Less than a week ago, television lost an icon. Larry Harmon, who portrayed the wing-haired clown for more than half a century, died Thursday of congestive heart failure at the age of 83. Now Harmon was the first Bozo the Clown, but considerd to be the only.
Pinto Colvig, who provided the voice for Walt Disney's Goofy, was the first Bozo the Clown, a character created by writer-producer Alan W. Livingston for a series of children's records in 1946. Livingston said he came up with the name Bozo after polling several people at Capitol Records. Harmon would later meet his alter ego while answering a casting call to make personal appearances as a clown to promote the records. He got that job and eventually bought the rights to Bozo. Along the way, he embellished Bozo's distinctive look: the orange-tufted hair, the bulbous nose, the outlandish red, white and blue costume.
Harmon was honored by the hall of fame in 1990. But the hall took down his plaque after a journalist pointed out that another man created the character. Hall of fame volunteer director Terri Hall says her more recent research revealed Harmon was not honored as the character Bozo but given a lifetime achievement award for popularizing the character and his work on television. It wasn't until after Harmon's passing, the International Clown Hall of Fame in Milwaukee has reinstated Larry Harmon, for popularizing Bozo.
So in honor of one of my most favorite childhood characters, which occupied my Saturday mornings, I have carved a stamp for Larry Harmon aka. Bozo the Clown. So come out and remember Bozo the Clown and never forget his work in television.