Chicago’s Seventh Gift to the World

For the next few days, the Metroblogging sites around the globe will be unveiling gifts their cities share with the world – one gift a day for seven days.

Bozo the Clown Bop BagLike McDonald’s, Bozo the Clown was invented in California, but perfected in Chicago. Bozo was created in 1946 for a series of read-along records and then brought to TV in Los Angeles in 1959. Rather than syndicating the show, it was franchised, so each local TV market had their own Bozo the Clown. (Washington DC’s Bozo was Willard Scott, who went on to be the first “Ronald McDonald, the Hamburger-Happy Clown”. See, back to McDonald’s — small world.)

Bob Bell was the Chicago Bozo, on WGN, from 1960-1984. Bozo’s Circus was incredibly popular in the Chicagoland area, but as WGN started broadcasting via satellite in 1978 and became one of the first “Superstations,” Chicago’s Bozo became the nation’s Bozo.

(Thanks to OfficerGleason for the gift idea.)

1 Comment so far

  1. Marty (unregistered) on December 5th, 2006 @ 1:34 am

    Other than the Bozo Buckets, my favorite part of the show? GI Joe and the Transformers. My brother and I would delay as long as we possibly could to catch ever last minute of those cartoons.

    I didn’t realize how big of a deal Bozo was until I had friends, in high school, who finally got through the waiting list. Bozo had certainly lost a lot of appeal by then, but, the waiting list was over 10 years long at that point (1998).

    Hell, I also miss the “pillow case” competition: where moms and dads would “race”to see who could put the pillow cases on faster. The dads usually won.

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