Sad news for us Angelinos: the legendary Engineer Bill diedÔÇª what a drag.
Don't tell anyone but I was a Chuckles the Clown guy. There was something about him with that little carousel hat he wore tilted like some kind of hi-tone Stagga Lee pimp and with that thick white face makeup he was kind of the first 'glam' rock star ??que no?. Someday I'll tell you my Bozo Story.
Orale, the Bozo story. Well I was eight years old and in the cub scouts in East Los. They piled all of us in a pick-up truck and we were off to the Bozo Show at KTLA studios in Hollywood. Being an avid cartoon fan and clown aficionado I felt like I was in my element. The stage we were on seemed cavernous, a huge barn like building with lights, cameras, wires, cords and mike booms, people everywhere all in a hurry. I remember a sanitized smell and the sent of alcohol. Right in the middle was Bozo in this circus ring and a big treasure chest of toys he was giving away that day. There were Slinkies, Mr. Potato Head, Lincoln Logs, board games, model cars, Raggedy Ann and Andy, a pogo stick, various other toys and a beautiful metal flake blue 24-inch bicycle bulging out.
I can't tell you how excited I was. I just knew Bozo would pick me for the toy giveaway game. I had the look and the smile. I was outgoing and gregarious so of course he picked..... my cousin Joe Guzman.
Joe was a walking accident waiting to happen a real pigeon-toed nerd tall and lanky with wide horn rim glasses. Well this was live TV back in 1959 and we were jumping and screaming like little banshees. The director had gone over everything with us and it went in one ear and out the other.
Meanwhile Bozo was hitting the sauce pretty good. I made a pact with Joe for half the toys if I showed him how to toss a Frisbee into a barrel, which was the object of the game. Well during the long commercial that preceded, Joe did good, making 4 out of 5. He only needed to make 1 out of 3. Meanwhile Bozo was three sheets to the wind. He was getting more and more belligerent as the show progressed.
When it was Joe's turn to toss the Frisbee he misses by a mile, not even close. Bozo slurred his name and almost fell into the toy chest. I was devastated, hoping to be the first on that bike. Well in the span of a couple of minuets he mispronounced Joe's last name 3 times, but it wasn't a total loss. Joe received a consolation prize: a set of official Bozo jumping shoes that consisted of what looked like car springs attached to the bottom of bright red plastic shoes. Well, Joe broke his ankle the first day trying to bounce on them pinche things.
I remember thinking, "I wonder what Sheriff John has going on"