Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday Fun - Bozo, Ho, Ho

The photo at the left comes from a gallery titled "Santa Trauma" that we have on baltimoresun.com in which readers can upload shots of unhappy visits to St. Nick. I don't know who the terrified tot is, but I'm sure many of you can relate.

I can. Of our three kids, Courtland, our oldest, was the one who was most spooked by Santa. He was also suspicious of the Easter Bunny and Bozo the Clown. Perhaps the most traumatic event of his youth involved both Santa and Bozo.

We lived in Chicago when Courtland was born. And if you've ever spent time in that city, you might know that Bozo holds a special place in the hearts of Chicago residents. For years and years the clown had a Sunday morning show on WGN TV, and getting tickets to the show was nearly as difficult as scoring front-row seats to the seventh game of a World Series (but who in Chicago would know that?).

WGN was and is owned by Tribune Company, which also owned the paper where I worked. Every Christmas, the company held a party for employees' families, during which children lined up to visit not only Santa, but Bozo. They were seated side-by-side - a double whammy that was certain to scare the bejeezus out of nervous little tykes.

Courtland fretted while we stood in line with him and his sister Flannery, but he held it together pretty well during the dual lap-sittings, as you can see from the photo at the right. His trauma came afterward.

The party started winding down and we were on our way out of the building, walking down a long hallway. As we neared an intersection with another corridor, suddenly spinning around the corner was Bozo and his entourage!

Courtland stopped dead in his tracks, as did the clown, who in his big Bozo voice said, "Hi there!" All the color drained from Court's face and he stood stone still and silent, his fingers clamped vise-tight on my hand.

A few seconds later, Bozo and his posse took off. Marcy said to Courtland, "That was so cool! Bozo stopped and talked to you!"

Courtland quickly corrected her. "No. No he didn't. He was talking to dad."

The boy was obviously shaken by the encounter, so we didn't say anything else about it and went on out to the car.

As we're driving home, from the backseat, Courtland finally says, "Did you see his hair? It was really red."

Marcy and I looked at each other. "Yes. It sure was red."

A few more minutes of silence.

"Did you see his feet?," Courtland asked. "They were really big."

"Yes. They were really big," said Marcy.

And that was it.

There's little reason to fear Bozo these days. His show's been off the air in the Windy City for several years. Courtland's 12 years older now and we live in Baltimore. Even if Bozo were to show up this Christmas, with that hair and those big feet, he'd never fit down our chimney.

6 comments:

Flannery said...

Daddy!!!! I look like a boy in that picture of me and Courtland!!!!!!!!

Erika W. said...

I used to love the Bozo show! My favorite was watching the game at the end- where they tossed pingpong balls into those graduated buckets. I always wished I could be on that show to do that once. :-)

Sullicom said...

Bozo Buckets! I had friends who used to practice and practice in hopes they'd get on the show and get their shot at stardom. I forget - what did you win if you got all the way to the end? There was some local cookie company that they were always hawking, but I can't recall the name - Mother's? If you know, please tell me because this is one of those things that'll keep me up at night.

Sullicom said...

Archway Cookies!

Momo said...

Your right flan !!!!!!!! You do look like a boy!!!!!!!!! LOL!

marcydbaer said...

No she doesn't look like a boy - she's wearing a dress! And she was only 9 months old at the time, so her hair hadn't grown in yet.