Marvin W. Fishman

He was born Marvin Fishman on January 6, 1927 in Cleveland, Ohio "to be close to my Mother".

"We were so poor we couldn't afford (me) a  middle name."  (He added the middle initial "W"
as an adult because it looked good on luggage.)

Cowboy Marvin at age 5

Little Marvin was angry when they took this picture.
Marvin sings on local radio for Billy Tilton at 8 years old while another boy tap-dances.  
His buddies ask, "how do you dance and sing at the same time?"  

He becomes part of the Honeydale Street Gang; nickname: "Fish".  He's regularly beat up by a local Italian gang. 
Hence his trademark closing as Flippo: "Love ya, keep smiling and don't fight!"

The prodigy's mother bribes him with a snare drum to get him to sing in public. 
His voice cracks at age 13 ending his radio career.  Marvin switches to the
saxophone when he inherits the instrument from his uncle.  He receives a
ribbon of excellence
every year in his junior high school band.

He turns 13 and like a nice Jewish boy, he gets bar mitzvahed.


Marvin W. Fishman joins the Army upon high school graduation in 1945.
He is such a good marksman that he becomes an instructor.  He's sent

to Pusan, Korea "and that's what it smelled like... poo-son." 

At the Kimpo army base he creates the "Kimpo Combo" to play for both officers and
regular joes.  During the daytime, he types reports as second in command.  He obtains
early hardship exits for soldiers who need to get home.  He doesn't take his own R & R
if it means someone else can't go home sooner.  He exemplies selflessness,
patriotism and love of family.

He's discharged in 1946 as one of the Army's youngest Tech Sergeants at age twenty.

He attends Ohio State in the Spring Quarter of 1947 to study Optometry.
Bored, he joins the marching band and goes back to his first true love:

MUSIC!  Marvin W. Fishman plays jazz gigs in various bands and changes his
name to a more snazzy "Bob Marvin".

In 1951 while playing at the Neil House, Bob is spotted by a WBNS 10-TV
Producer and offered a job if he shaves off his mustache.  He was used to
doing this: "my Mother would give me $50 dollars to shave it off every time
I came home from college."

Bob Marvin gets $25 a show for doing "HOMEMAKER'S HOBNOB", a morning show
where he sings, dances and does comedy sketches as part of an ensemble.  This spells the
end of his college career--33 hours shy of a music degree.


1953: Ward Baking Co. seeks a clown for a new afternoon kiddy show called "Tip Top Bandwagon".  
Bob rehearses intensely to audition for the
J. Walter Thompson Agency.   A real circus clown was to be
his competition
but he catches the willies and leaves town.  Bob Marvin wins the job and becomes Flippo
 the King of Clowns (a role that will last 30 years on TV).    The New York ad agency picks "Flippo" as his
new moniker when the various suggestions from the folks at Channel 10
fell flat.

December 6, 1953 Columbus Dispatch article announcing Flippo for the very first time ever.



On December 10, 1953, a star is born at 5:15pm.  Between "Popeye" cartoons, messing with his peanut gallery
and doing magic, Flippo makes "Tip Top Bandwagon" a tiptop show even thought it begins as a 15 minute show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ward Baking company pulled out after 18 months but by then, Flippo was
Clown.  He had HIS OWN SHOW!  
His program had different names,                     days and times but his popularity never waned.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

  The Boing thing came about as a way to cue the projectionist to start the cartoon.

By 1957,  he helms "Flippo's Big Show" which features "Our Gang" comedies.

Buying a BMW Iseta so he would have the appropriate cool wheels, Flippo knew how to make an entrance or a driveby.
Then a big dog caught the refrigerator-door car and
buried it.  (He used to say that.  He really sold it to a poor college
boy after he made him
take all the decals off.)  

By the 1970's, The King of Clowns hosts movies on "The Early Show" from 4:30-6:00pm.

Later he moves to 4p.m. because there is SO MUCH CLOWN and "moomie" to fill the time util the news.  And Flippo delivered the ratings as a numero uno lead-in for his entire reign at 10TV.
He's given free reign to goof around with his crew and his guests.  He has fun with live commercials that sponsors WANT him to do because he always give the product more time that scheduled and of
course, in his own inimitable joking way.

He's the number one Central Ohio TV personality for over 20 years and as beloved
as the Buckeyes' legendary coach Woody Hayes.

1977: Warner-Qube hires him as the front man for the first interactive TV network QUBE because of his 95% recognition factor in Central Ohio.  One of his producers, Bob "Morty"  Morton goes on to produce David Letterman.  (Morty's's featured in the Flippo documentary,  too.)  He does "Flippo's Magic Circus" and many other shows, some for the first time sans make-up.
The King of Clowns retires in 1983 only to do an occasional event when QUBE fades (1985) due
to financial strain.

He gets roasted on October 22, 2004
Bob donates his costume and other Flippo items to the Ohio Historical Society

December 5, 2005:  The Clown Makes History.

January 5, 2006: OHS throws FLIPPO APPRECIATION NIGHT (his last public appearance).

Dr. Bill Laidlaw presents the birthday cake to Bob as his birthday was the next day.  


January 6, 2006: Marvin W. Fishman turns 79, his advice: "Don't get OLD!"

After a lengthy illness, Marvin W. Fishman dies on Saturday, June 10, 2006.
                   (Flippo cartoon courtesy Columbus Dispatch, Jeff Stahler)

His epitaph: "The Clown Did the Snappers"

(Boy, did he ever!)

I wanna buy Flippo schtuff!

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