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1959: KTLA-TV Aired the First Franchised 'Bozo the Clown' Show
January 5, 2017  | By David Bianculli  | 1 comment
 
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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Mac
Flashy yuuuge amount of flaming hair. Gin blossom nose,though he doesn't drink alcohol. Big mouth. 1/20/17-Bozo meets Supreme Court Justice Roberts for a special ceremony being shown on most news outlets. Later-a little song,a little dance,a little seltzer down our pants.Don't miss it ,kiddies!
Jan 5, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is available on Amazon for $20.

Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. A high point is the author’s interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer and many others...Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post