Will Clown Fight Spoil Bozo Bash?

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"Harmon is fantasizing, and this isn't the first time," says former Capitol executive Alan Livingston, who wrote and produced the first Bozo read-along records.

"We had a world-class clown in Pinto Colvig," Livingston says. "Harmon was an out-of-work actor who I hired to dress up as Bozo for promotional work … We sent him to shopping centers and schools."

Colvig led the quintessential clown life. Born in 1892, he ran of to join the circus as a teenager. Walt Disney hired him to be the original voices of Goofy and Pluto, as well as Grumpy and Sleepy in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He also wrote the lyrics for "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"

As Bozo, Colvig was an instant success. By the early 1950s, Capitol had sold more than 8 million Bozo records, and the clown became the company's mascot.

"Those were great days in TV," recalls Lee Carrau, floor manager on the first Bozo TV show. "It was a live show, two cameras in a small studio, with animals and screaming kids. We never knew what would happen, monkeys jumping around everywhere. Every week was absolute pandemonium."

Carrau, 81, remembers Colvig well. "He used to go to the bar after the show in Bozo costume for laughs," he says. "He was a fun, fun guy." TV Franchising Becomes Child’s Play

In the mid-1950s, Harmon and some partners bought the rights to Bozo, and everyone agrees he did a great job franchising live clown shows to local TV stations across the country and even in select foreign markets.

Each local show had its own Bozo, the most famous being Chicago's Bob Bell, who played the clown for 24 years on WGN-TV, and famed weatherman Willard Scott, who put on the floppy shoes for a stint in Washington.

"Harmon's problem is that he can't bear another clown getting any credit," says Joan Roy, Bell's daughter. "That's his baby."