Monday, April 14, 2014

Fun With Charades (1952-59)

February 11, 1954:IGA advertisement in the Plain Dealer featuring their sponsorship of "Fun With Charades" on WEWS-TV 5 Sundays at 4:30 PM.

     Hello folks: For our first post in a very long time we will look at a Local Game Show, FUN WITH CHARADES, that had a healthy 7 year run on Cleveland TV..

     First mention of the show in the Plain Dealer, which we could assume is it's premiere date, was Sunday November 9, 1952 on WEWS Channel 5 at 2:30 PM. The show aired mostly on Sundays throughout its run. First host mentioned, on the December 28, 1952 telecast was Linn Sheldon who basically hosted  the 1952-53 season.

Cleveland TV Veteran Joe Berg, known as "Mr. Lollipop" on Channel 5, hosted the June 14, 1953 telecast. Fun with Charades pitted 2 community groups or high school teams against each other in a game of Charades, similar to the popular national show Pantomime Quiz. During the Channel 5 run , there were occasional multi-week tournaments..

Fun with Charades had moved to 4;30 Sundays by October 11, 1953..By December 4. 1953 Bob Dale takes over as Emcee

Note on the November 14, 1954 broadcast

Bob Dale would continue as host through March 11, 1956 show, which was the final show on channel 5.  The show would have a couple other time changes before it's WEWS cancellation.

Note on the move to channel 8 and auditioning for an emcee.

March 18, 1956 would see a new season and a new station and time for "Charades" WXEL (soon to be WJW-TV 8) tapped Jim Doney as host. with the show airing Sunday at Noon.  By January 6, 1957 the show aired at 2:30 once again, with another time change January 12, 1958 at 2PM, and Doney still hosting..The show ended it's WJW-TV run April 6, 1958. 

Notice of Fun with Charades return to TV on KYW-TV 3 October 12, 1958.  Along with other TV/radio items of interest.

Fun with Charades made a last run, now on KYW-TV 3 with host "Big" Wilson until the apparent final show of the series February 22, 1959.  Surprising that no one else has tried to revive the concept locally since then.  The National "Pantomime Quiz/Stump The Stars" ran as late the 1970's and NBC aired Win Lose or Draw for a few years as a "Pantomime" type show..

Following is a partial Episode Guide for Fun With Charades.  I exhausted all the Plain Dealer and TV Guide listings I could find.  Interesting to see the wide range of groups involved with this program. Fun With Charades-WEWS 2:30 Sundays (host) )Debut November 9, 1952

12-21-1952 First Presbyterian Church Mansfield Boys/Girls

12-28-52 Cleveland Heights Theatrical Group (Linn Sheldon)

1-11-53 Roosevelt School PTA Euclid/B'nai B'Brith Chapter 362 (Linn Sheldon)

1-18-53 Skyscraper Club of Cleveland (group for tall people) (Linn Sheldon)

1-25-53 Two Cleveland Married Couples/Four North Canton High School Girls (Linn Sheldon)

2-1-53 Cleveland YMCA Boys/YWCA Girls (Linn Sheldon)

3-8-53 Cleveland (Heights) Theatrical Group/Lakewood Little Theater (Tournament-Linn Sheldon)

3-15-53 WHKK Akron staff members/Two Parma Married Couples (Tournament-Linn Sheldon)

3-29-53 WHKK Akron/ Civic Theater Group Cleveland -Semifinals (Linn Sheldon)

4-12-53 WHKK Akron/Four Girls from Reliance Electric of Euclid-Championship-(Linn Sheldon)

4-26-53 North Olmsted High School/Cleveland High School Students (Linn Sheldon)

5-3-53 Lakewood Light Opera Guild/ '359ers Glenville Chapter Order of Eastern Star (Linn Sheldon)

6/14/53 Akron Players/Shaker Players(Joe Berg)

WEWS Sundays 4:30

10/11/53 Youngstown Players/Team from Akron

12/4/53 Bob Dale takes over as emcee

1/10/1954 Akron Roadway Express/Ladies Oriental Shrine-North America-TV Guide

2/13/54 Jewish Schools PTA/Travel Club of Cleveland

3/28/1954 Kent Junior Chamber/ Boy Scout Troop 88 Parents

4/4/54 Kent Jaycees/UJRS PTA (Jewish Schools PTA above?) Semifinals

4/11/54 Maple Heights High/Lakewood High

4/18/54 West Geauga School/Our Lady Of The Angels Church

4/25/54 Brecksville Little Theater/Wickliffe Welcome Wagon

5/9/54 Lakewood High Barnstormers/Wickliffe Welcome Wagon

5/16/54 Paduan Youth Group ofOur Lady Of the Angels/Gruber's Waiters (TV Guide)

7/25/54 Kinsman Group/Lorain Community Players (TV Guide)

8/22/54 Seven Aces Club/Madison Leaders Club-Semifinals (TV Guide)

8/29/54 Chi Rio Our Lady of Good Counsel/Madison Leaders Club-Season Final (TV Guide)

9/12/54 Cleveland Light Opera Guild/Temple On The Heights Young People's Congregation

11/14/54 Young Republicans Cleveland/Akron (Bob Dale Continues as host)

12/5/1954 Young Republicans-Akron/Cleveland Heights Jr. Chamber of Commerce

1/23/1955 TransCanada Airlines/Warrenville Players (TV Guide)

5/22/55 Cleveland Music Theater Group

5/29/55 Cleveland Music Theater/John Carroll Little Theater

9/11/55 Trans Canada Airlines/Cleveland Heights Community Theater (Bob Dale)

Showtime moves to 5:30 PM 10/9/55

10/9/55 TransCanada Airlines/Bay Village Players

10/16/55 Freedom Chapter B'nai/B'rith/Shaker Heights Players

10/23/55 Freedom Chapter B'nai B'rith/TransCanada Airlines

11/27/55 Maple Heights Methodist/Simon Perkins Jr. High (Akron) (Now at 4:30 again)

12/4/55 Maple Heights Co-Op Nursery School/Cathedral Square Players

1/1/56 Akron United World Federalists/St. Aloysius Ares Club

1/15/1956 Graphic Arts Field/Jewish Big Brothers

2/12/56 Jewish Community Center/Triangle Guild Players (Finals)

2/19/56 Sugardale Provision/Cleveland Shaw High School

3/11/56 Final Show on WEWS

3/18/56 First Show on WXEL-Jim Doney Emcee-12 Noon

1/6/57 Moved to 2:30 PM

2/3/57 Simon Perkins Jr. High (Akron)/Boy Scouts Explorer Post No. 190 (TV Guide)

1-12-58 Moves to 2PM-Jim Doney Hosting

4/6/1958 Last show on WJW-TV

10-12-58 Moves to KYW-TV 3-Big Wilson hosting 4:30 PM Shaker Heights B'nai B'rith/Euclid Little Theater

11/9/58 Euclid Little Theater/Shaker Players Women's Committee

2/22/59 Series ends..  

On a personal note:I've decided to be more active in posting here once again.  It still won't be as much as I did when I first started the blog.  I hope to find more new subjects, and other angles on subjects we've posted before..

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Do You remember?..Single season sitcoms..

Cover of SINGLE SEASON SITCOMS, 1948-1979, by Bob Leszczak. 
Over the last few months on the Facebook page I've been posting a number of relatively rare opens and closes of sitcoms, game shows and other vintage shows from a YouTube poster with the username of "Gilmore Box".  That name is taken from a character played by Bob Sweeney on "The Brothers" a sitcom that lasted a single season on CBS-TV in 1956.

"Gilmore Box" is aka Bob Leszczak, who has an affinity for what are known as "Single Season Sitcoms".  Those that had high hopes for success , but because of either a bad time slot, behind the scenes problems, or just lack of quality, lasted just one season (or less).  Leszczak is a former radio host (Bob O' Brien) that has put out a great resource that details these sitcoms in alphabetical order, with a lot of previously unpublished detail, such as production company, producers and directors, and other information that puts out the history of these shows in marvelous detail. 

The best parts of the book are the pictures..Many unpublished before, and interviews with actors that took part in the sitcoms.  Names such as Jackie Joseph Lawrence, Sherry Alberoni, Tab Hunter, Lee Meriwether and a host of other actors that were interviewed by Bob for the project..

Another angle is Big movie stars that were thought to be a shoo-in for success (Jimmy Stewart) only lasted one season in their sitcom.  While this is not a book you would read start to finish necessarily, it is a fantastic resource for shows that many of us had forgotten about, if we remembered them in the first place..Bob has done a great job here, and I highly recommend this book..
Link to Amazon page.

Opening to The Tab Hunter Show
Norby (David Wayne) Hey Landlord! Stanley-Don Pardo Life With Father

.. All these and many others are featured in the book..Again, Highly recommended..

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tom Field-Cleveland Sunday Magazine (Plain Dealer) July 8, 1973

Cover Page Of The PD Sunday Magazine-July 8, 1973.

1953-TV Guide Ad for Tom Field News-WTAM/WNBK

1957-Field leaves Cleveland after 17 years to go to WRCV-3, Philadelphia's NBC owned and Operated station, only staying a few months..

May 1963-Profile of Tom Field, who returned to Cleveland and WEWS in 1958, staying until 1967..

We've written on the Facebook Page occasionally about Tom Field. who was one of the early TV newscasters in Cleveland..His active years were 1940-into the 1980's at WNBK/KYW-TV, WTAM Radio, WRCV Philadelphia, WEWS and finally as News Director of WDBN-FM, Medina..Here is an in-depth article published in the Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine dated July 8, 1973, Courtesy of our good friend Jerry Immel.  He had already been at WDBN several years and was very content with where he was..One story..Field was asked to send samples of his work to NBC in New York..He wasn't sure why but he got an answer that "we decided to go with our guy on the West Coast"..that "guy" was Chet Huntley, chosen to team with David Brinkley on NBC nightly news..It could have been The "Field-Brinkley Report. "

WRCV Philadelphia Station ID by Tom Field (1957)-From Jerry Immel..

Tom Field passed away May 2, 1992 in Florida..

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cleveland Barons On TV/Radio-1949-50

Sadly, since the failure of the National Hockey League Cleveland Barons in 1978, Pro Hockey has been very much a minor sport in the Cleveland area, with several teams coming and going..

The Lumberjacks had some success, but were ultimately sold to an owner with short finances and folded (along with the whole league)..

The San Jose Sharks brought a second American Hockey League Barons in from 2001-06, but once George/Gordon Gund sold their Hockey interests, the team lost interest in being here and moved to Worcester, Mass after the 2005-06 season..

The current Lake Erie Monsters (Still think Cleveland should be in the name somewhere) have been among the top teams in AHL attendance the last few years..

Here is an earlier (updated from the 2007 original) post about the whole history of Cleveland Hockey:

In saying all that, I want to look back to a time where Minor League Hockey was major sports news in Northeast Ohio..The Original Cleveland Barons of The American Hockey League were the classiest organization in the AHL..Players would spend years in Cleveland, preferring the Barons to life in the NHL..

The Barons won numerous division titles and 9 Calder Cups from 1937-73..The Plain Dealer and the other major Northeast Ohio Newspapers covered the Barons with front page stories and coverage rivaling the Indians and Browns for the most part..The 1949-50 season was 2 seasons removed from a 1948 Calder Cup Title during Cleveland's "Championship Season".  The Barons were represented by a six station radio network with Ron Cook as Play By Play man..

Plain Dealer Note on the 1949-50 Cleveland Barons Radio Network

Stations were:
WJW-AM 850 FM 104.1 Cleveland
WLEC-1450 Sandusky
WICA-970 Ashtabula
WEOL-930 Elyria
WBBW-1240 Youngstown
WHBC-1480 Canton

Sponsor was Pilsener Brewing Company, whose "P.O.C." (Pride Of Cleveland) Beers were big at the time..
Ad from the Lorain Journal..From a Historical Lorain County Website
Games were also televised over WEWS-TV 5..there was a schedule of 20 home dates televised-19 Saturday and one Sunday Afternoon..A couple of fellows named John Foley and Len Roof did play-by-play and color, respectively. Can't find much solid Info on Foley, though he appeared to do Barons TV for at least 2 seasons.  Roof appears to have been an amateur athlete that turned to broadcasting for awhile.  He subbed for Bob Neal on TV Indians Games in this era when there was a controversy between rival breweries sponsoring Neal's other radio commitments on one hand, and the Indians on the other..Roof also did local College Football on WJMO and WERE..

TV Highlight listing for the Providence Reds At Cleveland Barons,
November 19, 1949..

The way games were broadcast in this era was much different than today..On both Radio and TV, Only the third period was broadcast, meaning that most often the broadcast/telecast would not start until 9:30 or 10:00 or later for night games..I guess it wasnt worth it for sponsors to buy a 2-3 hour window for games..

It would seem that WJW Radio had a pregame show at 9:45 with the action starting at 10. WEWS would join in progress at 10 for the Saturday games..

There was also many Saturday Nights that a wrapup show. "With The Barons" would air late at night on Channel 5.. As for the Barons themselves, they finished first in the AHL Western Division with a 45-15-10 record for 100 points, 19 points ahead of the second place Indianapolis Capitals, though the Capitals beat the Barons 4 games to 0 in the Calder Cup Finals in 1950..This is the only Cleveland Pro Hockey Team ever to hit 100 points during a regular season..

Goalie Johnny Bower, after many years in Cleveland, would go on to a Hall Of Fame Career for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Cleveland Arena Program Cover, 1949-50..

Below is the Barons' Record for the televised games only.  As indicated above, all telecasts were at home, though WJW Radio and its Barons Network broadcast all games, Home and Away..A couple of notes:The team was 18-1-1 in these games, and average attendance was 8,684 fans for the televised games..Listing includes W-L, final score and attendance for each game.

 Harry Jones, (Later Sports anchor-Indians announcer for WJW-TV 8) Browns Writer Harold Sauerbrei and John Dietrich filed stories on these games for the Plain Dealer..

WEWS Cleveland Barons/1949-50

October 22 Cincinnati-Won 4-3  7325

October 29 Buffalo-Won 9-3   8214

November 5 Indianapolis-Won 4-3  8338

November 12 Buffalo-Won 5-0  9076

November 19 Providence-Won 7-6  9114

November 26 Cincinnati-Won 9-3 9354

December 3 Pittsburgh-Tied 2-2   9571

December 10 New Haven-Won 8-2   9021

December 17 Hershey-Won 7-1   8114

December 31 Cincinnati-Won 5-1  6894

January 7 New Haven-Won 4-0   8084

January 14 Indianapolis-Won 10-0  10,318

January 15 Pittsburgh (Sunday Afternoon)-Lost 3-5   8256

February 4 Indianapolis-Won 7-3 10,087

February 11 New Haven-Won 7-0   7857

February 18 Buffalo-Won 6-2 10,411

February 25 Providence-Won 6-2   8214

March 4 Cincinnati-Won 4-3  8879

March 11 Providence-Won 8-5   7856

March 18 Indianapolis-Won 5-3  8692

Plain Dealer Ad on October 12, 1949 for the WJW Radio Games with Ron Cook..
Another PD Ad (December 10, 1952) for a different Barons Season (1952-53) Ron Cook was at the microphone for Barons Games well into the mid 1950's at least..

I realize people here are'nt big hockey fans for the most part, but I wanted to show in some way, just how big the sport was in The Cleveland area, and try to dig out some history that may be lost otherwise..It would be great to find some old radio games from this era, or even the 60's-early 70's..

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cleveland Christmas Memories

Cover for "Cleveland Christmas Memories" by Gail Ghetia Bellamy..Publishers:Gray and Company.
Christmas Tree at Higbees, Terminal Tower-1968
Nela Park Christmas Lights, 1955
Cover of Halles "Wish Book" of featuring Mr. Jingeling-1965

     Hello: Most of you know that have read the Blog for any length of time know that I am a native of The Canton/Stark County area..My own Christmas Memories include the toys, food, family gatherings,Church Pageants and Christmas on TV/radio in the 60's and 70's..WVIZ produced a TV special a few years ago called "The Way We Shopped" that revolved around the Classic Department Stores in Cleveland and Akron, with a large segment dedicated to Christmas Shopping..Here is a book that would make a great companion to that WVIZ Special..

     Gail Ghetia Bellamy crystallizes the memories of Christmas In Cleveland in her new book, CLEVELAND CHRISTMAS MEMORIES, and she does an amazing job..The pictures alone are worth the price ($17.95 officially, cheaper at, etc)..The stories, culled from interviews with notable Clevelanders..Some that had charge of making memories, others just sharing their own holiday memories, mostly fun,some happy, some sad..The narrative is weaved around certain topics..Toys, food, ethnic traditions,Nativity scenes, Santa, lights, and even a whole chapter on Mr. Jingeling.. Being that I am not originally from Cleveland, you tend to forget/not realize how Ethnically rich and diverse The Cleveland area is..That is amazing in itself..Also, on the side margins of most pages are Christmas facts and trivia..If you are from Cleveland, this book will be an exciting trip down Memory Lane..I highly, highly recommend it..

Gray and Company link to the book:

I'd like to dedicate this blog post to Mrs. Nadine Keyes..Wife of the late Earl Keyes..She was "Mrs. Jingeling" to generations of Northeast Ohio kids..Mrs. Keyes passed away recently..

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Great Cleveland Radio Stories-From Adam Jones

I've always felt kind of bad that I havent written nearly as much about Radio as TV..Not as much to write about many times, and harder to come up with real content. I've appreciated vets like Joe Mosbrook, Eric Braun and Jerry Immel for sharing some outstanding airchecks and photos in recent weeks on our various Facebook Pages.. Today I want to introduce you to Adam Ocopek (aka Adam Jones)..Akron radio listeners know him as half of "Adam and Bob"(Allen) from 1978-1995 on WAKR-1590..One of the last of the great local radio teams in Northeast Ohio..I barely knew of Adam, never listened often, but the show certainly must have been a hit to last 17 years..What I, or perhaps others didnt realize is that Adam had a very long career in Radio before WAKR.  As many DJ's did, he broadcast under many different names..

Adam's website, full of great radio stories..

1947 WSRS Ad with Christmas greetings

First job at WSRS-1954-58

Describing Adam's first on air job  (Bob Franklin) at WSRS-Great insight of how the station was run at that time
Adam Jones/Ocopek as WSRS "Bob Franklin"

July 4, 1958  Cleveland Press Radio Guide.."Bob Franklin" was on afternoons..

Here's the second story from WSRS-This would be about the time of the sale to the WJMO owners..WJMO would become 1490 while WSRS would be no more, replaced by WABQ at 1540 kc..
These days WJMO is at 1300, WERE is at 1490 and WWGK is at 1540-At least this week-LOL

Engineer Ron Powell, apparently during a remote..

Adam Jones/Ocopek/"Bob Franklin" at the WSRS controls

WSRS station ID from about 1956..Originally from the Jerry Immel collection..

I want to thank personally Adam Jones for allowing me to share much of his memories of his first radio job..There is very little on the web about WSRS, because probably to be honest it was just a small "graveyard" AM without a lot of history to be found, but stories like his are a big reason I do the blog, etc..Now what I'd love to hear is an aircheck or two from WSRS..

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hawkins Falls-A Television Novel:TV's first successful Soap Opera

Hawkins Falls Star Bernardine Flynn, with guest MacDonald Carey (Later of Days Of Our Lives Fame) and director Frank Pacelli..
Slide shown when an NBC show was filmed or Kinescoped for later airing..
Beginning slide of Hawkins Falls-A Television Novel
Short blurb announcing the premiere of Hawkins Falls as an afternoon Soap Opera on WNBK-TV 4 weekdays at 5 beginning April 2, 1951, after spending the summer of 1950 as a Prime time hour drama..

     Today we'll take a look at soap opera "Hawkins Falls"..The NBC soap is considered by most as the first tv soap opera that lasted very long.(it was the longest running Soap at the tile of it's cancellation).

      The show actually premiered June 17, 1950 as prime time drama and lasted in prime time till October 12, 1950.. The show returned April 2, 1951 as a 5-a week daytime drama, produced live at NBC Chicago..From the episodes I've seen, it seems to be a very low key drama, which veered into gentle comedy on occasion, as witnessed by this October 21, 1953 episode:
Hawkins Falls October 21, 1953-NBC by TLones1480
Hugh Downs was the Announcer at this point, later replaced by "Wed" Howard..

     The show starred Bernardine Flynn as heroine Lona Drewer..Flynn was a veteran of Chicago based radio..Others in the cast were Jim Bannon, Maurice Copeland and Arthur Peterson..comedian Tom Poston appeared in the cast during 1953..Other known actors were Hope Summers and Art Van Harvey..Van Harvey and Flynn were radio's "Vic and Sade."

     The official title is "Hawkins Falls, A Television Novel"..The show originated live from Chicago and was known for the stars sharing witty sayings at the beginning of the program (In Hawkins Falls, People say...)

Near the end of the series, there was no official sponsor so NBC sustained the show until the end, July 1, 1955.. Here is a 3-episode arc about a man who thinks he is psychic and the problems it causes..March 31, April 1, and April 4, 1955..
Hawkins Falls-March 31, April 1, April 4, 1955 by TLones1480

     The theme was a rousing rendition of "Skip To My Lou"..Shows how much tamer (and clean) soap operas were in the 1950's compared to today..