Eve Arden Show on DVD June Cleaver book

Peabody & Sherman cartoons on DVD Suicide Squad Greensboro Book by Billy Ingram Classic Commercials on DVD Mr Peabody on DVD Looney Tunes Golden Ed

NYC's First Bozo Bill Britten
Tribute To Johnny Jellybean
And NYC's First Bozo Bill Britten

by Kevin S. Butler

Bill Britten / Johnny JellybeanIn 2020, NYC kids' TV suffered another loss. Entertainer Bill Britten, best remembered as the third host/performer of WABC TV's "Time For Fun!" and as "Bozo The Clown" on WPIX TV Ch.11 passed away on February 4, 2020. The Son of an opera singer and actor, he was born William Cohen in Philadelphia, Pa. In 1928.

From his earliest days, Bill had a natural ability to perform for his family and friends…"The first thing that I use to do around the neighborhood and at parties. "I would do imitations of Eddie Cantor, Fred Allen and Jimmy Durante." Britten recalled in a January 24, 1988 interview.

Bill was also influenced by the film comedies of Laurel & Hardy, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, The Ritz Brothers and The Marx Brothers, which he watched at the local bijou and later in film society gatherings that were supervised by film historian and lecturer Prof. William K. Everson.

He was also influenced by the classic comedy skits of the host/performer of Max Leiberman's and NBC TV's "Your Show Of Shows" Sid Caesar. During his hiatus from college, he worked as a social director at ", pantomiming lip syncs to Spike Jones' "Cocktails For Two" and other popular recordings, creating activities and performing zany stunts for the guests.

"We had shows seven nights a week, we had a staff of three or four [on] Saturday's big show, on Wednesday a smaller show, and then on Monday we had "Can You Top This?" night where everyone would try to top each other by telling jokes and we'd have costumes balls, all kinds of comedy skits, [I] never had a night off".

Bill even performed the classic routine "Niagara Falls / Slowly I Turn" and the Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis rendition of "Sonny Boy".

 

His college studies and his work as a social director were interrupted by serving in the U.S. Air Force during WWII. Instead of fighting in the infantry he created, produced, wrote and performed in stage shows for the US military "All around the country".

After the war, Bill returned to college to complete his studies and he continued working as a social director at Wantashanta Lodge. He later enrolled at The University of Washington in Seattle where he performed as a nightclub comedian and he also took lessons in puppetry with the first puppeteer of "Howdy Doody", Frank Paris. He soon performed with the college's puppet theater around the state.

It was also during this time that he was first introduced to clowning. "The first job that I had as a clown, I was in graduate school at The University of Washington in Seattle in order [for me] to pay to make my living expenses. I would play club dates as a comic and I found out that there was a chain of gas stations out there and they needed clowns for gas station openings," he explained.

Bill found an old dress suit and a beat up black top hat and a large red ball at the local Salvation Army store in Seattle and made himself up as a tramp clown. He added some skits and won an audition to perform for the gas station franchise. He was also in demand for birthday parties in the Seattle area and his tramp clown character was utilized to promote the kids' TV shows that were debuting on KING TV Ch. 10.

His talents in puppetry, pantomime, comedy and creating games and activities came in handy when he moved to NYC and won a job as the puppeteer on Chuck and Jack Luchsinger's kiddie show, "Jolly Gene & His Fun Machine".

Bozo the Clown TV show"I use to subscribe to books, I would go to the library to look at children's books," Britten explained. "I would buy and read anything that I would get my hands on for the kinds of games I would create for the shows".

During his tenure on "Time For Fun" Bill would have a "Construction Day" where he would encourage his viewers to create simple items from construction paper, cardboard, and other items around the house.

In a recently found TV kinnie film print of "Time For Fun," Johnny Jellybean (Bill) showed his club members (viewers) how to make a crumb catcher (a dust pan) from a paper plate that was cut into two sections with safety scissors then colored with crayons.

 

He also played games with the kids watching at home and would read off the viewers' birthdays from his birthday book on his desk.

Meals during the lunchtime segment were prepared by a nutritionist and they were listed on the bulletin board on the wall of the clubhouse the meals were healthy except for the mixing of either "Cocomarsh" or "Bosco" into the glass of milk that were served on every program.

"Johnny Jellybean" would also perform comedy skits and have contests. He would also screen Walter Lantz cartoons featuring "Oswald The Lucky Rabbit" and performed puppet skits with two characters "Oscapuss" and "Slowky Pokey" the puppets were manipulated and voiced by Bill, created by Sandy Pop and by sculpture Dom Facci.

Britten's version of the program..became the top rated local kids TV series in the NYC viewing area with the young viewers and with adults.

He continued to mc the show until he left in the summer of 1958 and joined WABD/WNEW TV 5 to serve as the third host & performer of Ch.5's popular series "The Looney Tunes Show", "Bugs Bunny Presents" and Ch.5's Sunday morning kids variety program "Wonderama".

COMING NEXT: PART TWO
Bill Britton as Host of Wonderama


 

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!


PR4 & PR5 Pages for Advertising

 

 


Video Vault / Holiday Specials / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Lost Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / More Modern TV Shows / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!
Classic TV!

Television's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the Seventies / The Eighties / TVafterparty / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments
1950's TV Shows / Fess Parker & Davy Crockett / Jack Benny Program / Highway Patrol / Betty Hutton Show / 1952 Olympics Telethon / Amos 'n' Andy / Little Rascals & Our Gang / Howdy Doody / The First Batman Movie From 1943 / Who Was the REAL Aunt Jemima? / Freedomland USA / John Wayne Won Lassie in a Poker Game! / Lucy's Sitcom Before I Love Lucy / The Lone Ranger / 1950s Shows I NEED To See / Jack Lemmon & Billy Wilder on Marilyn Monroe / So This Is Hollywood / When Jerry Lewis Ceased To Be Funny / The Plainclothesman / Buck Rogers in the 25th Century / First Solo Female Series / Kuda Bux / Was the 1959 Santa Claus Movie Too Christian?!? / TV During WWII / Top Ten TV Shows 1950s / Jack Larson's Suprising Life As Superman's Jimmy Olsen in the 1950s / Judy Garland's 2nd TV Special and Las Vegas Debut / Early Network News Broadcasts / Lost Desilu Sitcom: Those Whiting Girls / Lost Superboy Pilot / The Shadow 1954 Pilot / KTLA News / Tribute to Sandy Becker / The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu / / O.Henry Playhouse / NYC's First Bozo Bill Britten / The Magical Land of Alakazam! / 1950s and 60s Bloopers / TV's First Working Woman / Cannonball - 1950s Trucking Drama / Sonny Fox Kid Shows / Lauren Bacall on Bette Davis / Sunset Boulevard Explained / Abbott & Costello TV Show / The Three Stooges: The Where They Were / The First 'Black' Show - Beulah / Women on TV in the 1950s / The Today Show / Hey Jeannie / The Jeannie Carson Show / TV's First Educator Paul Tripp / Ernie Kovacs / Soap Opera Miss Susan / Adventures of Superman Lost Episode / Bette Davis vs Ronald Reagan / Captain Z-Ro / Obscure Actress Mary Castle / Serious 1950s TV shows / Remembering David Susskind / TV's First Rerun Series / The Ken Murray Budweiser Show / Saturday Morning Serials / Two Variety Shows of the Fifties / Game Shows of the Fifties /1950's TV Wrestling / Greensboro's Soda Pop History / Mr. Adams and Eve / TV's First Star / Oh Susanna! the Gale Storm Show / Bob Hastings / TV's First Star / History of the Laugh Track / The First Interactive Video Game / Designing Winky-Dink / Buffalo Bob Smith / The McKimson Brothers & Animation / Interview with a Show Business Legend / The Soundies / Snaders Telescriptions / Steve Allen Interviewed / Racket Squad / December Bride / The Big Show / Beverly Garland & Decoy / Richard Crenna & The Real McCoys / Roger Muir / Noel Coward's 1955 TV Special / Jon Provost Interview / 1950's TV Shows on DVD / Oh Susanna! The Gale Storm Show / 1950's Old Time TV Thanksgiving / Outrageous 1950's Commercial! / The Real Superman? / Mickey Mouse Club's Cheryl / Gale Storm / Captain Allen Swift / NYC's St. Patrick's Day Parade Telecasts / Julie London / The Goldbergs / 1950's Female Singers / The Dead End Kids / Bowery Boys / Fred Allen / Ed Wynn / Mr. Belvedere Movies / Art Linkletter / The Bickersons / Marty & Live TV / George Gobel & Red Buttons / Barbara Billingsley / Billy Gray Interview / Abbott & Costello Show / The Honeymooners / Three Stooges' Joe Besser / Whirlybirds / Burns & Allen Show
Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / 1970's TV / Groucho vs William F Buckley / / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / What's In Oprah's Purse? / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / North Carolina Actors / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Soupy Sales / The Carpenters / Route 66 / Bozo / The Carpenters Christmas Specials / Local Kid Shows / Death of TV's Superman / Wonderama / Sesame Street / Bob Hope Specials / Little Rascals / Gay Icon T-Shirts / Alex Toth Book / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Lucy's Lost Christmas Special / Classic Christmas Toy Commercials / Cricket On The Hearth / 1950's Holiday Shows / Amahl and the Night Visitors / A Christmas Carol on TV / The Yule Log / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More!

Classic TV Shows on DVD

Get it here!

SAVE MONEY
ON EVERYTHING!

TV Commercials on DVD Lost In Space on DVD Mr Peabody on DVD Carol Burnett Show on DVD Carol Burnett Show on DVD Mary Tyler Moore Show on DVD Rat Pack Golddiggers Book RAT PACK GOLDDIGGERS

/ / / TV Blog / / / TV Shows on DVD / / / TV Show Reviews

Looking for classic TV on DVD?/See below:
TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!
Contact Us / Classic TV DVDs

TV Blog
June Cleaver book