Remembering Bozo the Clown

Joy Hollowell

Updated 2 years ago

As WABI celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, we’re tapping into our time machine.If you grew up in the 60’s in the TV5 viewing area, there’s no doubt you remember Bozo the Clown.The live show aired week nights on WABI.Joy Hollowell recently sat down with Bozo’s sidekick, Ringmaster Bob.===Bob Woodbury had just started working at WABI back in 1961, when he was asked to assist Mike Dolley on a new children’s show. The chemistry between the two men was instantaneous.”We just kind of instinctively knew what the other one was going to do,” says Woodbury.There was no script for the show. 5 nights a week, 52 weeks a year, Woodbury says he would just follow Bozo’s lead.”Mike did a bit with a metal folding chair, trying to get it open. Putting his foot through it, falling down, trying to open it while his foot was in it,” says Woodbury. “And it went on for 5 minutes. The next day, we’d be in making up to go on the air, and Mike says, ‘I’ve got these bruises all over my body, I don’t know where they came from.’ Mike, you did the chair bit yesterday.'”The show ran from 5 to 6 each week night, and the studio was faithfully filled with a live audience of kids.”We didn’t pander to the kids,” says Woodbury. “We treated them with respect and they did the same for us. And we could interact with them. And, that was fun, that was really fun.”More than four decades after the show ended, Woodbury still gets recognized as Ringmaster Bob.”I always ask them if they got to roll the cartoon show and those who didn’t, the disappointment on their face is real,” says Woodbury with a smile. “And how many years later are we talking about here, and these are adults.”Now 75 years old, Woodbury says he’s amazed and humbled to be a part of this children’s classic.”When someone mentions the Bozo show, I think I probably blush,” says Woodbury. “I’ve had a long life and it’s been a great life, thoroughly enjoyable. I mean, how many people can say at the end of an 8 hours day, I’m looking forward to working another hour with 25 to 30 kids (laughs).”===WABI still has two of the chairs used on the set of Bozo the Clown. Bob Woodbury instantly recognized them when he came into the studio for our interview.


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