Friday, July 4, 2008
Don't be a Bozo, Bozo
That's what my Mum used to say to me, when I said or did something daft. My ex also called Bozo on more than one occasion. Bozo, of course, was a famous clown. Truly world famous, as I had heard of him in South Africa, a long way away from the land of his birth, the USA.
Reading my LA Times, I discovered that Bozo was born in 1946 as a character for Capitol Records, voiced by Vance "Pinto" Colvig, the voice of Goofy. Later the clown appeared in person to promote the records and one Larry Harmon booked the gig. In time, he bought the rights to the character and spent the next 50 years spreading the word of Bozo, up until his death Thursday at the age of 83.
Harmon apparently trained over 200 Bozos for TV, including weatherman Johnny Mountain (who I've always considered a bit of a Bozo). His production company created animated cartoons with Bozo, Popeye, Mr Magoo and Dick Tracy. He also acquired the rights to Laurel and Hardy, but will be remembered most for, well, for being a Bozo. The heart and soul of what was once, according to a Harris poll, the world's most famous clown.
Hats off to you, Larry. Long live the Bozo!