Friday, June 29, 2007

End of an Era

It will mean nothing to most folks - but Big Chuck has retired.

For most of you here, I'll have to set this up a bit:

Hoolihan & Big Chuck were Cleveland's first post-Ghoulardi. The hosts/comics of our cheesey Friday night movies. The guy who'd have skits and commentary at the commercials. Pre-Elvira, by about three decades, when UHF existed and VHF had all of three stations.

The Houlihan & Big Chuck years, ahhh those were the best years. Hoolihan (or Mild Mannered Weekend Weatherman) who moonlighted this night job. Chuck was a welder who did the same thing. They made a great comedic least to a kid who was in 6th grade who could stay up late to watch movies like "The Pit & the Pendulum" and the "Screaming Skull" (no, not Dionne Warwick...she's the 'Singing Skull').

Eventually, Hoolihan found g-d and went to sell bibles in Florida......or aluminum siding...depending on which story you've heard or believe. They made Lil Jon, an extra, Big Chuck's side kick and Chuck got top billing.

But no one watched for the movies. We watched for the skits. Most skits were based around Polish certain ethnic lifestyles. Keep in mind this was all pre-SNL, so many of these were take-offs on popular culture. My favourites were, in no certain order:
  • Mary Hartski! Mary Hartski!
  • Ben Crazy
  • Sunday Morning Chills (yes, the day after sequel to Saturday Night Fever)
  • the Kielbasa Kid
Naturally (?) there was "Polish Variates w/Paul Whitesocks" (real Cleveland show was "Polka Variates w/Paul Wilcox). If you hadn't noticed, Cleveland has a large Polish community.

Chuck (playing the ukulele in the picture with Hoolihan and Tim Conway) was quite handsome, at least to a developing gay youth - and loved his chin.

Eventually, the show moved from Friday nights to I guess Saturday or Sunday afternoons. But they were no Superhost. He had that timeslot locked up. Anyway, I had kind of grown out of that crappy movie phase (well, until MST3K did it up right - the Joel years, of course).

Chuck hanging it up though (at 73!!), well it is just another reminder of the passing of time. My time.


rebecca said...'re kidding... Big Chuck is still ALIVE??? I had no idea, much less that he was STILL doing the show. Yowza.

Garfield 5, 23 23, Garfield 5, 23 23!

Anonymous said...

Ah, I remember the handsomeness that was Big Chuck. Such a Friday night ritual to watch the show. It got me through my tween years.