12:46 p.m. CST, November 27, 2012

CHICAGO, Updated December 3, 2012 — A rare 1971 recording of WGN-TV’s legendary “Bozo’s Circus” will be broadcast for the first time in 41 years as part of an hour-long primetime special titled “Bozo’s Circus: The Lost Tape;” on Sunday, December 9 at 7pm CT on WGN-TV Chicago. The special presentation will be hosted by WGN’s Dean Richards and streamed live for viewers outside the Chicago area on WGNtv.com. Rebroadcasts are scheduled for Christmas Day (Tuesday, December 25) at 12pm (noon) CT on WGN-TV Chicago and nationally on WGN America, as well as Saturday, December 15 at 7pm and Sunday, December 23 at noon on digital multicast channel WGN 9.2 Antenna TV Chicago.

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 programming@wgntv.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.

Filed in: News, Press Releases

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  • Mike

    The least you could've done was to put the episode in a player on this site so people outside the area could watch it. It isn't on my CW or Antenna TV channels in Pennsylvania and we don't get WGN.

  • Bob

    My brother and I were at the taping that day….we were 10 and 9 years old. We were told that the show would not be transmitted live, as was customary in those days, because of a Cubs doubleheader which was starting around noon. As a result, we were able to watch the show later at the date they told us it would be broadcast, and we were able to see ourselves. It was a treat.

  • Bob Anders

    Is there anyway we could get a copy of this episodes or place we can view again. My wifes cousin was picked to play the dress changing game.

  • Samantha

    i am a student who is doing a project on Bozo's impact to the the children and adults of chicago and if you guys dont mind, can you give me some helpful information?? I love WGN! Erin,Robin,Larry,Dean,Paul,Anna,Pat, and Frank!!!!!!!!


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