Ray Paulsen, 'Mr. Toot,' dies at age 80Ray Paulsen had a long and high-profile career in broadcasting starting about 1946, especially in the roles of Sparks, Bozo the Clown and Mr. Toot.
By: By Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio , Superior Telegram
After a three decade-long bout with cancer, Ray Paulsen succumbed to it Friday afternoon at the age of 80. He had a long and high-profile career in broadcasting starting about 1946, especially in the roles of Sparx, Bozo the Clown and Mr. Toot.
He worked for WDSM Radio and then TV when it went on the air in 1954.
He loved doing children’s programs, starting with “Slim Raymond’s Bugs Bunny Hour.” He was a sidekick to Jack McKenna’s character “Captain Q and Sparx” when they hosted movies and cartoons. Fittingly, Ray played Sparx, the radio operator.
Ray Paulsen was best known and beloved first as Bozo the Clown and then as Mr. Toot on WDSM-TV, the forerunner to KBJR-TV. His live shows had a waiting list of a year to get into the studio audience. Even though his Bozo and Mr. Toot shows lasted an hour, he never worked with a script.
He believed in educating youngsters and teaching them respect and manners. All while being a clown.
A quarter of a century after he left broadcasting, he joined the cast of broadcast pioneers Jack McKenna and Lew Martin on “Radio Superior.” This show began in 1999, and he recorded his last episode in January.