Created by Alan Livingston, Bozo the Clown was featured on a series of children's records by Capitol Records. At that time, a Bozo TV show appeared and a gentleman named Larry Harmon was hired to portray him. Harmon became so enamored of the character he bought the rights to him and launched a franchise of local Bozo TV shows throught the country (the most famous edition was from Boston and was syndicated nationally).
In 1958, Harmon and Theodore Ticktin launched an animation studio where he had cartoons, billed as Bozo, The World's Most Famous Clown, made. 157 cartoons were made through three seasons—1958, 1959 and 1962. Bozo was given a circus boss to play off as well as a kid sidekick Butchy Boy. The cartoons were general comedy adventures with Bozo usually squaring off against harmless monsters and evil-doers but generally mischief at the circus.
Harmon's studio was notable for employing Hal Sutherland and Lou Schiemer, two guys who would create a consortium that founded the Filmation studio.
This series contains examples of:
- Art Shift: In the third season, Bozo's design became more simplified and the animation more static than usual.
- Limited Animation: And how. Especially the cartoons helmed by Ted Ticktin.
- Non-Ironic Clown: You think?
- Signature Laugh: Bozo ended many cartoons with this.
- Talking Animal: Bozo and Butchy Boy would get some help from a talking dog named Elvis. A goofy wolf named Whaco Wolf would appear in third season cartoons.
- Those Two Bad Guys: The later cartoons featured two thugs, Short Biggie and Big Shorty.