Cindy asked me on Facebook about Chucko the Clown, who shared the airwaves in Los Angeles in the late 50’s with Sheriff John and Engineer Bill, each of whom received spots on OETR. Now it is Chucko’s turn.
Unfortunately, all the YouTube clips of Chucko were removed. But I have found some photos. First however, we need to find out about Chucko. I must admit, I don’t remember Chucko at all, but do remember Sheriff John and Engineer Bill. But I was never big on clowns….lol.
Charles Runyon portrayed Chucko the Birthday Clown on Channel 7 from 1955 to 1963 and on Channel 11 in 63-64. He wore a spinning merry-go-round hat, a red-and-white-striped clown suit with a fluffy Elizabethan collar and big blue pompon buttons, and white gloves, and he had arching blue eyebrows on a white face with a rhinestone-tipped nose and an upturned red smile.
His live, hourlong show included cartoons and games with his studio audience, which consisted of two children celebrating their birthdays and their young guests. At the end of the show, the camera would show a large birthday cake, and Chucko the Birthday Clown would sing: “Here’s a hap, hap, happy birthday from me (that’s me), to you (that’s you) …..”
Besides the obvious birthday celebration that honored a variety of kids on their special day (including a communal birthday cake), Chucko entertained his guests with ad-libbed comments, stories, games (pie eating contests), cartoons, stunts and sing alongs. He signed all his autograph pictures with the gentle sentiment “May all your days be as happy as birthdays.” The show’s sponsors included Chocks Vitamins, Fizz-Ade, Ovaltine and Barbara Ann Bread.
I remember Ovaltine commercials but not Barbara Ann Bread. Wonder bread yes, those thin little white pieces of bread. Fizz-Ade? No idea. I guess I should have watched more Chucko the Clown to know about Fizz-Ade and Barbara Ann Bread.
Runyon’s wife Mildred created the original makeup for Chucko the Clown and Chuck’s mother, known as “Mammy,” designed and sewed all the Chucko wardrobe. There will be a photo of “Mammy” with Chucko below.
This final photo includes Dick Lane, who was the icon who brought Roller Derby and Wrestling (before WWE) to KTLA every week. I never missed either show and loved when Specs Saunders would get a two man whip and pass 10 opponents to win one for the Los Angeles T-Birds!!