Larry died of congestive heart failure on Thursday. As a little kid, I shunned TV, never watching Saturday morning cartoons, but I did watch Bozo pretty faithfully, broadcast to Detroit from Windsor, Ontario in the 60's and early 70's. My fondest Bozo memory was an all-out brawl perpetuated by two brothers visiting the show with their cub scout troop. Several years later those brothers moved to my neck of the woods and hung out in the same crowd. I still remember the night The Bozo Show came up in conversation and I found out they were the guys who started the fight years before.
Mind you, I hate clowns and pretty much believe all clowns are evil. As a child, I had a recurring dream that a clown resembling Bozo lived in my basement and every night would try to lure me down there in the dark to eat me. He would always manage to put me into some sort of trance and I would end up fighting to stop, as I slowly walked down the stairs into the pitch-black basement, Bozo waiting at the bottom, arms outstretched, waiting patiently to devour me. Finally, one night I woke up from the dream and forced myself to head down into the basement in the dark and walk every inch of every room down there-all in the dark. I emerged a conquering hero-the evil fucking clown was dead in my mind.
For several years the dream stopped, then I read Stephen King's IT, in 1986. Wham! The dream returned, nightly. In 1990, the TV movie came out and I made the mistake of watching it. Evil clown in the Basement had a new fucking face and and was more frightening than before. Eventually, the dream faded again, but resurfaced in the last few years when somebody talked me into watching the Rob Zombie horror movie, The Devil's Rejects. THAT fucking clown will haunt me to the day I die. Holy fuck, he is the Evil Clown that other evil clowns are afraid of.
Anyway, I'm now doomed to having that nightmare tonight for sure, but I just wanted to note that if ever there was a non-evil clown who didn't eat children and make wind chimes with their bones to sell at carnivals, it was Larry Harmon's Bozo. Maybe.