Regional Bozos

At this rate, you’ll be broke in a month. The only thing left to do is open a clown college and train some regional Krustys. — Bill (Krusty’s accountant)

You mean like that bozo, Bonko the Clown? — Krusty, “Homie The Clown”

The Bozo the Clown character, created in the 40s, and immediately thereafter used by Capitol Records to shill LPs, was a big hit in a country known as the United States of America. This was before John Wayne Gacy, Stephen King, and Ronald McDonald destroyed the “friendly clown” image, and so something like this was still tolerable:

In a stroke of marketing genius, an actor by the name of Larry Harmon purchased the “Bozo” rights from Capitol, and then immediately set out to license the brand name to the nation’s local television channels, which were then allowed to produce their own versions of The Bozo Show/Bozo’s Circus/ClownTime Variety Hour/whatever they felt like calling it.

Among the dozens of locally-produced versions of the show, Chicago’s broadcast was the smash hit of the bunch, helmed for the majority of its 41 years on the air (until 2001!) by beloved clownist Bob Bell. Let’s take a look:

Magic! If you’re looking to learn more about Bozo and his mass-marketed progeny, a fin gets you entrance to the International Clown Hall Of Fame And Research Center in Baraboo, Wis. I can’t imagine what kind of sick, twisted clown-related research they might do down there, and I’m not about to find out.

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