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2011/02/03

Bozo's Book!

by Jav Rivera

Growing up in the 1980's in Wisconsin brought many fond memories.  One of those was watching "The Bozo Show".  Until recently, I thought Bozo was from Chicago (which is where this show aired).  Little did I know that the Chicago Bozo was just that...Bozo from Chicago.  There was also a Bozo from New York, a Bozo from Los Angeles, and even a Bozo from Thailand.  All said and done there were hundreds of Bozos around the globe.  Larry "Bozo" Harmon, however, was the one who made that happen.  He wasn't the first Bozo - there were different entities of Bozo - but he was the one that gave Bozo his look and characteristics.  He also franchised the character.

Before his death in 2008, Mr. Harmon wrote an autobiography (later released in 2010) entitled "The Man Behind The Nose: Assassins, Astronauts, Cannibals, and Other Stupendous Tales".  And may I state, I was more than intrigued by that title.  I saw that crazy red hair and recognizable face on the cover and immediately smiled.  I picked up the book and flipped through it.  I was looking for a new book but wasn't sure if this was the right one.  So I looked at the first chapter and based solely on the first paragraph I knew instantly that I needed to buy this book.  In fact, anyone pursuing a dream should quickly find this gem.


But why, you ask?  It's not about someone's upbringing, it's not about someone's troubled teen years, it's not about someone's charity work after retirement.  It's about inspiration!  Allow me to share the first paragraph of the first chapter:
"I've spent fifty-plus years talking to children.  And I've been lucky enough to meet hundreds of thousands of them years later as grown-ups.  Some have lived fantastic lives full of accomplishments, while others have gotten lost along the way.  And the difference between them is usually just one word.  That word is inspiration."
I was hooked and from beginning to end, the book keeps you motivated.  Mr. Harmon was certainly a determined man.  When people said he couldn't do something, he proved them wrong time and time again.  Even his silly dreams of becoming a drum major in high school was met with skepticism. But it didn't stop him from trying.

Larry Harmon as Bozo running for president of the United States.
The book is also a fun read.  I was a little disappointed by how short it was but it makes each chapter that much more amazing.  I'm sure if Mr. Harmon had stayed alive longer he would have included more of his incredible tales.  After all, this isn't a man who does anything half-ass.  From his story about working at a dry cleaner to visiting the jungles of New Guinea where he was met with known cannibals, he did things all the way.  And he did it with a huge grin on his face - not just the one painted on.

On an aesthetic note, the artwork and fonts within each chapter are incredible.  And of course that cover just screams for attention.  It's a great thrill to have the exterior of the book be as wonderful as the content within.  I'd easily put this book in my top 3 biographies.


For more information about this book visit: bozotheclown.org

TRIVIA: Larry Harmon typically tapped his foot while on stage; a habit that goes back to his drumming days.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, the Chicago Bozo was more than just Bozo from Chicago. It remains the most popular and successful locally-produced kids' show in the history of television, and also aired nationally on cable and satellite for 23 of its over 40 years on WGN. And while Larry Harmon gave Bozo his look and characteristics, he wasn't the only one who did. Unfortunately, "his incredible tales" are just that: incredible tales. Larry was legendary for embellishing and, like the cover of his book, screamed for attention, even if it meant taking credit for the talents, dedication and hard work of others, starting with Bozo's actual creator (who isn't even named in the book) on down.

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