ago. I don't know whether it stemmed from that fateful day I was selected to be Bozo the Clown's "victim." It was quite unsettling to have this benign-looking clown grab me and kind of collar me. It was humilating to have my dubious "sophisticated" image tampered with in front of the current viewing office and for the televisoin office.

I remember in my early 20's going to the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" for the first time. If I remember correctly, I went to see it on Halloween night. It was unnerving to see all these people in disguise wandering around acting in ways they would not act normally. It made me wonder if they let the clown-face or the disguise as an excuse to commit crimes or play pranks on others. I loved the musical but felt intimidated by some of the people in the audience. Then when I left the theater to go to my home, I ran into all kinds of other people in disguise. I lived in St. Louis, Missouri, at the time. I recall feeling rather frightened.

Since then, I can recall being spooked by the Chucky doll. Plus, on CSI and other similar shows, every now and then, the bank robber or kidnapper will be somebody wearing a mask or clown get-up.

So all in all, I am not that comfortable being around people who dress up like clowns.

How about you? How do you feel about clowns? Like them? Love them? Scared of them? Bored by them? Want to be like them? Etc. I would love to hear your viewpoints.

Bozo the Clown products

The Man Behind the Nose: Assassins, Astronauts, Cannibals, and Other Stupendous Tales
The Man Behind the Nose: Assassins, Astronauts, Cannibals, and Other Stupendous Tales

Did you hear the one about when Bozo the Clown ran for President and two assassination attempts were made on his life?

How about the time Bozo flew into the perilous jungles of New Guinea to see if he could not just survive but actually bond with dangerous cannibal tribes?

Well then, you must know about the time his size 83 AAA shoes saved him from being swallowed whole by a giant, murderous python in Thailand, right?

Then I guess you might not know as much as you think about the world's most famous clown. Sure, you know the giant shoes, the red bulbous nose, the big ruby smile, and the twin shocks of red yak-hair bursting from the sides of his head. And obviously you know the many clowns inspired by him, from Ronald McDonald to Krusty the Clown.

So perhaps it's time you learned about Bozo, and the man behind the nose. Because the wild, inspirational stories in this book are all true. As real as the nose on your face.

One day, Larry Harmon, a World War II private harboring dreams of becoming a doctor, met the most famous entertainer of the time, Al Jolson. After seeing the young man on stage, Jolson told him he shouldconsider a career change.

"Being a doctor of medicine is honorable," Jolson advised. "But you'll touch so many more lives as a doctor of laughter!"

A decade later, Jolson's prophecy came true when Larry Harmon, trying to make it as an actor in Hollywood, auditioned to portray a character named Bozo the Capitol Clown.

The character spoke so much to Larry that he simply became it—overnight. He soon turned Bozo into a cultural icon, creating one of the biggest children's television franchises in the world. But that was only the beginning.

In this unputdownable book, which Harmon completed just before his death at age eighty-three, are far more incredible stories of astronauts, cannibals, celebrities, assassins, and deep-sea divers—all encountered in full Bozo regalia, and with photos to prove it.

Not only is Harmon's life by turns incredible and hilarious, it's also an inspirational testament to the power of one man's positive attitude, dedication, and work ethic—and how he changed the world.

Bozo: The World's Most Famous Clown, Vol. 1
Bozo: The World's Most Famous Clown, Vol. 1

Bozo is the World s Most Famous Clown! The Bozo the Clown show ran for 47 years on TV, making it one of the longest running shows ever! 30 live-action ½ hour full color episodes. Each features a 5-minute cartoon! Contains a special interview with Larry Bozo the Clown Harmon. Digitally re-mastered and transferred from Larry Harmon s original film masters.

Bozo Collection 2
Bozo Collection 2

Studio: Infinity Resources Inc Release Date: 11/20/2007

The Original 46" Bozo 3-D Bop Bag
The Original 46" Bozo 3-D Bop Bag

* 46" Tall Bop Bag

* Knock him down and he bounces back up

* Sand Filled Base

* Squeaky Nose

* Durable Vinyl

Bozo the Clown Rocket USA 7 Inch Bozo Bop Bag
Bozo the Clown Rocket USA 7 Inch Bozo Bop Bag

* BozoTM is also available as a 7" Finger BopTM with all if the same great BozoTM characteristics exce

* This 7" BozoTM makes a great gift and office fun!

30" Bozo the Clown Ventriloquist Doll with Tote Bag and Instruction Booklet
30" Bozo the Clown Ventriloquist Doll with Tote Bag and Instruction Booklet

* Approximately 30" tall.

* Vinyl head and hands.

* Painted eyes and mouth.

* Molded hair.

* Carrying Case included

Bozo The Clown Inflatable Boppers by Rocket USA
Bozo The Clown Inflatable Boppers by Rocket USA

* Punch someone in the face without getting arrested (no guarantee that you will not get arrested though)!

* These inflatable, one-size-fits-all novelty Bozo Boppers are a fun way to bop and play.

* They're easy to inflate and consist of durable plastic that can withstand your best bop!

* Try them with our Bozo Bop Bags for double the fun!

* Ages 6 & up.

Child's Toddler Bozo the Clown Halloween Costume (1-2T)
Child's Toddler Bozo the Clown Halloween Costume (1-2T)

* Makes a great Halloween costume

* Costume comes with a ruffled shirt with pom-poms

* Also includes matching pants and wig

* Shoes are not included

* Officially licensed Bozo The Clown costume


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Comments 7 comments

brycewestervelt profile image

brycewestervelt 5 years ago from Florida, USA

I always dreamed of being on the "Grand Prize Game" and getting my "Photogiraffic Pimento of my time on the Bozo Show"

Ask_DJ_Lyons profile image

Ask_DJ_Lyons 5 years ago from Mosheim, Tennessee Author

Did you ever get to go on the show at all? Given that I was a "sophisticated" sixth grader - Ha! - I found it quite embarrassing. Even so, the kid in me enjoyed it.

esatchel profile image

esatchel 5 years ago from Kentucky

I grew up with the Chicago Bozo. I loved Loved Loved loved the Bozo show. It came on at lunch time, so I associate it with grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup or peanut butter sandwiches. Also with windmill cookies - that was the standard after lunch treat. Happy days, but by the time my tickets to attend the show came, I was too old and no longer interested (probably around 6th grade, like you). My babysitters little grandchildren got the tickets and I'm sure had a magical time. Ann

Ask_DJ_Lyons profile image

Ask_DJ_Lyons 5 years ago from Mosheim, Tennessee Author

Yes, I probably would have been really excited to be on this show if I had been younger. In sixth grade, I was too conscious of my hard-won status. Too bad we all grow up so soon! Smile!

trusouldj profile image

trusouldj 5 years ago from Indiana

Chicago Bozo. But when I heard about the 10 year waiting list, I figured I'd never make it on. Now i wonder about the kids who were still waiting when the show was cancelled. Most of all, I wish that our Bozo was available on DVD.

Ask_DJ_Lyons profile image

Ask_DJ_Lyons 5 years ago from Mosheim, Tennessee Author

That's amazing, TruSoulDJ - a ten-year waiting list. That's hard for me to imagine. Too bad you didn't get on like you desired. That also would have been really sad for the kids on the list who were due to get on and found out the show was cancelled. That is sad!

WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

Before we had a TV, I had Bozo the clown books with accompanying 45rpm records. That is how I learned to read.

I went to Ringling School of Art in Sarasota and worked at the Circus hall of fame part time restoring circus wagons. I knew several clowns. The most famous was "Alfredo" from Italy. He was wonderful with kids, but between shows he was a real SOB. I said, "Alfredo? I thought clowns were supposed to be nice."

He said, "F*** you, A**hole!"

It was weird to hear the happy face clown say that!

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