BOZO Back in Chicago for A 50th Birthday

BOZO Books Makes USA Debut; Mayor Pays Tribute To TV Icon

Aug 16, 2010, 10:00 ET from Igniter Books

CHICAGO, Aug. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- This year is the 50th anniversary of the nationally acclaimed Chicago BOZO TV show, on WGN TV, which first aired June 20, 1960, and last aired June 13, 2001, with a surprise performance by lifelong fan, Billy Corgan, founder and lead singer of "The Smashing Pumpkins," at the final Chicago taping.

To celebrate the half century mark of a much-loved Chicago institution, still known to generations, a number of BOZO collaborators will gather in Chicago on Tues., Aug. 17, to commemorate the occasion and attend the first book signing (7:30PM), at Borders on Michigan Avenue (830 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago), for the autobiography of the late Larry Harmon, BOZO's long time alter ego, which debuts the same day from Igniter Books, an imprint of It Books/HarperCollins.

The BOZO character, Mrs. Larry Harmon, co-author Thomas Scott McKenzie and a number of other friends of BOZO (FOBs), will be on hand.

The Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago plans to lend BOZO artifacts from its TV collection for the event and there's even talk of a round of the legendary "Grand Prize Game" and a pie throwing contest and, of course, there'll be plenty of BOZO birthday cake to go around.

"This beloved children's personality helped cement our city's reputation for being at the forefront of excellence in broadcasting," says Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Harmon, the man who brought one of the world's most famous kid TV icons to life, died in 2008, in Los Angeles, but recorded his memoirs over many months and worked alongside writer Thomas Scott McKenzie.

Ever think of BOZO as being a threat to New Guinea cannibals, entertaining at Caroline Kennedy's White House birthday, or giving birth to Ronald McDonald?

Check the yes box on all three and read more in Harmon's memoir, "The Man Behind The Nose," which hits book stalls via It Books' Igniter imprint (Igniter, 256 pages, $25.99).

The first ever BOZO show of any note and longevity was aired on WGN's sister station, KTLA-TV, Ch. 5 in Los Angeles, the city where all things BOZO, from recordings at Capitol Records to merchandise from Mattel, to training of BOZO talent for TV shows all over the world, including Thailand and Brazil, were created for half a decade.

Many famous folks owe Harmon their major league starts.

"Muppets" creator Jim Henson and his puppets made their TV bow on Harmon's BOZO Show in Washington DC.

Carroll Spinney, who's been delighting kids as "Big Bird" for the past three-plus decades, also got his start with Harmon, on a Boston "BOZO" production.

And Willard Scott, 76, the eternal weatherman on NBC's "TODAY," was a Harmon find, too, bowing as BOZO in Washington, DC, in the late 1950s, in one of his first on-camera outings, and later appearing as the first-ever Ronald McDonald.

Another 205 actors around the world followed Harmon in the floppy red clown shoes and created over 10,000 hours of BOZO shows, which still play globally on TV and DVDs, along with hundreds of BOZO toys, including iconic "bop" bags and other collectibles, that still delight "children of all ages" at worldwide BOZO appearances.

(Full title:  "The Man Behind The Nose:  Assassins, Astronauts, Cannibals and Other Stupendous Tales")

Borders:  830 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611, 312 573 0564

Museum of Broadcast Communications:

Facebook:  The Man Behind The Nose

SOURCE Igniter Books