Bozo by Aladdin, 1964
Bozo the Clown Lunch Box, Aladdin, 1963,
Bozo the Clown Bottle, Aladdin,
Bozo the Clown is a clown character very popular
in the United States, peaking in the 1960s as a result of
widespread franchising in early television.
Bozo was created as a character by Alan W. Livingston, who
produced a children's storytelling record-album and illustrative
read-along book set, the first of its kind, titled Bozo at the
Circus for Capitol Records and released in October 1946. Pinto
Colvig portrayed the character on this and subsequent Bozo
read-along records. The albums were very popular and the character
became a mascot for the record company and was later nicknamed
"Bozo the Capitol Clown." Many non-Bozo Capitol children's records
had a "Bozo Approved" label on the jacket.
In 1948, Capitol and Livingston began setting up royalty
arrangements with manufacturers and television stations for use of
the Bozo character. KTTV-TV in Los Angeles began broadcasting the
first show, Bozo's Circus, in 1949 featuring Colvig as Bozo with
his blue-and-red costume, oversized red hair and classic
"whiteface" clown makeup on Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
In 1956, Larry Harmon, one of several actors hired by Livingston
and Capitol Records to portray Bozo at promotional appearances,
formed a business partnership and bought the licensing rights
(excluding the record-readers) to the character when Livingston
briefly left Capitol in 1956. Harmon had the vision and drive to
take advantage of the growing television industry and make a
better future for Bozo.
He renamed the character "Bozo, The World’s Most Famous Clown" and
modified the voice, laugh and costume. He then worked with a wig
stylist to get the wing-tipped bright orange style and look of the
hair that had previously appeared in Capitol's Bozo comic books.
He started his own animation studio and distributed (through
Jayark Films Corporation) a series of cartoons (with Harmon as the
voice of Bozo) to television stations, along with the rights for
each to hire its own live Bozo host, beginning with KTLA-TV in Los
Angeles on January 5, 1959 and starring Vance Colvig, Jr., son of
the original "Bozo the Clown," Pinto Colvig.