- “Hey, kids! It's Happy Slappy time!”
- ―Snively's introduction at a birthday party
Role in the film
Norman first appears at the beginning of the film, bringing his dog Old Blue to a mansion to perform for a birthday party. It is soon apparent that Norman is really talentless as a birthday clown as all his performances fail to impress the birthday guests. Finally, he lets his dog take his turn to perform by throwing balls into his mouth, which he catches well and finally entertains the guests. As a form of 'grand finale', Norman uses a bouncy ball too big for Old Blue's mouth, who responds by bouncing it back at Norman, causing him to chase the dog all over the house and ruin the party by slipping on a banana peel and falling onto the birthday cake. After being thrown out of the house, Norman angrily blames Old Blue for causing the mess and decides to take him to the dog pound. On the way, the kennel in which Old Blue was imprisoned in fell off the truck, leading the dog to meet with 12-year-old Josh Framm, who frees him and later adopts him.
Norman doesn't appear again until the second half of the film, at which upon seeing the basketball dog 'Buddy' on the TV, he recognizes him as his missing dog and soon tricks Josh's mother into re-obtaining the dog.
Josh later infiltrates Norman's backyard, where he finds Buddy chained up and decides to free him. Norman, who was on the phone arranging for some talk show appearances, initially can't see Josh due to a stack of beer cans on his windowsill until it falls and allows him to see Josh infiltrating his backyard. Josh gets the chain off Buddy and they escape, causing Norman to chase after them in his dilapidated truck. The chase rages on to a parking lot near a lake, during which the truck begins to fall apart, causing it and Norman to splash into the lake, but he doesn't drown.
Later that evening, Norman arrives at the school gym where he knew Buddy and Josh would be playing in a basketball game there. After the game is done, Norman demands the return of his dog, but Josh, along with his mother who finally stands up to Norman, firmly refuses. Norman responds by suing the Framm family for custody of Buddy, despite losing his paperwork during the chase. During the trial, both sides' arguments get the trial nowhere until, at the suggestion of Coach Chaney, who the judge was a fan of, it is decided that Buddy will choose who will be his rightful owner. During the calling, Norman takes out his rolled-up newspaper, which he often used to hit Buddy, and snaps at him, causing the dog to attack Norman, tear up the weapon of abuse, and run towards Josh. The judge grants custody of Buddy to Josh while Norman, who runs at them in a last ditched effort to get the dog back, is dragged away and arrested by the cops. Josh and the rest of the citizens rejoice for Buddy's new home. Norman doesn't appear in the subsequent sequels, implying that he is still in prison or that he moved to a new city to start a new life. It is also possible that he lost his job as a clown due to his alcoholism and abuse of Buddy.