Bozo and barbecue don’t mix, he says: Mason, Tn.., (AP) – In one corner, it’s Bozo, while in another corner… it’s another Bozo.
Which should have the rights to the name? Bozo the Clown or the Tipton County restaurant, Bozo’s Barbecue, named in 1923 after its founder, Thomas Jefferson (Bozo) Williams?
The Battle of the Bozos rages.
“Bozo has a special meaning for the whole world. I don’t want anything to take away from or deter that feeling.” said Larry Harmon, 62, of New York City, the creator of Bozo the Clown.
Harmon is fighting efforts by Helen Williams, daughter of the other Bozo, to register the name Bozo as a trademark for her family restaurant. She is seeking the trademark to protect the lenage of Bozo’s Barbecue as a cozy friendly restaurant, she said.
“It [the name] has been in my family for so long I don’t think it is fair for someone to take it.” Williams said.
Although her father died in 1935, the family has carried on the work of Bozo’s Barbecue and turned it into a well-known eatery in the Mid-South, said Williams, 69.
Harmon, who said he may some day want to open a chain of Bozo restaurants, feels the same way about Bozo the Clown, who was born from Harmon’s imagination in 1940.
“I’m everywhere. They [Bozo’s Barbecue] are in one little corner of a cross corners of two-country roads about 30 miles outside of Memphis somewhere.
“I’ve given my whole life to the world. That name is to important and so special, I don’t want anything to hurt it,” Harmon said.
He is not contesting Williams’ right to use the name, only her right to use it nationwide, he said.
The case, mostly dormant since Williams applied in 1982 for the trademark, may be settled this year, said Larry Banks, Williams’ attorney.
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