book review of The Man Behind the Nose: Assassins, Astronauts, Cannibals, and Other Stupendous Tales, written by Larry Harmon
Although Larry Harmon was instrumental to the success of Bozo the Clown, I personally think of him in similar terms to P.T. Barnum — a great promoter, who was not above bending the truth in order to tell a riveting story, or in promoting himself or someone else. I treat the information in The Man Behind the Nose in that same vein; it’s enjoyable, but it’s not necessarily the gospel truth. That’s not to say that the entire book is false, or not worth reading — quite the contrary. But like reading any other celebrity’s autobiography, it’s best to take it with a grain of salt.
Product Description of The Man Behind the Nose: Assassins, Astronauts, Cannibals, and Other Stupendous Tales
How about the time Bozo flew into the perilous jungles of New Guinea to see if he could not just survive but actually bond with dangerous cannibal tribes?
Well then, you must know about the time his size 83 AAA shoes saved him from being swallowed whole by a giant, murderous python in Thailand, right?
Then I guess you might not know as much as you think about the world’s most famous clown. Sure, you know the giant shoes, the red bulbous nose, the big ruby smile, and the twin shocks of red yak-hair bursting from the sides of his head. And obviously you know the many clowns inspired by him, from Ronald McDonald to Krusty the Clown.
So perhaps it’s time you learned about Bozo, and the man behind the nose. Because the wild, inspirational stories in this book are all true. As real as the nose on your face.
One day, Larry Harmon, a World War II private harboring dreams of becoming a doctor, met the most famous entertainer of the time, Al Jolson. After seeing the young man on stage, Jolson told him he should consider a career change.
“Being a doctor of medicine is honorable,” Jolson advised. “But you’ll touch so many more lives as a doctor of laughter!”
A decade later, Jolson’s prophecy came true when Larry Harmon, trying to make it as an actor in Hollywood, auditioned to portray a character named Bozo the Capitol Clown.
The character spoke so much to Larry that he simply became it – overnight. He soon turned Bozo into a cultural icon, creating one of the biggest children’s television franchises in the world. But that was only the beginning.
In this unputdownable book, which Harmon completed just before his death at age eighty-three, are far more incredible stories of astronauts, cannibals, celebrities, assassins, and deep-sea divers – all encountered in full Bozo regalia, and with photos to prove it.
Not only is Harmon’s life by turns incredible and hilarious, it’s also an inspirational testament to the power of one man’s positive attitude, dedication, and work ethicâand how he changed the world.
About the Author
Larry Harmon produced some 50,000 hours of local and international live children’s television shows. He is best-known for his fifty-year-plus run as the driving force behind Bozo the World’s Most Famous Clown. After purchasing the rights to the character, Harmon spread Bozo to almost 200 television stations all over the globe, including Greece, Thailand, and Brazil. Harmon also owned the rights to the Laurel & Hardy characters, produced the 1974 biopic It’s Good to be Alive directed by Michael Landon, and made many other contributions to the entertainment world and popular culture. In 1996, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences awarded him a special outstanding achievement award for a long career that touched the hearts, mind, and funny bones of millions of people. Larry Harmon passed away on July 3, 2008.