Friday, November 11, 2011

Hoolihan and Big Chuck

They always ended the show in their PJs.
Histories have been written about the preponderance of late-night movie programming that featured a terrible B-movie hosted by some kook in a costume. Cleveland’s Ghoulardi one-upped a lot of his national competitors with his regional digs, arch (one might say “meta”) humor, and his adventures into chroma key, placing himself into the movie, decades before MST3K.


When Ernie “Ghoulardi” Anderson left Cleveland in 1966 to make his fortune as a voice-over artist in Los Angeles, one of his producers Chuck Schodowski and weather man Bob “Hoolihan” Wells took the slot. Now, instead of a dimly-lit studio haunted by a deranged beatnik who blew up things, we had two charming, rubber-faced twits creating hilarious and hilariously cheap comedy shorts to pad out the awful movies.

Now, local television has always been cheap. But reviewing segments from the Hoolihan and Big Chuck Show, you can understand how they inspired several generations of dorks from Northeast Ohio to pick up dad’s Super 8 camera and make silent, physical comedy, usually involving obvious costumes, wigs, mustaches, and a grand, goofy, visual punchline.

I am looking at you, Litz.

A keen interest in bizarre music was always a plus.

"Certain Ethnic Bankrobbers"
WARNING: Hideous gay stereotype.

In 1976, Hoolihan and Big Chuck aired at 11:30 PM on Friday nights, which was awesome because that meant we could stay up late and not worry about having to get up for church the next day.

This clip was filmed at the corner of Fleet and Klonowski, and once upon a time the Jolly Tee Cafe may have been on the corner of Aetna and East 76th street in Slavic Village:

Pure Cleveland.

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