Sunday, August 07, 2016
The show (which began its life in 1960 as Bozo's Circus before being re-christened in 1980) was a fixture for a lot of kids during that era. Featuring skits, cartoons, and games, you watched while eating breakfast and getting ready to go to school. While Bozo was played by actor Bob Bell from the '60s, it's the second Bozo, played by Joey D'Auria beginning in 1984, who I'm most familiar with. His sidekicks included Cooky the Clown (Roy Brown), Wizzo (Marshall Brodien), and musician Professor Andy (Andy Mitran).
Each hourlong show would culminate in the much-heralded "Grand Prize Game," with a boy and girl randomly selected by the "Bozoputer" to take turns dropping ping pong balls into six buckets. With each bucket, you won another prize, with bucket 6 being the Grand Prize (money, a bike, a trip, etc.). Interesting feature about the Grand Prize Game was that they'd also pick a postcard from a viewer at home who'd win the same prizes as the current player. Naturally this was great if they went the distance, but I have to imagine it sucked to be the person sitting at home if the kid playing the game managed to miss the very first bucket.
Anyway, by the mid-'90s, The Bozo Show soon found itself a little bit out of step when compared the increasing number of other entertainment options for kids. In 1994 it was demoted to once a week and was re-titled The Bozo Super Sunday Show as WGN got rid of its weekday kids' programming. The show stumbled through most of the '90s before finally closing up shop in 2001. And while it's been off the air for more than fifteen years at this point, if you're like me you still have a lot of pleasant memories of tuning in every weekday to see what antics Bozo and company would get into. Here's a commercial from 1989 hyping the show:
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