“A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.”Larry Harmon, who made Bozo the Clown a household word (although in what sort of households I fear to speculate), has died at the age of 83.
- Line attributed to Chuckles the Clown, whose funeral was the subject of a memorable “Mary Tyler Moore” episode.
“Bozo is dead. Long live Bozo.”
- Unidentified mourner.
At the time of his death, Harmon presided over a multi-billion dollar Bozo Empire, with ventures ranging from syndicated television shows and cartoons to a successful film franchise (Bozo II: The Wrath of ’Zo), theme parks, and licensed merchandise. Volkswagen’s Bozo Edition Beetle, with a hidden compartment capable of holding up to two dozen clowns, was an early winner, as was a highly popular (albeit controversial) network of Bozo-themed massage parlors (“Happy People deserve Happy Endings!”).
Harmon bought the rights to the Bozo character from Alan Livingston, its creator, and then proceeded to license it to numerous television stations around the country. A measure of Harmon’s success is that Bozo is still popular and well-known after fifty years, showing no signs of disembedding himself from the Popular Culture.
Bozo’s legacy even extends to the English language...at least, as it is used in some quarters. His name is practically a synonym for “clown.” And, as defined by the Official Blog d’Elisson Dictionary, bozo is “pubic hair that protrudes simultaneously from both sides of the knickers, reminiscent of a certain redheaded clown’s hairstyle.”
According to family sources, Harmon will be buried in a special I-beam shaped casket in order to accommodate his unique wing-shaped hairdo and his size 83AAA shoes.