Review of Bozo Shows 4-5-6 – release of the live action Bozo the Clown TV show on video/DVD
[Editor’s note: this has been superseded by Bozo: the World’s Most Famous Clown, volume 1 – a 4-DVD release]
This DVD is a compilation of several of the live action “Bozo the Clown” TV series out of Boston, Massachusetts, from the 1960’s. I, personally, grew up with WGN-TV’s Bob Bell as Bozo the Clown out of Chicago, and had no previous experience with Boston’s Bozo, Frank Avruch . I was pleasantly surprised.
The basic format is the same—at “Bozo’s Circus” there is an introductory skit or two, followed by a “classic” Bozo cartoon, followed by the ‘Bozo Treasure Chest’ game, ending with another skit. Frank Avruch does an excellent job, with a different cast of characters than I am used to— Professor Tweetiefoofer , a combination of magician and mad scientist, Ruth Carlsson, who juggles, unicycles, and fills in otherwise as needed, Mr. Lion, who is a talented speed artist, and several others. Some of the moments are unintentional, such as when a young boy is too eager to help, or as Bozo is seated among the children and they are all trying to touch his orange Yak hair.
The three episodes included on the DVD work well, and are very entertaining, containing some classic clown skits. The only negative that I have to make about the DVD is the animated 3-D cartoons. Larry Harmon is working on a new, computer animated series of Bozo cartoons, which is fine. The DVD uses short clips of the computer animation to connect the segments together, where the commercials originally were—this, too, is fine. What is not fine is superimposing the computer animated characters on top of the live action, on a very frequent basis. This was very distracting. Other than that, the actual audio and video quality of the live action was very good, and much better than I was expecting, although a few of the “classic cartoons” were fuzzy at times.
Bonus Material on the DVD
Bozo on Bozo (short video monologues by Larry Harmon), Bozo Jukebox (contains short samples from each of the songs on the music CD “Down with the Clown“), a preview of the Bozo.com web site (which is still not operational)
Overall, I was very impressed with Frank Avruch’s portrayal of Bozo, and with the DVD as a whole. My children, ages 4, 7, and 9, watched with rapt attention, and wanted to watch it over and over, which is probably the best recommendation I can give it. I rate it four clowns—if it hadn’t been for the repeated overlay of the computer animation over the live action, it would have been five.