ES History: Featuring Whizzo the Clown

We had some great things shared this week in regard to history here in Excelsior Springs. Below are the local posts that were made, for you to reflect on:

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This past week I shared a picture of Whizzo the Clown, who used to make public appearances for parades and events here in Excelsior Springs. Originally Dennis Hartman had shared the image below:

Whizzo the Clown making an appearance in a parade in downtown Excelsior Springs.
Whizzo the Clown making an appearance in a parade in downtown Excelsior Springs. Photo by Dennis Hartman.

People shared memories in the comments. Deb Ross said, “Who didn’t love Whizzo???” and Sid Lee shared, “I have a picture with him way back when I was young. Probably 50 years ago.”¬† David Griffin reflected, “Frank “Whizzo” Wizarde, not thought of him in a long time.”

It’s funny to me to see others talk about their time with the clown because my Grandpa Joe Morgan used to tell a great story about my Aunt Molly Morgan Roberts and her first meeting with Whizzo. Luckily, Grandpa published the story in his column, The Way It Was, in the Excelsior Springs Standard. Below is the story that Grandpa shared:

Whizzo Meets His Match Рby Joe Morgan, Columnist, Excelsior Springs Standard 

Somehow, Frank Wizard, a.k.a. Whizzo the Clown came up in a conversation the other day. He’s gone on to that big circus in the sky, but his memory certainly lives on with me.

Back in the good old days when the kids were small and TV was in glorious black and white, K.C.’s answer to Buffalo Bob was this same Whizzo the Clown. With a live TV show at the prime noon hour, he had a good lock on the kindergarten and below crowd. With a funny hat, bulbous nose and long shoes, he opened many a meat market. Whenever he appeared anywhere close by, the kids dragged us along to see this latter-day pied piper.

On his TV show the format was to use local participation, about 20 different kids each show. He had his snappy patter and bag of tricks, but the kiddie interviews and marches as they all stomped around the studio was the highlight of the show. Also,t he most unpredictable part.

This use of different cast each day used up a lot of youthful bodies and all the kids dreamed about being in the show…to talk and march with their hero. Finally my youngest daughter, Molly, and a neighborhood buddgy got their call to make their debut in show biz.

Her mother frantically worked on a special dress for Molly while my other kids were secretly envious. Blase old Dad passed it off as nothing special. Of course, I did take my portable TV and my lunch to work on the big day. With the TV handily on hand and my constant babble about my little girl’s debut on the stage…I suddenly drew a crowd at the office as we all sat and awaited the big event.

Sweating through the commercials and introductory chatter, I thought that the kids would never appear…but then they were on in a nervous rush. As they marched around behind Whizzo with their balloons and party hats, I swelled with pride.

“That’s my kid there. No, the littlest one at the back who’s always out of step!”

After a few other maneuvers the interviews were on with the kids on the great man’s lap as he asked questions geared hopefully to get some funny answers that only kids can come up with. I didn’t envy him as he mostly ran into embarrassed and stammering silence.

“What’s your name, little girl?”

“I’m Molly.”

“You’re Polly, huh? What a funny name.”

“No, M o l l y, Molly!”

He persisted: “Polly, huh?”

Back at the office my friends sympathetically smiled at old Dad as his kid got dissected on the tube. Finally Molly retreated back to her seat in frustrated tears.

I muttered under my breath as the hour wore down to the grand finale where Whizzo marched the kids out of the studio. Thinking, perhaps, to placate Molly, he leaned down, took her hand and said: “Here, Polly, you march with me.”

That giant nose was just too much temptation for a kid. She threw a fast…and mighty left hook that connected perfectly. Nose awry, amid great confusion, Whizzo somehow shuffled them all off and the show was over.

Molly was, of course, the star of the show at our office, but we all agreed that it would perhaps be better for her to look to another field…maybe like being a bronc rider.

Saw his show later and somehow he seemed sweeter…or maybe like more wary. Actually Whizzo was lucky that he wasn’t in business long enough to have any of my 10 grandkids on.

I can see it now. There’s this big red nose target…and then POW!

My Grandpa Joe was also an artist and his column would usually feature a cartoon that he would draw to go with it, like the one below (Way to go, Aunt Polly!):

Cartoon drawing by Joe Morgan, the Old Publisher
Cartoon drawing by Joe Morgan, the Old Publisher

Here are some other stories you might like regarding ES History:

Remembering “Goodtimes” Restaurant

Excelsior Springs History Highlights

Memories from Childhood in Excelsior Springs

1 thought on “ES History: Featuring Whizzo the Clown”

  1. Pingback: Olivia and the Phantom Aviator | Courtney S. Cole

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