Marshall Brodien

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Marshall Brodien (July 10, 1934 – March 8, 2019) [1] was a professional magician who played Wizzo the Wizard, a wizard clown character which appeared on WGN-TV's Bozo's Circus and The Bozo Show from 1968-1994.

WGN-TV Independent TV station in Chicago

WGN-TV, virtual channel 9, is an independent television station licensed to Chicago, Illinois, United States. Owned by Nexstar Media Group, it is sister to news/talk/sports radio station WGN and local cable news channel Chicagoland Television (CLTV). Prior to September 2019, WGN-TV, WGN radio, and CLTV were the flagship properties of the Tribune Media Company, through its Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary. WGN-TV's second and third digital subchannels respectively serve as owned-and-operated stations of Nexstar's two national over-the-air multicast services, classic television network Antenna TV and movie-focused general entertainment network This TV, both of which are headquartered at the WGN-TV studios.

<i>The Bozo Show</i> television series

The Bozo Show was a locally produced children's television program that aired on WGN-TV in Chicago and nationally on what is now WGN America. It was based on the children's record book series, Bozo the Clown by Capitol Records. The series is a local version of the internationally franchised Bozo the Clown format and is also the longest-running in the franchise. Recognized as the most popular and successful locally produced children's program in the history of television, it only aired under this title for 14 of its 40+ years: other titles were Bozo, Bozo's Circus, and The Bozo Super Sunday Show.


Early life

Brodien was born and raised in Chicago. [2] At age 8, he took an interest in magic after a magician came to perform at his school. He never graduated high school and began working at age 14 selling and demonstrating magic tricks and novelties at the Magic Center in downtown Chicago. [2]

At age 16, Brodien worked at Chicago's Riverview Park, performing magic tricks. [2]

Riverview Park (Chicago) former amusement park

Riverview Park was an amusement park in Chicago, Illinois which operated from 1904 to 1967. It was located on 74 acres (0.3 km²) in an area bound on the south by Belmont Ave. on the east by Western Ave, on the north by Lane Tech High School, and on the west by the North Branch of the Chicago River. It was in the North Center community area and neighborhood on Chicago's north side.

Brodien served in the Army during the 1950s at Fort Carson in Colorado and performed more than 700 shows while in the Army at hospitals, non-commissioned officers clubs and private parties. [2]

Fort Carson is a United States Army installation located in unincorporated El Paso County, Colorado, near the city of Colorado Springs.


Brodien, who had been making semi-regular guest appearances performing magic tricks as himself on Bozo’s Circus since 1962, [3] began appearing as a wizard character in an Arabian Nights-inspired costume in 1968 and evolved into Wizzo the Wizard by the early 1970s. He was billed as being from "Arobia" and possessed the magical Stone of Zanzabar. According to Brodien, the first time he touched Bozo (Bob Bell) with the stone, Bozo quipped: "I remember when you got stoned at the Zanzabar."

Bob Bell (actor) American actor

Robert Lewis Bell, better known as Bob Bell, was an American announcer and actor famous for his alter-ego, Bozo the Clown. He was the original portrayer of the character for Chicago superstation WGN-TV.

Oliver O. Oliver (Ray Rayner) left Bozo's Circus in 1971 and was briefly replaced by Pat Tobin as Oliver's cousin Elrod T. Potter, and then by magician John Thompson (an acquaintance of Brodien's) as Clod Hopper. By 1973, WGN gave up on Thompson and increased Brodien's appearances as Wizzo. Brodien left the program in 1994. [4]

Ray Rayner American television presenter

Ray Rayner was a staple of Chicago children's television in the 1960s and 1970s on WGN-TV.

In 1970, Brodien was the spokesperson and creator of a trick magic card deck known as TV Magic Cards, which was a renamed Svengali deck. The deck resembled a regular playing card deck, except that the cards could be shown as all the same card. Many other card tricks could be performed with the deck. Over 17 million decks of the cards were sold. [5] [6] Brodien sold his company in 1992. [2]

Brodien had a car with vanity license plates reading "WIZ" [7] and custom pin-striping which contained a tiny "WIZ" within the striping.

Personal life

Brodien designed magic trick sets for children through a company called Cadaco Toys. He occasionally made public appearances in the Chicago area, and a biography, The Magical Life Of Marshall Brodien, was published in 2007 [8] . One of his Wizzo costumes is in the WGN-TV Bozo's Circus exhibit at the Museum of Broadcast Communications. [9]

Brodien was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2007. [10]

In 2018, the mayor of Geneva, Illinois announced that July 10 would be known as “Marshall Brodien Day” in the city of Geneva. [1]

Brodien and his wife Mary had six children and stepchildren. [10] Brodien died on March 8, 2019 from Alzheimer's disease in Geneva, Illinois at the age of 84. [10] [7]

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  1. 1 2 "A LITTLE BIT OF MAGIC: GENEVA PROCLAIMS MARSHALL BRODIEN DAY". kanecountyconnects. 11 July 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Goldsborough, Bob (8 March 2019). "Marshall Brodien, magician and Wizzo the Wizard on 'Bozo's Circus,' dies". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  3. "Bozo Timeline-1960s". WGN-TV. Archived from the original on 9 July 2001. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  4. "Bozo Timeline-1990s". WGN-TV. Archived from the original on 8 August 2001. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  5. ephemera: Marshall Brodien TV Magic Cards
  6. "Bozo Timeline-1970s". WGN-TV. Archived from the original on 18 December 2000. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  7. 1 2 O'Donnell, Maureen (8 March 2019). "Marshall Brodien, 'TV Magic' pitchman, Wizzo the Wizard on 'Bozo,' dead at 84". Chicago Sun-Times . Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  8. "The Magical Life of Marshall Brodien: Creator of TV Magic Cards and Wizzo the Wizard Paperback – July 26, 2007". Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  9. "Bozo Timeline-2000". WGN-TV. Archived from the original on 8 August 2001. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  10. 1 2 3 Richards, Dean (8 March 2019). "Marshall Brodien, who played 'Wizzo the Wizard' on The Bozo Show, has died". WGN News. Retrieved 8 March 2019.