Follow TV Tropes


Series / The Bozo Show

Go To
The Bozo Show (later known as The Bozo Super Sunday Show) was an hour-long live kids show that aired on WGN-TV 9 in Chicago and its superstation feed , WGN America (back when it actually carried WGN programming) from 1960 until 2001. Originally known as Bozo's Circus until the 1980s, it stars Bozo, the world's favorite clown (whose existence predates the shownote ). Bozo was portrayed by Bob Bell from the show's inception until his retirement in 1984, after which Joey D'Auria succceeded him for the remaining seasons. Assisting Bozo were Cooky the Cook, Ringmaster Ned (played by Ned Locke), Professor Andy, Wizzo the Wizard, and many others. The show always promised tons of fun, and generations of Chicagoans grew up with Bozo (once WGN went national, so did many others). In 1994, the show moved to Sundays (as to accommodate the new WGN Morning News) and the show was retitled as The Bozo Super Sunday Show. 1997 saw a further Retool to comply with the newly-instituted E/I laws. The show was officially cancelled in 2001; Bozo does pop up from time to time, including some segments on the aforementioned Morning News.

Memorialized along with fellow contemporary WGN children's series The Ray Rayner Show and Garfield Goose & Friends in the 2005 two hour TV special Bozo, Gar, and Ray: WGN TV Classics, which looks at the history and impact of all three series (though primarily Bozo), along with numerous surviving clips and bloopers from the three series. This is aired twice a year annually during the holiday season. WGN has since aired a complete Bob Bell-era episode of Bozo's Circus and a 1960s compilation special, both found within the station's archives.

Like Romper Room, Bozo's Circus/The Bozo Show is a franchised show, meaning individual stations could do their own version of the show, but Chicago's was by far the longest running and best recognized, especially by the 1980s when WGN was carried as a superstation by cable providers across the country.

Segments included:

  • Boz-Goz: Where Bozo goes to different places in Chicago.
  • What is It?: A mysterious antique thing. Some kids would win a prize for guessing the answer correctly at the end of the show. (*)
  • Bozo's Grand Prize Game: A game show segment in which a player tried to throw ping-pong balls into six buckets, each one farther away than the last and awarding a larger prize. If the player hit all six, they won a cash bonus and the day's grand prize.
  • TV Powww: A segment in which a home viewer was chosen to play a video game by telephone and win prizes.
  • Bozo's Book of the Week: Bozo shows us a popular kids book. (*)
  • Bozo's Hobby Corner: Showing different hobbies and careers.
  • Mr. Music Man: With Professor Andy.
  • Pets 4U: A pet owner does a show and tell about their pets.
  • Bozercise: A workout segment.
  • Let's Find Out!: How things are done or made. (*)
  • Clown About Town: Where Cooky (and later Rusty) went to places in Chicago. Similar to Boz-Goz.
  • Bozo Online: Online question that Bozo would answer.
  • Various classic (even by the 1960s) animated shorts, as well as Larry Harmon's animated Bozo series and episodes of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends.

The (*) indicates segments that were forced onto the show after the E/I laws were passed.

The Bozo Show contains examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: Cooky the Cook, Wizzo the Wizard, and Oliver O. Oliver, who starred from 1960 to 1971.
  • Christmas Episode: They did a Christmas episode during Christmas of each year and ran some Christmas cartoons (such as Hardrock, Coco, and Joe: The Three Little Dwarfs, Suzy Snowflake, and the UPA version of Frosty the Snowman).
  • Christmas Special: The 2005 retrospective special Bozo, Gar, and Ray: WGN TV Classics features the three aforementioned Christmas cartoons in their entirety, plus a clip of Ray Rayner singing "White Christmas". While the special as a whole isn't otherwise seasonal in tone, WGN only airs it on Thanksgiving afternoon and just before Christmas each year, ensuring that it remains a special to watch at the holidays with your family, and this angle is promoted in commercials for the yearly airings.
  • Confetti Drop: When a contestant hits bucket 6 on Bozo's Grand Prize Game, confetti and balloons poured onto the contestant.
  • Consolation Prize: If the player missed any of the other buckets leading up to the grand prize in The Grand Prize Game they would keep any prizes earned so far. If the player missed bucket 1, though, they were allowed to keep trying until they hit it and won that prize.
  • Every Episode Ending: The Grand March, in which Bozo led the audience in a parade out of the studio.
  • Game Show Host: Bozo hosted the Bozo's Grand Prize Game, with Ringmaster Ned originally doing the honours and Bozo showcasing the prizes.
  • Grand Finale: The prime-time 40 Years of Fun! special.
  • Home Participation Sweepstakes: Home viewers were invited to send in postcards and could win prizes if their names were drawn.
    • One name was drawn before each playing of the Grand Prize Game. That viewer received a duplicate of everything won by the player.
    • In TV Powww, the viewer gave commands over the phone to play a video game shown on a screen in the studio, and could win prizes based on how well they did.
  • Long-Runners: It lasted 40 years.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Bob Bell's version of Bozo inspired Dan Castellaneta's portrayal of Krusty The Clown on The Simpsons, particularly his high raspy voice.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: Bozo himself, who was played as a wholesome clown entertainer.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: It's time to play Bozo's (Audience says along) GRAND! PRIZE! GAME!
  • Tuckerization: Sandy the Tramp, a hobo clown whose real-life name was Don Sandburg, performed from 1960 to 1969 and later filled in for Cooky when ill during the 1990s.

Alternative Title(s): Bozos Circus, The Bozo Super Sunday Show