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Bonomo, The Magic Clown

The Magic Clown (Zovella) listens to a secret from his Genii puppet pal "Laffy" in this scene from NBC's The Magic Clown Show, circa, 1949.


On Saturday, September 27, 1958 "Bonomo, The Magic Clown" moved to WNTA TV Ch. 13 in Newark, N.J.

Originally titled "The Magic Clown", the series was seen Sunday Mornings on the NBC TV network from Sunday, September 11, 1949 to Sunday, June 27, 1954.

Set against the backdrop of a traveling circus "The Magic Clown" (played by a magician known only as Zovella) would engage his studio audiences and his viewers in magic tricks, games, songs and comedy skits along with plugs for the show's sponsor: "Bonomo Turkish Taffy".

Veteran radio announcer and actor Andre' Barruch was the show's announcer and oftimes the Magic Clown's foil in his magic tricks. Zovella played "The Magic Clown" until he left the show in 1952.

Dick Dubois took over the role of "The Magic Clown" in 1952 and he would host the show until 1954. Eventually, the show moved to WABD TV Ch. 5 where it was seen Sunday mornings until 1958.

The program then moved to WNTA Ch. 13 in Newark. The series was retitled "Bonomo, The Magic Clown" and the show was seen weekday afternoons (during Peanut Butter and Jelly time) from Monday, September 29, 1958 to Friday, July 24, 1959.

"Bonomo, The Magic Clown" was also seen Saturday mornings on Ch. 13 from Saturday, September 27, 1958 to Saturday, January 3, 1959. Comic/character actor, mimic, cartoonist and puppeteer Doug Anderson took on the role of "Bonomo, The Magic Clown" aided by his wife, actress and former model Gayle Anderson.

"Bonomo" (Doug) and his wife engaged their studio audiences in games, magic tricks, craftmaking, drawing lessons comedy and puppet skits, informational segments and interviews with in-studio guest personalities.

The show was a hit with NYC and NJ youngsters. Unfortunately, the show's format was tampered with, the Andersons had to do more promos for products and to take less monies for their efforts.

Angered by the creative interference, the Andersons refused to give in. Still, "Bonomo, The Magic Clown" was cancelled on Friday, July 24, 1959.

The series was revived one more time in the early 1970's as a syndicated series taped before a live studio audience in Canada. The role of "The Magic Clown" was performed by magician, escape artist, magic historian and the debunker of phony physics and faith healers "The Amazing (James) Randi".

Sadly, Mr. Randi's interpretation of "The Magic Clown" was not as popular with TV viewers. The show was on the air from 1970 to 1971.

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