TIMELINE
1940s
1950s
1960s
1970s
1980s
1990s
2000s

IMAGES

AUDIO/VIDEO

1980

TV Powww! ends its one-year run on WGN-TV’s "Bozo’s Circus" and "Ray Rayner and His Friends."

A cast of thousands returns to ChicagoFest for another live WGN-TV broadcast of "Bozo’s Circus." Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne makes a guest appearance.

WGN-TV's "Bozo’s Circus" is renamed "The Bozo Show" and moves to weekday mornings. The program is taped and played back at 8:00 a.m.

In an effort to help raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association during the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon, WGN-TV invites its viewers to drop off a donation and meet Bozo (Bob Bell) and Cooky (Roy Brown) in-person at a drive-through setup at the WGN Studios parking lot. The daylong event causes a traffic jam on Addison Street near the studios. Later in the evening, WGN-TV’s telethon host Roy Leonard begs viewers to stop coming.

WGN-TV suspends studio audience reservations for "The Bozo Show" at an eight-year wait.

Ray Rayner tapes his final "Ray Rayner and His Friends" and leaves Chicago television in December. (This show can be viewed at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.)

1981

WGN-TV’s "Ray Rayner and His Friends" ends an 18-year run in January.

The Garfield Goose puppets perform for the last time on WGN-TV’s "Bozo Show."

The format of "The Bozo Show" is modified. The program expands to 90 minutes and moves to weekdays at 7:00 a.m. The opening theme is replaced with an instrumental version of a song promoting WGN-TV’s children’s shows. A circular audience-surrounded stage replaces the circus set, forcing the Grand March finale to be dropped. The circus acts are also dropped, while Cuddly Dudley and more cartoons are added. Bob Bell provides live time-checks, weather and sports reports. The Bozoputer replaces the Magic Arrows as the contestant selector for the Grand Prize Game. $50 and a Schwinn bike are the prizes offered in Bucket #6. Reruns replace new shows during summer, extending studio audience reservations to 10 years.

1982

"Donahue" ends an eight-year run on WGN-TV.

1983

Chicago Sun-Times newspaper columnist Robert Feder reports that Bob Bell may retire from broadcasting at the end of the 1983-84 season of WGN-TV’s "Bozo Show."

The opening theme of WGN-TV’s "Bozo’s Circus" is reinstated on "The Bozo Show."

The Wall Street Journal publishes a front-page article and CNN features a story on Bob Bell and WGN-TV’s "Bozo Show."

Pat Hurley, formerly with ABC-TV’s "Kids Are People Too," joins WGN-TV’s "Bozo Show" primarily to interview kids in the studio audience.

WGN-TV ends its 11-year boycott of the Chicago Emmy Awards.

1984

The nationally syndicated "Entertainment Tonight" features a story on Bob Bell and WGN-TV’s "Bozo Show."

Ray Rayner makes a guest appearance on WGN-TV’s "Bozo Show."

A new circus set replaces the circular audience-surrounded stage and the Grand March finale is reinstated on WGN-TV’s "Bozo Show."

Bob Bell retires from broadcasting while "The Bozo Show" is #1 in its time slot. Chicago Tribune Magazine features a cover story written by Bill Zehme. On Wednesday, April 4, local and national media jam WGN-TV's Studio One to cover Bob Bell's final show taping as Bozo. The final sketch involves a pie fight and Bell, covered with shaving cream, leads his final Grand March. (This program can be viewed at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.)

WGN-TV airs "Bozo: The Man Behind the Makeup," a 30-minute prime time WGN News documentary on Bob Bell. (The special can be viewed at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.)

The Chicago Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Board of Directors presents Bob Bell their highest honor, the Governors’ Award, during a live broadcast of the 26th annual Chicago Emmy Awards at the Hyatt Regency Chicago on WBBM-TV (CBS) in Chicago. (This segment can be viewed at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.)

Joey D’Auria of Pasadena, California is chosen to portray WGN-TV’s Bozo after a three-month nationwide search. In 1982, D’Auria performed a comedy routine as Dr. Flameo on NBC-TV’s "Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson" after winning first place for it on NBC-TV’s "Gong Show." ("The Tonight Show" performance can be viewed at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.)

On Wednesday, September 5, Joey D’Auria tapes his first "Bozo Show" at WGN-TV’s Studio One.

Bozo (Joey D’Auria) visits Chicago Cubs play-by-play announcers Harry Caray and Steve Stone in the WGN-TV broadcast booth at Wrigley Field in Chicago during a telecast.

1985

On Wednesday, April 3, William Frazier Thomas passes away at the age of 66 in Chicago.

WGN-TV airs "Frazier Thomas: A Family Classic," a 30-minute prime time WGN News documentary. (The special can be viewed at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.)

The City Council of the City of Chicago passes a resolution naming West Bradley Place, between North Talman Avenue and North Campbell Avenue, "Frazier Thomas Place."

Frazier Thomas’ wife Anne Thomas accepts the prestigious Governors’ Award on behalf of her late husband during a live broadcast of the 27th annual Chicago Emmy Awards at the Hyatt Regency Chicago on WBBM-TV (CBS) in Chicago.

WGN Radio personality and WGN-TV entertainment critic Roy Leonard takes over Frazier Thomas’ role as host of WGN-TV’s "Family Classics."

1986

On Sunday, September 7, live from Medinah Temple in Chicago, "The Bozo 25th Anniversary Special" is on the air. Bob Bell, Oliver (Ray Rayner), Sandy (Don Sandburg), Ringmaster Ned Locke, Bob Trendler and his Big Top Band join Bozo (Joey D'Auria), Cooky (Roy Brown), Wizzo (Marshall Brodien) and Pat Hurley for a two-hour prime time WGN-TV broadcast. Actors Tim Reid and Mary Gross co-host with a guest appearance by Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, who proclaims September 2 through 7 "Bozo Week" in Chicago. Via videotape, actors and Chicago area natives Bill Murray, his brother Brian Doyle-Murray, Daryl Hannah and Tim Kazurinsky share their good wishes and memories of watching WGN-TV’s "Bozo’s Circus." Two contestants among the 4,000 audience members are chosen by the Magic Arrows for the Grand Prize Game. $100 and a trip for four to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida are the prizes offered in Bucket #6. The special, produced by Thea Flaum and Tom Weinberg and directed by Ron Weiner, is WGN-TV’s first stereo broadcast. (This show can be viewed at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago and the Museum of Television and Radio in New York and Beverly Hills, California.)

WGN Radio returns to Tribune Tower in downtown Chicago.

1987

Pat Hurley leaves WGN-TV.

WGN-TV’s "Bozo Show" returns to a 60-minute format and remains on weekdays at 7:00 a.m.

A synthesizer performed by Andy Mitran as Professor Andy replaces the three-piece Big Top Band on WGN-TV’s "Bozo Show."

Nationally syndicated newspaper columnist Bob Greene devotes a column to WGN-TV’s "Bozo Show."

Bozo's Grand March for Kids at Pioneer Court in Chicago collects four truckloads of toys and over $30,000 in cash donations for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Church Federation of Greater Chicago. Harry Caray makes a guest appearance and plays the Grand Prize Game during a live 30-minute WGN-TV broadcast of the event. (This telecast can be viewed at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.)

Frazier Thomas’ widow Anne Thomas donates the "Garfield Goose and Friends" puppets to the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.

1988

Bozo (Joey D’Auria), Cooky (Roy Brown), Ray Rayner and Ned Locke appear at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago during the museum’s "Forty Years: WGN-TV & Chicago" exhibition. (The appearances were taped and can be viewed at the museum.)

WGN-TV’s "Bozo Show" receives an Emmy at the 30th annual Chicago Emmy Awards at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago.

WGN-TV "Bozo Show" viewer Kathy Henning collects 10,000 signatures and petitions Bozo (Joey D’Auria) to allow Cooky (Roy Brown) the rare opportunity to lead the Grand March finale.

Geraldo Rivera nearly gets "pied" by Bozo (Joey D'Auria) and Cooky (Roy Brown) on the prime time special "WGN-TV: Chicago's Very Own at 40."

WGN-TV’s Bozo (Joey D’Auria) participates in two Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts at Orchestra Hall in Chicago.

Bozo's Grand March for Kids, held at the WGN-TV Studios parking lot, collects approximately $230,000 in toys and donations for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Church Federation of Greater Chicago. An estimated 7,000 people brave freezing temperatures to meet "The Bozo Show" cast.

1989

The New York Times publishes a feature story on WGN-TV’s "Bozo Show."

WGN-TV’s Bozo (Joey D’Auria) and Allen Hall are flown to Washington, D.C. for a guest appearance on CBS-TV’s "CBS News Nightwatch," hosted by Charlie Rose. (This segment can be viewed at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.)

WGN-TV’s Bozo (Joey D’Auria) makes a guest appearance as David Letterman's Chicago tour guide for a taped segment on NBC-TV’s "Late Night with David Letterman." (This show can be viewed at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.)

$100 and a Schwinn bike are the prizes offered in the Grand Prize Game's Bucket #6 on WGN-TV’s "Bozo Show."

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley proclaims December 16 "Bozo’s Grand March for Kids Day" in Chicago. The toy-drive at the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois collects more than $120,000 in toys and donations for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Church Federation of Greater Chicago. WGN-TV’s "Bozo Show" cast greets an estimated 14,000 attendants.

 

� 2001 WGN Television
"Bozo" TM & � 2001 LHPC
All Rights Reserved.