This is a companion thread to “Your Kiddie Show Host,” currently crashing to the bottom of the MPSIMS page. Figured I’d better start it because as many of us are as attached to the local television personalities of our childhood years who exposed us to The Wolf Man and Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman as to those who shared Our Gang with us.
Okay, me first. Return with me now to those stirring days of yesteryear: Cleveland, Ohio, in the mid-1960s. 11:30 Friday nights, just after the local news, on WJW-Channel Eight, the local CBS affiliate.
Ghoulardi was the man. The Man. He wore a moplike fright wig, Snidely Whiplash moustache, and goatee, and mocked the city of Parma, a west Cleveland suburb with a large Polish-American population. One of his running humor pieces was “Parma Place,” a parody of the priemtime soap opera Peyton Place. Lots of jokes about kielbasa, Cheez Whiz, bowling shirts, plastic flamingo and chrome-ball lawn ornaments. Send a car model that you’d lovingly slaved over to Ghoulardi, and if you’re lucky, he’ll blow it up with firecrackers ON THE AIR! “Happy Birthday to you…Stay sick and turn blue…and always remember…Ghoulardi hates you!” Ghoulardi was the brainchild of Ernie Anderson, who later moved to L.A. and became the announcer’s voice on the Carol Burnett Show.
Unfortunately, Ghoulardi went off the air in 1966, when I was five and deemed too young to stay up to watch monster movies. I cut my teeth on Big Chuck and Houlihan.
Chuck was a tall, good-looking actor who’d performed in Ghoulardi’s comedy sketches. Houlihan was the Channel Eight weatherman. They had a variety of second bananas, including the dwarf Little John. One of the running sketches was “The Kielbasa Kid,” in which Chuck was a Lone-Ranger type cowboy who carried Polish sausage in his gun-holster. One of the odder skits was “Soul Man,” which involved mild-mannered Ed Tarboosh, a Polish-American businessman, who stepped into a phone booth and swallowed “soul pills,” which turned him into a muscular black man with a huge Afro and a Superman costume.
Who did you have? Did they ignore the movie as much as MY guys did, preferring to indulge in bizarre local ethnic humor?