Battling Bozos

ByABC News
June 19, 2001, 3:34 PM

June 19, 2001 — -- Larry Harmon may be a Bozo. But he's not the original Bozo, even though he's claimed otherwise.

Harmon owns the rights to Bozo. Two years ago, The Wolf Files took him on, revealing that the 76-year-old show business entrepreneur has frequently stuck a Bozo-sized, big, red, floppy shoe in his mouth, taking credit for creating Bozo and bringing the clown to TV.

Both assertions are, at the very least, highly questionable and they detract from the two men who can take credit for breathing the first life into the greatest clown legend.

Now, the only remaining Bozo TV show is being canceled. WGN-TV in Chicago taped the final episode June 12. Dozens of articles have been written in the past few weeks. But nary a word has been spoken of the clown who first appeared as Bozo on TV and records Pinto Colvig.

It's time to set the record straight.The Father of Bozo Speaks

If Bozo has a father, that man is Alan Livingston, former president of Capital Records, who created Bozo at the Circus in 1946. It was the first read-along record a milestone in children's entertainment and it sold more than a million copies.

It was so successful, Livingston branched out into TV in 1949. The show debuted on KTTV, Channel 11 in Los Angeles. Colvig, who provided Bozo's voice, stepped in front of the camera. Livingston was the writer and producer. Harmon had nothing to do with it.

[Take a look at the original Bozo.]

"Larry Harmon was just an out-of-work actor when I hired him to do some promotional work," says Livingston. "Years later, when Capitol got out of the children's entertainment business, we sold it to him and some partners. But he's been misleading everyone and taking credit for Pinto's work."

Harmon stopped speaking to The Wolf Files in 1999, when inquiries were first made into Bozo's origin. In a fax that year, Harmon blamed the media for making mistakes.

"Thousands of articles have been written since I purchased all the rights to Bozo " Harmon wrote.