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Frank Avruch, our first Bozo the Clown, dead at 89

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Avruch was a hero to many of my age. May God rest his soul.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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My sister and I used to watch him quite a bit on TV when we were young pre-teens. Howdy Doody was another character that we watched, sometimes on the same program as Bozo the clown.

Sorry to hear about Frank Avruch's death.

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The clown on the Howdy Doody Show was called Clarabell.

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Clarabell the Clown on Howdy Doody was played by none other than Bob Keeshan, who went to to be Captain Kangaroo. Small world, eh?

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Bozo selected one kid from the audience who got to be Bozo's assistant, named "Butch for a day". One of my friends was in the audience and got selected, and it was a big deal. He was instantly famous.

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I got to tell Bozo a joke. I was on his show twice, for some reason.

Older siblings on Major Mudd & Rex Trailer.

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We need more clowns spreading the truth about the joy of loving life.

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A lot of people are spooked by clowns. Mr Whoodini always gave me the creeps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KT-qO6Jupbs

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seeing you at the next table at a few restaurants over the years (Icarus, for one): you and your companions always cut a courtly, debonair swath, and seemed to eat and drink with genuine gusto. Always two couples dressed to the nines, his wife (I assume) a singularly striking, elegant lady.

May we all make the journey from young clown to suave old dude someday.

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For years I'd watch him host The Great Entertainment, which show classic movies late night on Saturdays.

That was back when the after the movie, the station would play the National Anthem and then go off the air for the night.

He would tell tidbits and trivia about the movie being shown, after the commercial breaks.

Always a class act and debonair in his tux.

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I used to watch this also. I remember years and years ago seeing this movie "It's a Wonderful Life" and thinking it was a nice movie, before it was overplayed around Christmas Time.

When the Wang used to have their classic film series, he introduced the films on-stage. It was a nice touch.

RIP Frank

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I met him once at the Wang! We had a nice chat and he had some good stories about being Bozo. A class act. Big bucket o'win to him, 89 is a good run.

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IMAGE(https://i.pinimg.com/236x/5d/c6/9d/5dc69d4eb8a29768cbe95fc383c25541--bozo-the-clown-vintage-cartoons.jpg)

The November 9th, 1965 show was my most memorable, I'd have to say.

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I know a guy who was on the Major Mudd show as a kid. The clown that haunted my youthful nightmares was Willie Whistle.

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When the 1965 Northeast Blackout hit.

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Boy, I didn't think anyone else was alive besides me that remembered The Blackout. You're right, Bozo would have been on at that time, It was right around dinnertime.

My father was in Washington on business and came in through the front door, just as the lights came back on. A neighbor was with us when the lights came on, and she said, 'And God said, 'Let there be light!''.

Frank was married to Miss Jean from Romper Room. They must have been a nice couple. I also remember Frank hosting the afternoon movies. He was a nice-looking man. He brought a lot of fun into kids' lives when TV was in its infancy. RIP, Frank/Bozo

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I don't think Miss Jean was married to Frank Avruch. She was married to WHDH anchorman Bill Harrington.

I also remember the famed and widespread blackout of 1965. The conspiracy theory went around that UFOs were involved. It was actually caused by something far more prosaic but the UFO theory was fun. A few months later an episode of the then-popular TV series "Bewitched" was based on the blackout. They had it caused by bumbling witch Aunt Clara.

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Occasionally when Bozo (Avruch) was unable to host his show, his friend Nozo (Harrington) would guest host. I vaguely remembered that there was a "Nozo", but never knew the ID of the guy until reading about it recently.

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I remember Nozo but I never knew it was Harrington. Nozo had a blue nose instead of a red one. I somehow knew this even though in those days we only had a black and white TV. Another clown on the show was "Grandma Nellie".

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We were watching Bozo when suddenly the station went off the air, followed by complete darkness a few seconds later.

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Who have been on Major Mudd! I even got to wave the Major in!

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and some YouTube. I do fondly remember my punk-rock girlfriend from eons ago: we liked to wake and bake and watch the original Community Auditions in bed on Sunday, like church for us. "Star of the daaay...."

My late dad was pretty square, but showed occasional flashes of weirdness. When I was a tiny kid, he and I loved to watch The Ghoul, a no-budget indie production beamed in from Ohio on Channel 56: a kind of proto-Elvira doing goofy interstitial sketches for Z-grade horror and monster films. The Ghoul looked like Frank Zappa / Wolfman Jack in a fur turban. A recurring trope referred to the "Parma chrome ball", a lawn ornament beloved by Ohio working-class types: the shiny orb on a concrete pedestal. As adults, we bought Dad one in tribute to those Ghoul movies, which adorned his back yard for years, now in one of my brothers' possession. Memories!

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ok, as long as you mentioned old local TV shows, does anyone remember 'Feep'? When you're a kid, it was very scary.

When we were watching something scary on tv, my dad would whisper to one of us, 'Go down and check the cellar door.' We'd say, 'Daddy, no!'. Ah, the memories....did they scar me for life??

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down to the basement when I was little, which was dank and spooky, feebly lit by one naked light bulb dangling from a cord and throwing eerie shadows hiding the occasional gigantic spider. The woodpile was a source of abject terror. Nowadays, of course, none of them remembers doing any such horrible thing.

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Ed McDonnell, who was Major Mudd, was also the voice of Feep. I loved all the crummy old horror flicks, both those Feep hosted and later on Creature Double Feature on 56.

OK, not to turn this into "Trivia Time On U-Hub!", but who can tell us what song and what group played as the theme music on Creature Double Feature?

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com
(who was lucky enough to be on both Bozo and Boomtown)

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Maybe it’s all the weed over the years, but I seem to recall “Frankenstein “ by Edgar Winter as the Creature Double Feature theme. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

The old man was a Feep guy. My brother and I were insane about The Ghoul. “Stop telling your sister to climb fucking walls and scratch fucking glass and not to get caught or you’ll only have one lens in your glasses after I give you a slap!!!”

Good times.

Then I found out later that the Ghoul went on to be the ABC announcer who used to say “The Loooove Boat” and that his son is Paul Thomas Anderson who named his production company Ghoulardi.

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Great song, but that wasn't the theme music. That's all I'll say, in case someone else wants to take a shot at it. If nobody gives it by noon, I'll do so.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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Edgar Winter's Frankenstein was used in a bump or promo that played weekly during Creature Double Feature during the Dorman years like a list of birthdays or upcoming sci-fi conventions or something.

I just listened to the full album cut of the theme song. It is genuinely disturbing on it's own IMHO. Awesome trivia. I never knew.

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Toccata as performed by Emerson, Lake & Palmer. At around :30 and :55 it should trigger a memory or two.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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The Creature Double Feature theme was ELP's adaptation of a movement from Alberto Ginastera's 1st piano concerto, which they titled Tocatta.

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Well done!

Suldog
http://jimsudog.blogspot.com

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....EVA!!!
IMAGE(https://cbswods2.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/daledorman.jpg?w=420)

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For not remembering that because at the time I followed ELP around the East Coast on their tour! Still hurts to think of poor Keith.

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I was a big ELP fan, saw them a couple of times as a kid at the Providence Civic Center, including the Brain Salad Surgery tour that featured a live version of "Tocatta". Bless my parents for letting a wee lad go to such shows with my teenage older brothers.

One unforgettable highlight was the Flying Piano: Emerson and his grand piano being hoisted 20 feet above the stage, at which point he (strapped into his piano bench) did a passel of somersaults, the entire piano and him spinning around like a gymnast on a horizontal bar: great theater.

I was too young to even think of smoking weed in those days, but I imagine a contact high was possible from all the burning material in that arena. I'm fairly certain I got my first (indirect) cannabis buzz when I caught Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review at SMU (now UMass Dartmouth) with my eldest brother, an undergraduate there at the time: what a fog in that dinky space, maybe a thousand seats. (Google research update: it must have been the Main Auditorium, capacity 800.)

The most exciting part of that show for me was the sight of Mick Ronson onstage, still wearing his Spiders from Mars white-blond shag and spaceman costume alongside all those hoary folkies and hippie rockers. Still impressed that Dylan appreciated Ronson's incredible chops enough to include him, despite the sore-thumb optics.

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before my time. The Ghoul was actually Ron Sweed, a fan of and later a production assistant to Ghoulardi who eventually carried on his act as The Ghoul when Anderson departed OH for Hollywood.

Sweed clearly borrowed a lot of Anderson's original shtick, from the costume to the jokes about Parma chrome balls.

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I remember him from the Saturday night Great Entertainment in the 70's and 80's. Videotaped a bunch of great movies and probably still have some greatly degraded copies around somewhere. A great part of the origins of my ongoing love of old movies, along with weekend movie nights at the Harvard houses in the early 70s, the Central Square cinema (particularly for the Marx Brothers), the Brattle (the shrine of Bogie), the Movie Loft with Dana Carvey (who had been Willy the Whistle or something?) on channel 38, and the magnificent TCM for the last 20 years, after starting with the butchered showings on TV growing up in Chicago.

Went to a Wang Center presentation of, I think, Some Like It Hot (it's always Some Like It Hot) ages ago where they wheeled him out on stage to do the introduction. Surprised to hear he was still alive until now.

As for Bozo, the real deal was in Chicago (a huge center of early TV and early children's programming on TV). From Wikipedia: "The Chicago Bozo franchise was the most popular and successful locally produced children's program in the history of television. It also became the most widely known Bozo show as WGN-TV became a national cable television Superstation." There was a years-long waiting list for tickets when I was growing up in the 60's. The show ran in some variation or another until 2001.

A well-know but possibly apocryphal story related to the silly "Grand Prize Game" on the Chicago show. One of the contestants, having missed throwing a ping pong ball into a bucket, supposedly exclaimed "shit." To which Bozo said "That's a Bozo no-no." And the kid came back with "Cram it, clownie!" To this day, that story makes me laugh when I think about it.

Apologies for the Chicago digression. Fare well, Frank, and requiescat in pace.

--gpm

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Dana Hersey, not Dana Carvey!

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Can anyone identify the other clown?

IMAGE(https://i.pinimg.com/564x/59/37/5a/59375af33510345ed302546f0f31f6ee.jpg)

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Googles say early Willie Whistle but I do not buy it.

The transition from Salty to Willie did not involve much face change. It may be an early incarnation of Willie but I do not think the date of this pic supports that.

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Me neither.

I was unaware of Willie's earlier incarnation as Salty in Toledo until I googled trying to figure out your reference, thinking at first it had something to do with Channel 12's Salty Brine from RI.

Apparently Willie was portrayed by Dick Beach, whose name I will not use to perform a google image search.

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