Whatever happened to …

… Bozo the Clown?

A friend of mine shared this story recently:

Frank Avruch, who played Bozo the Clown, dies at 89

Of course, the worst of social media kicked in with people noting that the article was over a year ago.

The name “Frank Avruch” didn’t ring a bell but certainly “Bozo the Clown” did. Long ago, in the days before cable television, there was an antenna on the top of our house and if the weather was right, we could get CKLW-TV from Windsor and Bozo was there on Saturday or Sunday mornings. (Or maybe both, I can’t recall exactly.) I do recall that it was extra special when we got a chance to watch the show. It wasn’t on our reliable CBC and CTV channels.

I did some poking around and found out that Bozo was actually a syndication and he was everywhere.

Scroll to the bottom of the entry to see all the places.

What a franchise!

In addition to hosting the show and introducing cartoons, there were all of the stupid gags that were done. And who could forget that red hair pointing east and west.

This was in the days when clowns were generally “good”. As we know, there have been many clowns that have made the movies and television that weren’t so good. And in real life too.

So, for a Sunday morning, let’s clown around.

  • Do you remember Bozo the Clown from your youth?
  • In addition to the show, there were all kinds of Bozo branded products. I remember a friend had a Bozo punching bag. Do you know of any other Bozo branded stuff?
  • There were other famous clowns who happened to be villains. There is only one Cesar Romero though. Where did he play a clown? What other actors played the same role? If you’re a real fan you know that his face wasn’t makeup but caused by something else. Do you remember what it was?
  • There was another Bozo-like clown that was a major product spokesclown. Who was that? Whatever happened to him?
  • People either love or hate clowns. I like them; my wife hates them. Where do you stand?
  • Are there enough people that hate them that you don’t see them at fairs or carnivals anymore?
  • Are they evil?
  • He also generated the ultimate kiddy insult “You’re such a bozo!” Did you ever use that phrase? (Will you now?)

As always, I’d love to read your thoughts in the replies below.

If you have an idea for a topic for a Sunday post, let me know. Just add it to this Padlet.

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Published by dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

6 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. Good morning Doug!

    Clowns get such a bad rap. As I write this, I am intrigued with the idea of studying the history of clowns to better understand their role and origin. Variations that come to mind include court jesters, mimes, Pierrot/Pirouette, and Charlie Chaplin.

    I don’t believe I ever saw Bozo the Clown. As you referenced above, limited access to television stations (one channel – CKNX, as we’ve written about before) kept me from exposure to some popular culture elements of the late 60s and early 70s. I managed to find out about gems like Rocketship Seven, the Thunderbirds, and Star Trek via periodic visits with cousins in the Kitchener Waterloo area. My exposure to Doctor Who (Tom Baker’s) had to wait until I was going to school in Toronto and watching it over the airwaves from across Lake Ontario on Rochester’s PBS. Doctor Who is kind of a clown. But most of this entire paragraph is a digression. So no, no Bozo the clown for me. Although maybe that punching bag (sand in the bottom of an inflatable) was branded with Bozos face. I don’t recall.

    Certainly the white face clowns were present in the travelling circus that would show up at the arena once a year. Over the top and full of broad slapstick is what I remember. I also remember being impressed with the trapeze artists at the time. I don’t remember them performing with safety nets. I think that came later.

    Now I could segue from trapeze artists to reference a particular millionnaire who took in a young Circus orphan as his ward (who was played on television by an actor with that surname) and note that that particular television show did come in strong and clear on our one channel and made for my home-from-kindergarten-or-grade-one television welcome (was it Wednesdays and Thursdays, I think?) and answer your Cesar Romero question, but I will leave it at that for other readers to explore. I can certainly name all of the actors who followed him in that role. I haven’t seen the current standalone film yet. However, I found it interesting to learn recently that Mark Hamill is touted as the best voice-actor version of all of the animated versions that have come about subsequently.

    As for all of the horror movie versions of clowns, I think they really do a disservice to the original intent. They take something that is supposed to be a source of joy and wonderful for children, and turn it into something terrifying. Doug, you probably remember the catch live action suited-characters show the Banana Splits, the dogs racing around in cars and getting into zany adventures? I was dismayed to come across this recently, just released last month:

    Case in point.

    So clowns get a bad rap. There’s even a word for fear of clowns: Coulrophobia.

    That’s too bad.


  2. When I was young, I used to love clowns, including Bozo the Clown. Now there are so many scary clowns that they kind of terrify me. Is the case of how the media brands clowns almost responsible now for how people feel about them? I wonder … Thanks for the weekly trip down memory lane.



  3. A fun thing about Romero in the role is that if you watch the recently restored HD episodes you can clearly see his moustache under the makeup.

    Interesting bit about the makeup is the history of lead poisoning of early clowns.


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