The Magic Clown - A clever magician known as Zovella starred
in a 15-minute "fill-in" series for children called THE MAGIC
CLOWN/NBC/1949-54. Broadcast live from New York City, the program was set
amidst a circus backdrop filled with games, songs, puppets,
tricks and, of course, lots of free' Bonomo' Turkish Taffy candy courtesy
of the sponsor, Bonomo Candies. The word "Bonomo' was the
show's "magic word" - used often by the show's host,
The Magic Clown.
Children from the audience assisted Zovella with his magical tricks.
Also on hand was Laffy, the Genii, Zovella's hand puppet who
joked with the kids on the show.
Richard DuBois assumed the role of "The Magic Clown" in 1952.
Veteran radio broadcaster Andre Baruch was the announcer on the show
until 1954. The series was produced by Al Garry and Nat Eisenberg.
After the show ended in 1952, it continued to air on WABD TV Ch. 5
in New York City until 1958 and then on WNTA Ch. 13 in Newark, New
Jersey from 1958 to 1959 with puppeteer Doug Anderson as 'Bonomo the
Magic Clown'. He was assisted by his wife, Gayle Anderson.
A nationally syndicated version of "The Magic Clown" produced and
taped before a live studio audience in Canada appeared in the 1970s
with James Randi (famous as a debunker of fake psychics) but it was
TRIVIA NOTE: Bonomo Candy (pronounced
BAHN-uh-moh) was invented by Victor Bonomo, the son of a Jewish
emigrant candy maker from Turkey who ran a candy factory on Eighty
Street in Coney Island.
The recipe for Bonomo candy is a basically a batter of corn syrup
and egg whites, that is cooked and then baked into bars. Eventually,
the candy bar would be available in four flavors: Vanilla,
Chocolate, Strawberry and Banana - that sold 80 million to 100
million bars a year in the 50's and 60's.
To best way to eat Bonomo Turkish Taffy was to smack it against a
hard surface to break it into easy to eat, chewy bite-size shards.
In warm weather the candy became very soft and chewy so it was
recommended that first you freeze the candy and then shatter it. The
basic Bonomo candy bar was six-inches long, two-inches wide and
about a quarter of an inch thick..
In the 1950's, Bonomo's Turkish Taffy sponsored such children's
television programs as "The Magic Clown" and "Wonderama." The ads on
the show featured puppets named Bo, No and Mo.
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