Friday, July 4, 2008

Larry Harmon, RIP

Yesterday, July 3, Larry Harmon, AKA Bozo the Clown, died of congestive heart failure. Although not the original Bozo, he was perhaps the most well-known of Bozo actors. He was 83 years old.

Many of you familiar with the Gallery of the Absurd know that clowns are one of my favorite targets...and that I think they're pretty damned scary. Still, I liked Bozo and even watched his television show every now and again, just for fun. I know that today is July 4th, and maybe I should feature an weird image or two that highlights the fact that this is Independence day. But in honor of Bozo, I thought I'd present you with a few clown-related advertisements. (If you want your patriotic fix for the day, go see Sammy McCracker.) This isn't meant as a dig at Bozo/Harmon. Far from it. But just think of it as my own twisted homage to this country's most beloved clown....Gallery of the Absurd-style!

The first ad is an oldie but a goodie from the original Gallery of the Absurd. It is from one of the innumerable junk catalogs that I receive in the mail, although now I can't remember which one:
When it comes right down to it, I guess there's really nothing inherently absurd about this. But what a hell of a way to scar your kid for life.

But if you want frightening, here's a more recent advertisement. In spring of 2007, Adobe launched an ad campaign for their new Creative Suite 3. Part of the campaign featured this little bit of psychotic goodness:
The Adobe folk claimed that this clown/jester wasn't a new mascot, but was instead an example of the kind of creativity possible with their updated software. I don't know about you, but if this is the possible outcome of technology, I'll become a Luddite. Go ahead, take a good, long, closer look:
The picture should speak for itself.

And if you think that's disturbing, check this out. Evan Saxton, a fan of the original Gallery of the Absurd, found this sticker on the package of an action figure released when Spawn, the Movie came out:
Pennywise, John Wayne Gacey...violator clown. The circle is complete.

But wait, there's more! Here's a commercial from the fun folks at Sony, advertising their Bravia LCD television not long ago:

A clown running around, causing destruction in a rain of many colors. I don't know about you, but I see the colorful downpour at the end of this commercial as something akin to acid rain...or perhaps even nuclear fallout. Who says clowns aren't evil?

And finally, perhaps the scariest clown-related ad for today. Back in the late 1990s, when McDonald's was trying to sell their Arch Deluxe hamburger (a campaign targeted at a more adult audience), I came across this disturbing bit of marketing and featured it prominently on the Arch Deluxe Hate Page, a former specialty section of the Gallery. On the McDonald's Website they featured instructions for an Arch Deluxe line dance:
This has got to be one of the most unnerving things the McD corporation has ever come up with. Have you checked the children?

Larry Harmon - 1925-2008
Goodnight, sweet prince!

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