Bozo the Clown's last flight

For decades, Larry "Bozo the Clown" Harmon entertained generations of kids across the globe. The Man Behind the Nose: Assassins, Astronauts, Cannibals, and Other Stupendous Tales is his just-released autobiography, written just before his death in 2008 and co-authored by Thomas Scott McKenzie. An excerpt:
Screen-shot-2010-08-19-at-10.43.10-AM.png When I was five years old, my parents purchased a refrigerator from the Sears Roebuck catalog. After the applicance was installed, my mom beamed at the gleaming addition to her kitchen. My father returned to the Cleveland Indians game on the radio. And I investigated the empty shipping box in the backyard. That box became my pirate ship, my tank, my stagecoach, my castle, my tunnel, my mountainside. I would lug the box upstairs in our house, climb in, and slide down the stairs like a runaway train. Anything a little boy could envision, that box could accommodate. But its most frequent incarnation was as a flying vessel. Sometimes a plane, like the one in which I imagined Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic. Other times, the box became a flying saucer, capable of propelling me into the heavens like the brave souls in Jules Verne's sciene-fiction stories. I felt the urge to fly, to travel at high speeds, to leave a mark in the sky that people would see.
The Man Behind the Nose: Assassins, Astronauts, Cannibals, and Other Stupendous Tales [Amazon link via CrunchGear]


  1. Beyond not being of the “Bozo Generation” (for lack of a better term), the excerpt above reminds me of playing in refrigerator boxes as a child – but we didn’t have to wait for someone to buy a fridge. My resourceful Grandpa would ask us “How about we all go down to the appliance store?” and we knew we would go, pick out an empty box, bungee it into the trunk and take it home for turning first into a playhouse, complete with windows and window boxes with plastic flowers donated for the day by Grandma, plus blankets for comfort, then when the sides began to bulge, my sister, little friend and I would pile in and roll down the biggest hill we could find until either we were too dizzy and bruised or the box split apart.

    I just bought my 2 1/2 year old nephew a book that included a knit puppet for $24.95 plus shipping halfway across the country. He loves the book, but WTF???

    [/crochety old lady]

    Loved the story.

  2. I had no idea this book was coming out and really want to read it. I used to watch the Bozo the Clown show in the mornings before I went to school. I always wanted to play that crazy pingpong ball game at the end and imagined myself winning the great prizes. From the exerpt that I just read I can also guess I will enjoy it.

  3. Huh. I’m surprised that’s out of print. It read that to my kids when they were a little younger. It looks like the last edition came out in 2002. Mind you, given that the book originally came out in 1971, that’s not too shabby.

  4. I saw Harmon/Bozo speak on a college campus during one of his presidential campaigns, and was struck by the impression that he believed he might actually get elected– not that time, but possibly in the future, because at every college campus he visited he received such an enthusiastic response.

  5. I watched Bozo as a kid. One of my friends made it into the studio audience and got to bat around a giant balloon at the end of the show.

    In 1969, my sister and parents and I went on a trip to Little Rock, AR, to pick up a boat my father had bought from my uncle. One morning my aunt turned on Bozo. And it was . . . wrong. Bozo was different, the set was different. Auggghhh!

    Yeah, it turned out that, like Romper Room, the Bozo Show was a franchise. The last Bozo Show, Chicago’s, survived until a few years ago.

  6. Watch Bozo – hey, I was ON Bozo the Clown, in 1960 or so, in Chicago. It wasn’t Larry Harmon (I gather from Wikipedia), but Bob Bell, whose voice was the inspiration for Krusty the Klown (again, courtesy of Wikipedia).

    I remember sitting on bleachers and being vaguely uncomfortable with the experience. I think seeing a tv clown up that close isn’t a good idea; you realize it’s actually a grown man in face paint and weird clothes…

    No wonder I don’t like clowns…

  7. I used to love those appliance boxes also and used them until they wore out. I got more joy in those boxes than my toys!

  8. Been there, done that. But my box had contained a tricycle which was a gift (for me) from a wealthy uncle. I don’t think I got out of the box until after he had left.

  9. I remember watching Bozo the clown with my two brother’s . We would always laugh. I also remember those appliance boxes. In fact we had an appliance center up the street from our house so we had plenty of appliance boxes to make spaceships or whatever we wanted. It was great.

  10. For the true story and history behind the original Bozo the Clown as created by Alan W. Livingston, fans shoud check out “The Bozo Chronicles” a 630 plus page book which documents the origin, creation, development and history of this true American icon.

    Fans will have a ring-side seat to the facts, meeting the creator Alan Livingston, Pinto Colvig, fellow Bozo actor’s, artists, and all of the folks who helped to make our pal Bozo a true Hollywood star. This amazing book is your ticket to the circus documenting in time-line format and with over 1400 rare and unpublished images Bozo’s true story and history. the Bozo Chronicles is a true treasure for fans and historians alike.

    For more information please check out both the official Website at; and the official Facebook page; The Bozo Chronicles.

    The Bozo Chrinicles
    ISBN 13; 978-0-615-37874-9
    Available at;
    635 pages

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