Big Chuck Schodowski
As you all know, Big Chuck is a Local Legend when it comes to the television
in the North Eastern Ohio Area. He is always involved with the community,
everytime you see him, he is either on television, hosting a charity, doing a
commercial for a business or a grand opening somewhere. Of course there are many
other events he is involved in. Probably more than we know about.
I will always remember the good old days, when I used to visit my friends in
Maple Heights during the Fall Season and get a chance to see Big Chuck and Lil
John in the Thanks Giving Parade. Boy, Talk about the Good Old Days. It
sometimes makes you wonder how Chuck has time to work at WJW (FOX8) and do all
of these events, but I guess he schedules himself very well.
Before I get into more about Chuck, I would like to mention that if you have
any stories or memories that you would like to share, feel free to discuss them
on the Big Chuck and Lil John
Chuck was born on June 28, 1934
Chuck was born in cleveland, OH. He graduated from High School in 1952 and
went to work in the foundry. Four years later he married his high school
sweetheart in 1956. The following year he started National Radio School, where
he learned radio and television repair
and earned his "First class FCC license"
In 1959 he began a one year course of study for the police and firefighters
exam. A year later Chuck passed the exam with flying colors, but also passed his
"First class FCC license" He skipped the Cleveland Police appointment and
decided to start working at KYW (now WKYC-Channel 3) as a summer replacement
engineer in 1960.
Shortly after, Chuck became friends with Ernie Anderson "Ghoulardi" "The
Voice of ABC" You've probably heard him say "On the Luvvvv' Boat" many times,
and is still doing the ABC show promos. He is now, of course, the announcer for
"America's Funniest Home Videos" and "America's Funniest People". And thus was
the perfect choice as announcer for "Guardin' the Garden."
Picture of Anderson as "Ghoulardi"
In the fall of 1960 Chuck became the full time engineer of WJW (TV8)(Fox8)
and two years later Ernie Anderson followed Chuck over there to do the
the afternoon movie show "Ernie's Place."
Joining Ernie to help with the show was
comedy writer and Chagrin Falls native Tim Conway (then known as Tom). They told
WJW that Tim was a director. He wasn't.
During this time Tim and Ernie did some
very funny material. Rose Marie, then of the "Dick Van Dyke Show," showed their
tape to Steve Allen. He liked it and said, "Send me the little chubby guy. I can
do the other guy's part."
Tim left for Hollywood to become one of
Steve Allen's "Men on the Street" along with Louis Nye and Don Knotts. Shortly
after that, Tim was to star on the classic sitcom "McHale's Navy" and later "The
Carol Burnett Show."
Picture of Chuck, Tim Conway and Hoolihan
In 1963 Ernie became the late night
off-beat horror host known as "Ghoulardi," and began using Chuck in some of his
skits. Chuck was very reluctant at first. From January 1963 through September
1966, the "Ghoulardi" show would set Cleveland on its ear. People around the
country knew about this show. "Ghoulardi" still holds local market ratings
"Ghoulardi" being his silly self
Ralph Tarsitano, Ernie Ghoulardi Anderson, Big Chuck, Dick
Goddard and others
(Try and figure out who is who)
Ghoulardi's All Stars
Ernie quit the show in 1966, and with
his friend Tim Conway pulling some strings, went to Hollywood to try network
announcing. Over the years he became one of the top voice-over talents in the
country, heard most notably as the voice of the ABC network and on national
Meanwhile, everyone in Cleveland
auditioned to replace "Ghoulardi," including one of WJW's weather forecasters
Bob "Hoolihan the Weatherman" Wells. Knowing Chuck had produced some of the
"Ghoulardi" shows, Hoolihan asked Chuck to help him with his audition.
Channel 8 liked the chemistry between
Hoolihan and Chuck , and in December 1966, the "Hoolihan & Big Chuck Show" was
born. The show was very successful, creating many characters and comedy features
that still survive today: Ben Crazy, Kielbasa Kid, New Talent Time, A Certain
Enthic Group, and the list goes on. They developed a cast of regulars (Art
Lofredo, Lil' John, Marianno "Mush-Mouth" Pacetti) that Cleveland fell in love
Chuck as the "Kielbasa
In September 1979, Hooli decided to
leave the show for a TV job in sunny Florida. As producer of the show, Chuck
decided to continue with Lil' John Rinaldi as co-host, and the "Big Chuck & Lil'
John Show" had a new beginning, keeping many of the previous skits and
characters. Lil' John and Chuck also added Bill Ward, Paula Kline, Mary Allen
and others to the cast of regulars.
Big Chuck and Lil John
The show's movies have changed over the
years, from sci-fi and horror "B" films to bigger box office hits of all kinds,
such as "Terminator II" and "Friday the 13th."
They've been fortunate to feature many
well-known celebrities in their skits.
After doing their job for more than 30
years (in addition to producing and directing other projects at the station),
they still produce new skits with Lil' John and the cast, like "Cuyahoga Jones"
and "Batguy and Rinaldi." They also play charity basketball and softball games
with the "Big Chuck & Lil' John All-Stars" and participate in several other
local charity events throughout the year.
Big Chuck and Lil John at a charity event
Chuck and his wife June have raised
five children and enjoy 10 grandchildren, with two more on the way. Their family
has always stayed close. In fact, you might have seen some of his family in some
of their skits.
In Chuck's own words
"Yeah, I could have been a policeman or
firefighter. But looking back, I think I'd rather play one on TV."
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