Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Clowning Around

I write this as an honor to someone who helped to make a major impact in my childhood. This person helped to provide entertainment and enjoyment for me on many cold Chicago mornings. That man is Bozo the Clown. Larry Harmon became Bozo the clown in 1956. He remained Bozo until 1996. Despite not being the actual Bozo the clown that I watched on television, it was through this man's efforts that my beloved Bozo was brought to WGN. My heart was actually crushed to hear that he passed away on July 3, 2008. In the interest of full disclosure, I figured he might already be dead, but to have to heard about his death actually did have an impact on me. For those of you who are unaware of who Bozo the Clown is, let me take you to back to my childhood for a minute. This is not an actual 100% recollection. Yet, a splicing of things that I do remember, coupled with some things as I imagine that they could have been.

Its a cold December Chicago morning. I myself have never been the best morning person, and this morning is no different. My father comes in the room to wake myself and my brother up around 7:30. I couldn't be more than 7 years old. (Making my brother 5). Like a zombie, I trudge my way into my grandmother's dining room. I turn on the television and find a place on the radiator that doesn't burn my bottom. After a brief battle with my brother for what we termed "the black spoon", my father brings in our oatmeal. The oatmeal is fine, but what really turns the day great is Bozo the clown on the television. (The black spoon was a spoon with a black handle. I can't really justify the battles I had with my brother over this spoon back in the day, but trust me, it was the shit back in 1985).

Bozo and Cooky (pictured left), his side kick, clowning around, and giving away plenty of prizes encapsulated my childhood mornings. And every day, Bozo made it a little easier to face the day. I never got a chance to go to a taping of the show, but it would have been better than having the chance to go to Disney World. They had what was called the Grand Prize game. Basically, its a game in which buckets were placed in intervals of maybe 3 feet. You needed to throw what appeared to be a ping-pong ball into each bucket. And based on how many buckets you were able to successfully get the ping-pong ball into, your prize would increase. Making it into the final bucket was similar to the Showcase Showdown on one of my other favorite TV shows, The Price is Right. But instead of a new car, you received a new bicycle. (The chosen mode of transportation for children).

In writing this, I guess I take a minute to acknowledge a simpler time in my life. The second part is to say thank you to Mr. Larry Harmon. From my generation, I want to thank you for the years of enjoyment and entertainment that you provided to millions of youths just like myself. Thank you for following your vision. May God always provide you shoes that never fit, never ending handkerchiefs, and flowers with water sprays instead of fragrances.

God Bless You Bozo!

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