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The Man Behind the Nose: Assassins, Astronauts, Cannibals, and Other Stupendous Tales Hardcover – August 17, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Igniter (August 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061896470
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061896477
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,186,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

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.

About the Author

Larry Harmon produced some 50,000 hours of local and international live children's television shows. He is best-known for his fifty-year-plus run as the driving force behind Bozo the World's Most Famous Clown. After purchasing the rights to the character, Harmon spread Bozo to almost 200 television stations all over the globe, including Greece, Thailand, and Brazil. Harmon also owned the Laurel & Hardy characters, produced the 1974 biopic It's Good to be Alive directed by Michael Landon, and made many other contributions to the entertainment world and popular culture. In 1996, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences awarded him a special outstanding achievement award for a long career that touched the hearts, mind, and funny bones of millions of people. Larry Harmon passed away on July 3, 2008.



Thomas Scott McKenzie has written for Premier Guitar, Tin House, Stuff, Paste, Sync, Inked, and other publications. McKenzie runs Slushpile.net, and he coauthored The Man Behind the Nose, the autobiography of Larry "Bozo the Clown" Harmon.


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Customer Reviews

I found the first half of the book boring.
Carol Dulcamara
And then I saw it in a bookstore and decided to flip through it while I tried to figure out which book I was really going to buy.
Josh Mills
Actually brought her from tears of joy to laughing out loud.
Charles M. Thayer, Jr.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Josh Mills on August 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'll be honest. I have had only the faintest interest in clowns in general, or in Bozo specifically. I had no real intention of buying this book.

And then I saw it in a bookstore and decided to flip through it while I tried to figure out which book I was really going to buy.

Ten minutes and 15 pages later, I realized that I should take this book home, lest I become a permanent fixture in in the store.

Because The Man Behind The Nose is only incidentally about a clown. Its actually about a stupendous badass of a man who wanted to do as much good and spread as much love and laughter as possible. Period. It so happened that the best way he could find to do that was with giant shoes and screamingly red hair. Bozo's real message was PULL, Peace, Understanding, Love, and Laughter. Clowning was the ideal medium to take that message to the widest possible audience. Bozo understood that the easiest way to affect humanity was by working with children. Grown ups are, well, grown up. Their growing is mostly done. Children, however, children often don't have the faintest idea of what to expect from the world. So why not tell them that it is full of love and laughter, of peace and understanding? For every child that grows up carrying that vision of humanity, there is one less person growing up in anger, in hatred, in fear, or in shame.

And that is worth wearing any number of red noses and silly costumes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Mayes on August 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have always been aware of Bozo as maybe the most famous and recognizable clowns of all times, but I knew virtually nothing about "The man behind the nose". I never expected to find a clown or a clown franchiser so fascinating, but Larry Harmon lived a strange and extraordinary life. I liked Harmon from the beginning to end of the book... I liked his type A personality, his need for very little sleep and his love for spreading laughter. This book made me feel inspired and even for a cynic, I believed most of the stories (accompanied with some great pictures) and allowed myself to get swept up in his world, which I felt made me a slightly (but only slightly) better person in the end.

I was most impressed with his business savvy and the idea of franchising the clown across the globe... it's seems like a rather genius business model. Although the tales can be tall sometimes, it didn't hinder the fun I had.

In addition to being an easy read and riveting story, the book is surprisingly well written and the enthusiasm that drives Harmon's (and Thomas Scott McKenzie's) prose is contagious and inspirational. The book made me feel overwhelmingly happy and I would recommend this book to anyone, any age... it's awesome all round. I wish I could find more books of this caliber!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brett Eidman on September 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I worked as a Bozo for Larry Harmon for over three years (early 90's). I got to know the man pretty well. Countless hours in his NYC home and on the phone. It was an up and down wacky time in my life. I was excited and looking forward to reading this book. I have always been interested in Bozo history. This book had a few interesting moments but I was disappointed that the book had little to no emotion. I guess that I was hoping for a biography on Larry Harmon and not just a dozen or so Bozo tales. There was a side to Larry that very few people knew and this book will certainly keep it that way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ploop on August 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book brings back so many wonderful childhood memories of Bozo the clown. As a child, or even as an adult, I don't think I ever stopped to really think about the man behind the nose. What an interesting man who had so many unique experiences and stories. The was a beautifully written book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I highly recommend reading this book, and it would also make a wonderful gift (the book cover is so fun!) for anyone who has memories of Bozo from childhood.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Biggs on August 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A lot of folks my age haven't thought of Bozo in years, but he's the definitive clown. This is a heartwarming look at Larry Harmon's life as Bozo. It's well-written, readable, and tells the untold story of the man behind the nose.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alan W. Petrucelli on September 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Larry Harmon's name may not be instantly recognizable, but his alter-ego, Bozo the Clown, is indelible. Big red bulbous nose, bigger red mouth, biggest red hair. He played Bozo for Columbia Records, then bought the character, franchised it to TV stations across the world and made millions and dollars, taking Bozo all over the world, under the sea and almost to the moon. (He even went deep into the bowels of the jungles of New Guinea and bonded with dangerous cannibal tribes; in Thailand, Bozo's size 83 AAA shoes saved him from being swallowed whole by a clown-craving python.) Harmon/Bozo made people happy, made them smile. No wonder Bozo was Caroline Kennedy's favorite childhood show. Long after the last page is turned, Harmon's philosophy remains: "I never get depressed; I don't even get pessimistic about things. . . . I'm convinced there is a better way. If it seems like something isn't working out, I don't mope around about t. I just rack my brain to devise a strategy to make it work." Honk it he makes you happy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Turner on September 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wasn't jumping out of my chair to read this one, but I'm glad I did. From the first few pages, Larry Harmon's story is motivating, entertaining and nearly unbelievable. A quick read, this book is a great gift for those looking to re-live childhood memories, as well as anyone interested in reading an account of what a person with amazing motivation and drive can accomplish.
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