Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Memoir Monday... The Man Behind the Nose by Larry "Bozo" Harmon

The Man Behind the Nose: Assassins, Astronauts, Cannibals,
and Other Stupendous Tales... by Larry "Bozo" Harmon

Do you remember that famous clown with the flaming red hair? I came across this interesting book and was caught by what I read. Bozo the Clown was an American icon and thus people might forget that there was a man behind the nose. To Larry Harmon that wasn't a problem, because he loved portraying the happy clown - he WAS Bozo. And this memoir, which you might first expect to be the "other side of the nose", telling us how awful life as the happy clown was, looks to be far from that. Here's how the publisher describes it...

Did you hear the one about when Bozo the Clown ran for President and two assassination attempts were made on his life?

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 shouldconsider 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 ethic—and how he changed the world.

Looks to me like Larry Harmon is still bringing smiles to people's faces with these wonderful tales of an extraordinary life. I remember Bozo the Clown as a little girl, and with a career that spanned 50 years, Bozo and Larry touched many peoples lives. I look forward to reading these larger than life, but true, tales! How about you? Do you remember Bozo the Clown?!

3 comments:

Julie P said...

What an interesting-sounding memoir! I can't wait to see what you think of it....

carla said...

I've never been too interested in clowns, but this with true life and behind the scenes sounds different.
Looking forward to reading your thoughts on it.

Suzanne said...

Hi Julie & Carla!
This really isn't my "normal" type of read, but yes, I thought it sounded like a different kind of story, and it should bring at least a smile to my face!

my read shelf:
Suzanne's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

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