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Once upon a time in the magical city of Birmingham, Alabama, there lived a man named Ward McIntyre. Now, Ward was no ordinary fellow; he was a beloved broadcaster who left an indelible mark on the hearts of children all across Birmingham. But the most magical part of his life was when he transformed into none other than "Bozo the Clown."
Ward was born right there in Birmingham in the year 1930. He grew up with the charm and warmth that the South is known for, and he graduated from Ramsay High School in 1948. Afterward, he embarked on a grand adventure and continued his education at Birmingham-Southern College, proudly graduating in 1953.
But life had other plans for this young man. You see, there was a war, and Ward felt the call to serve his country during the Korean War. However, he didn't wield a rifle; he wielded a microphone. He became a broadcaster for the US Army, stationed in Fort Dix, New Jersey. He was a voice that kept spirits high during challenging times, hosting a 30-minute radio show that brought smiles to many faces.
In 1954, Ward added another title to his name: husband. He married the lovely Anne Gordon Stamps, and their love story became one for the ages.
Upon returning to Birmingham, Ward's voice continued to captivate the city. He became a radio DJ on WEZB-AM and WSGN-AM. But little did he know that his greatest role was yet to come.
In August 1962, Ward McIntyre joined WBRC-6, and a legendary character was born. He donned the colorful outfit and oversized shoes of "Bozo the Clown." For six delightful years, Ward became the cheerful host of Birmingham's very own Bozo. Every day, he brought joy to children's hearts with a half-hour show filled with laughter, games, and surprises. He didn't just live in the television screen; he visited countless homes through endless personal appearances.
Ward's magic as Bozo lasted until January 5, 1968. But his adventures in the world of broadcasting were far from over. For a brief time, he became the cowboy known as "Quick Fire McIntyre," introducing the "Huck and Yogi" series of Hanna-Barbara cartoons. And there were more characters to come! He became "Sad Sam" to introduce country music programs and even transformed into the ghoulish mad scientist "Bela LaGhosty" to present Friday night horror movies. Ward's versatility and creativity knew no bounds.
In May 1968, Ward bid farewell to his television career, content in the knowledge that he had brought happiness to so many. He returned to his roots in radio broadcasting, where his soothing voice continued to be a source of comfort for his listeners.
But Ward was more than just a broadcaster; he was a cherished member of the community. He found solace and purpose in his faith at Canterbury United Methodist Church in Mountain Brook. He was not just a member; he was a dedicated part of the church council and numerous committees. He shared his talent by reading scripture during contemporary services, touching the souls of those who listened.
In 2007, after a long and illustrious journey filled with love, laughter, and boundless creativity, Ward McIntyre bid farewell to this world, leaving behind a legacy of joy. His wife Anne had gone before him, but his children Gordon, Catherine, and Dale, and his five granddaughters, carried his memory in their hearts.
And so, dear children, that is the heartwarming tale of Ward McIntyre, the broadcaster who became "Bozo the Clown" in the magical city of Birmingham. His laughter still echoes in the hearts of those who remember, a testament to the enduring power of love and laughter in our lives.
The Birmingham Free Press was established in 1997 as an independent news and entertainment source. We publish a variety of books, magazines, and comics, along with our flagship, broadsheet newspaper.