The first Bozo the Clown to come from Detroit was played by Bob McNea, a former clown with the Shrine Circus. Bob was hired to play Bozo on WWJ-TV Channel 4 in 1958 and the show was an instant hit with the kiddies. After hassles with Larry Harmon, the creator of Bozo about how the character was supposed to be played, Bob did his last stint as ol' Bozo in 1967. He immediately created a new character, Oopsy the Clown (who he said was Bozo's cousin), which played on Michigan TV until 1979, then continued in Cleveland until 1994.

When McNea gave up Bozo in 1967, Art Cervi was enlisted as the new Bozo. There were a few other local Bozos, but Art did the character the longest, from 1967 until 1980 on CKLW Channel 9 and WJBK Channel 2.

Of all Detroit's TV celebrities, Art's Bozo was possibly the most popular of them all. No one in the city knew who Art Cervi was and he was never recognized on the street...that's the way he wanted it. When he arrived at the studio to do the show, he was already in Bozo makeup, becoming the character at home (or somewhere else) until he was chauffeured to the studio in full Bozo regalia. He made sure the kids never saw him without the makeup, as he feared it would dampen their excitement when they met.

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Art Cervi began his media career operating the board at WKMH (later WKNR-AM), and along with DJ Robin Seymour, created the teen rock 'n roll show, “Swingin' Time” in 1965. Many big acts appeared on the show including Bob Seger, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Mitch Ryder, most of Motown's stable of stars and many others.

Cervi went from teens to tots when he switched to Bozo in 1967. The kids couldn't get enough – Bozo was on Channel 9 every weekday morning for an hour, another hour every weekday afternoon, a half hour on Saturday and an hour on Sunday. That must've been grueling, having to constantly put on and take off all that makeup.

Art Cervi was born in 1934 and passed away on February 15, 2021 at the age of 86 in Novi.

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