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Entries : Bozo's Circus
Bozo's Circus

Bozo's Circus

Chicago-based Bozo's Circus, featuring the antics of a clown with startling red hair, was the nation's longest-running children's television program. The Bozo character originated in Los Angeles in 1946, when Alan Livingston created the clown for a series of Capitol Records children's albums. KTTV-TV aired the first televised Bozo program there in 1949. Larry Harmon, one of the first Bozos, purchased the rights to franchise the clown nationwide in 1956. Chicago's Bozo's Circus premiered on WGN-TV in 1961 with Bob Bell as the clown, broadcasting every weekday at noon. Its circus acts, comedy skits, cartoons, and audience games, overseen by the beaming Ringmaster Ned (Ned Locke), were a hit with local children. During the 1960s and '70s, the wait to appear in the studio audience stretched to several years.

WGN's Bozo began airing nationally in 1978. Bob Bell retired in 1984 and was replaced by Joey D'Auria. A dwindling audience finally led WGN to cancel the program in 2001.

“Bozo” subject file. Museum of Broadcast Communications Archives, Chicago, IL.
Bozo 25th Anniversary Special. Video, MBC Archives. WGN, 1986.
Hyatt, Wesley. “Bozo the Clown.” In The Encyclopedia of Daytime Television, 1997, 67–68.