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Clown Hall of Fame inducts Bozo

August 4, 1996
Web posted at: 6:30 a.m. EDT

DELAVAN, Wisconsin (CNN) -- The Clown Hall of Fame added another member Saturday: Bob Bell, who played Bozo the Clown on WGN-TV in Chicago for 25 years.

Larry Harmon began to market Bozo nationally in the mid- 1950s. In 1959, Bozo came to WGN-TV; Bell portrayed the clown on a 30-minute show consisting of one-man sketches and cartoons.

The program went off the air in 1960 and returned as "Bozo's Circus." Bell donned ample circus greasepaint, a fiery red wig and flashy clothes for the character. He brought the clown to national prominence when WGN began broadcasting via satellite in 1978 and continued until his retirement in 1984.

Since 1961, the show's title has changed several times. It is now "The Bozo Super Sunday Show" and airs Sunday mornings.

Bell once said, "I love my work and enjoy making children laugh. Laughter cannot be imitated. It comes from the heart."

The Clown Hall of Fame was founded in 1986 for the preservation and advancement of clown art.

The first inductees were Red Skeleton, Lou Jacobs, Emmett Kelly Sr., Mark Anthony, Felix Abler and Otto Griebling. Since then, 30 more clowns have been added, including Bob Kesshan, TV's first Clarabell, and another star from WGN's "Bozo Show," Roy "Cooky the Cook" Brown.

The Hall of Fame has a "Lifetime of Laughter Achievement Award." The award has gone to Harmon and Willard Scott, who played Bozo and was the first Ronald McDonald before becoming the "Today Show" weatherman.

The Clown Hall of Fame is in Delavan, Wisconsin, about 45 miles southeast of Madison.

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