Beware of Children Telling Jokes

f4028689-0007-4547-9d4c-745e660dc2f4-large16x9_BOZO6A Throwback Thursday Offering

When I was a kid, one of the top after-school TV shows was Bozo’s Circus. Bozo would cavort with forced glee in front of a live audience composed solely of screaming humans of the non-adult persuasion.

Between cartoons, he would engage in intellectually stimulating activities like “accidentally” hitting himself on the foot. But my favorite activity was Joke Time, during which the on-set meemies were invited to run up, face the camera, and blurt out their jolliest japes.

One day, as I tucked into my milk and cookies, a beefy ten-year-old (let’s call him Stevie) rushed forward, shouting, “Me! Me!” Bozo grinned, maybe (who could tell under all that greasepaint?), and said, “Go!”

“What’s green and hangs from trees?” Stevie shouted at the camera.

“I don’t know,” Bozo chortled. “What?”

“Elephant snot!” Stevie screamed. Then he stomped maniacally back to his seat, joining his supervillain-friends-in-training. Some of the boys laughed. Several girls cried. Bozo turned jelly bean green.

I snorted half a glass of milk into my lap.

After the commercial break, Bozo announced that henceforth all jokes must be whispered in his ear before they could be shared with TV land.

The actors who played Bozo changed regularly, by the way. This was necessary in order to allow the previous ones to attend AA meetings.

There are numerous urban legends about inappropriate kid behavior on the old Bozo show, especially the apocryphal “Cram it, clowny!” line, supposedly shouted by a bitter proto-Stevie who’d lost at Bozo Buckets. But I can attest to this one’s authenticity since I witnessed it first hand in the presence of my family’s gigantic 22″ vacuum tube TV. Incidentally, Stevie (or whatever his name is) is up for probation next year.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir, Popular Culture & Entertainment and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Beware of Children Telling Jokes

  1. lbeth1950 says:

    We had Sailor Bill. He was disgraced and we got Captain Talltower the next day.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We didn’t get much of Bozo out here in CA, but had our share of locally produced kid shows of about the same caliber. Many of the hosts retired early, left town and refused interviews.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. numrhood says:

    do you have a big 47″ vacuum tube tv

    Liked by 1 person

  4. DeniseBalog says:

    Captain Kangaroo was a favorite. In Philly we watched Sally Star and Chief Half town. Oh yea, personal Saturday morning favorite was Gene London with his “golden” fleece. Thanks for sharing and stirring up the memories Mitch!

    Liked by 2 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      Everyone loved the Captain! I just read up on Gene London; he sounds like a fun guy and talented cartoonist. We had a guy in L.A. named Tom Hatten who showed Popeye cartoons and drew like London did. Kids would scribble on a pad, then Hatten would make cartoons (“squiggles”) out of them. My wife and I stole that and did it with our kids when they were growing up.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Twinkletoes says:

    Poor me, I grew up with only a radio. 😉 Hmmm. I wonder exactly what happens to your emotions when you watch a kid show instead of just hearing it. Do the pictures make your remember more? ??? I remember waiting faithfully to hear Sky King and The Shadow mystery shows once to week. Another night was Jack Benny, the Hit Parade, and George and Gracie Allen. The funny thing was that I chose to sit close to the radio (It was actually in a piece of furniture the size of a chest.) the whole time instead of thinking of the radio as being portable like we do now.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. cricketmuse says:

    Do you remember Soupy Sales? Now that had some borderline entertainment which is more enjoyable now when I come across it on YouTube.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. @vapor_sage says:

    Mitch. since we grew up with similar selections on the tube in So. Cal. do you remember Hobo Kelly?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hilarious! Thanks for the great belly-laugh, Mitch!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Is this the show which inspired based Krusty the Clown in The Simpsons? Not sure whether to be glad or sad we didn’t have it in the UK!

    Liked by 2 people

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