12:46 p.m. CST, November 27, 2012
Recognized as the most popular and successful locally produced kids’ show in the history of television, WGN-TV’s beloved Bozo show was produced for over 40 years, from 1960 until 2001. Sadly, only a few episodes from the show’s first two decades, when it aired live weekdays at noon, were archived. In fact, no WGN Bozo shows from 1969 to 1974 have been known to exist until recently. While searching for old programs on the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection website, Rick Klein of the website FuzzyMemories.tv came across a listing for a 1971 WGN “Bozo’s Circus” tape submission and later reported it to WGN-TV. WGN-TV then contacted Ruta Abolins, Director of the Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia in Athens, where the tape was stored. The tape had been submitted as an entry for the prestigious Peabody Awards and had been preserved in the awards archives ever since. After obtaining and screening a copy of the tape, WGN-TV decided to feature the recording as a primetime special because of the historical significance of its existence and pristine condition of the video. The recording turned out to be a compilation of two episodes starring the show’s late great cast: Bob Bell as Bozo, Roy Brown as Cooky, Ned Locke as Ringmaster Ned, and Bob Trendler and his 13-piece Big Top Band.
Also noteworthy of the recording:
- It’s the earliest footage known to exist of Cooky, who first appeared on the show in 1968.
- It took place a year after Bob Bell’s red Bozo costume was replaced with a blue costume and a few months after Ray Rayner as Oliver O. Oliver left the show.
-It was produced and written by Norm Nowicki (after producer and writer Don Sandburg’s 1969 exit and before original “Bozo’s Circus” director, Allen Hall, returned as producer in 1973).
A guest poodle act referred to in the show’s opening was not included on the 1971 tape. A guest xylophone act and Bozo cartoon that were included on the tape will be replaced on the special with a few holiday-themed and rarely seen “Bozo’s Circus” home video clips from 1976 to 1978. Viewers interested in seeing the xylophone act and Bozo cartoon will be able to when the segments are posted on WGNtv.com after the final rebroadcast.
For more information please contact George Pappas at email@example.com or 773-528-2311.
WGN-TV is Chicago’s CW network affiliate, programming a strong schedule of news, sports and entertainment, with most WGN Sports telecasts, WGN News and CW programs in high definition on WGN 9.1. WGN-TV programs more news than any other Chicago TV station for WGN-TV and cable news channel CLTV in Chicago; Rockford, IL; and South Bend, IN. WGN 9.2 is Chicago’s home of Tribune Broadcasting’s classic TV network, Antenna TV. WGN also programs for WGN America on cable, telco and satellite throughout the U.S. WGN-TV is a Tribune Broadcasting station. For additional information on Chicago’s Very Own WGN-TV, go to WGNtv.com.
“Bozo” is a registered trademark and copyright of Larry Harmon Pictures Corp.