|Alan W. Livingston created "Bozo the Clown" for Capitol Records in Hollywood, California in 1946. He wrote and produced a popular series of children's storytelling record-album and illustrative read-along book sets beginning with the September release of "Bozo at the Circus." His record-reader concept, which enabled children to follow a story in pictures
while listening to it, was the first of its kind. He hired Pinto Colvig to portray Bozo on the recordings, radio and the first Bozo television series, "Bozo's Circus," on KTTV (CBS) Los Angeles in 1949. Colvig, a former circus clown, was also the original voice of Walt Disney's Pluto, Goofy, Grumpy, Sleepy and other animated characters. In 1956, Larry Harmon, one of several actors hired by Alan Livingston and Capitol Records to portray Bozo at promotional appearances, formed a business partnership and purchased the licensing rights to the Bozo character. In 1959, Bozo shows began appearing throughout the U.S. and other countries.
WGN-TV Chicago's "Bozo" show debuted on June 20, 1960 starring Bob Bell on a live half-hour program weekdays at noon, performing comedy sketches and introducing cartoons. The series was placed on hiatus in January 1961 to facilitate WGN's move from Tribune Tower in downtown Chicago to 2501 West Bradley Place on the city's northwest side. WGN-TV's "Bozo's Circus" debuted on September 11, 1961. The live hour-long show aired weekdays at noon and featured comedy sketches, circus acts, cartoons, games and prizes before a 200+ member studio audience. The program began airing nationally via cable and satellite in 1978, and studio audience reservations surpassed a 10-year wait. In 1980, the series moved to weekday mornings as "The Bozo Show" and aired on tape delay. In 1994, it moved to Sunday mornings as "The Bozo Super Sunday Show" and became "education and information" in 1997 following a Federal Communications Commission mandate requiring broadcast television stations to air a minimum three hours per week of "educational and informational" children's programs. Cast members throughout the program's 40-year run include Bob Bell as Bozo (1960-1984), Ned Locke as Ringmaster Ned (1961-1976), Don Sandburg as Sandy the Tramp (1961-1969), Ray Rayner as Oliver O. Oliver (1961-1971), Roy Brown as Cooky the Cook (1968-1994), Marshall Brodien as Wizzo the Wizard (1968-1994), Frazier Thomas (1976-1985), Joey D'Auria as Bozo (1984-2001), Andy Mitran as Professor Andy (1987-2001) and Robin Eurich as Rusty the Handyman (1994-2001). The final Bozo show, a prime time special titled "Bozo: 40 Years of Fun!", was taped on June 12, 2001 and aired on July 14, 2001. Reruns of "The Bozo Super Sunday Show" aired until August 26, 2001. WGN-TV's Bozo show is recognized as one of the most successful children's shows in the history of television.