Monday, September 19, 2005

Bwooop!

The trio vs. the pirate-ladyman

Recently lis opined that no native Utard remembers Lighthouse 20, the kid show that was broadcast on UHF channel 20. Now I have a slight dispute with lis, in that I remember the pirate on the show was played by a woman, and she recalls someone very different (a man, I presume). Now Lighthouse 20 was not by any means my favorite show (hell I think it replaced Gillagan's Island!), but I do remember it--not really fondly but I remember it.

The real purpose of my writing is that I made the comparison of Lighthouse 20 to Hotel Balderdash--a show that apparently ran for 10 years on channel four here in SLC. Now this show was the bomb; not only did it start at 6:00 am 6:45 am and show nothing but 30's-late 40's Warner Brothers cartoons (you know, Bugs and Daffy, but not Porky Pig and certainly not that crap WB churned out from the 50s onward.) These cartoons, of course, were made for adults and the humor was mostly sophisticated in a slapstick kind of way and not juvenile at all (more on excellent WB work during that time later) Hotel Balderdash also originally featured a trio of characters who "ran" said hotel. I saw this show long before Fawlty Towers, but it seemed that Balderdash was much like Fawlty Towers but with a studio audience of kids in tow. (And you think Felini is surreal?) The trio were Cannonball, Harvey, and the greasy, Nelly-Olsen-like Raymond. Raymond wore a red brat costume (you know like Buster Brown) with a blond wig and stupid sailor hat. Cannonball was rotund and wore a bowler. Harvey was tall and lanky and wore a top hat and a scarf. The trio were triangulated against each other with Raymond always being a brat and trying to get the best of Harvey but never succeeding, and Cannonball acted as the straight an to them both. Harvey was the goofy ne'er-do-well with a good heart. Cannonball was the officious, overbearing "boss" who also had a good heart in the long run. Raymond was a whiney brat who never did well at all. He had a column in our Feliniesque local mini-paper where he answered letters in his bratty way. Pure local comedy gold, I say.

The show ran far longer than my childhood, so I lost track of it somewhere in the 70s, and then one day it was gone, replaced by that tripe Good Morning America. So much for a local show with a modicum of talent fondly remembered from childhood. Are there anything like these shows any more? Where are the Lighthouse 20s? Can a Hotel Balderdash exist in our pre-fab world?

Cast update

Raymond survived a few season on the show, but must have grown tired of being the guy in the brat, and moved on to other projects. Apparently he has struck gold in Mormon comedico-dramulettes. Wrong on this one, Raymond was played by Charlie LeSueur who has given a all-out corection to my childhood misperceptions:

Hello everybody! This is the one, the only, RAYMOND, and my name is Charlie LeSueur, not Lance Williams!
Lance, I believe was one of those local actors who used to pop in and out from time to time on the show, but he was never a regular.
Concerning the history of "Hotel Balderdash." The show was indeed taken from "Wallace and Ladmo,in Arizona where Larry "Cannonball" John and I grew up. Wallace gave us the name Balderdash and said he had always wanted to place his show in a hotel with the guests as rotating characters. We ran with that and named the show "Hotel Balderdash." Wallace and Ladmo weren't very happy when the show was a success.
Just before the show started we brought Randy Lovoi in as Harvey after other actors dropped out.
The show went on the air on September 11, 1972 and lasted until 1982.
I left the show in 1976, but returned briefly in 1977 when Cannonball left the show. When he returned I left again, but returned to the show in 1979 as a regular until it's demise. By the time it left the air I was the only regular left on the show. Randy Lovoi left during the last couple of years and we brought in Steve Farnworth as a new Harvey. Cannonball left in 1982 and soon the show ended with a hiss rather then a bang!
Also, you had the time slot wrong for the show. During the first couple of years we ran from 6:45am until 8:40am at which time they ran a 20 minute newscast. When "AM America," the orginal name for "Good Morning America," started we were so popular that they ended up running the first hour of "AM America" from 6:00am to 7:00am. We ran from 7:00am to 8am and then they ran the last hour of "AM America." During that time the station changed it's CALL letters from KCPX to KTVX.
Larry and I moved back to our home state of Arizona where I continued in television, film, radio,and stage. I am now concentrating on stage and have written two books on film and travel the country doing lectures and radio programs as a film historian. For more info you can visit my website: www.silverscreencowboys.com.
In answer to you comments on "Light House 20," the show was created by Craig Clyde and Scott Curran. Scott played the host, Captain Scotty. I do not ever remember a girl on there.
I hope I've cleared the air about things

I think Cannonball survived all 10 seasons of Hotel Balderdash. He had his radio morning show in SLC during the same time period. (which he must have run too since HB was filmed live) [HB was not filmed live after all.] He apparently moved on to small-town Arizona, had a large family and enjoys motorcycles.

The top-hatted Harvey whose trademark was pulling his hand in front of his mouth and making a "bwooooooooop" sound whenever the show went to a cartoon, has disappeared off the face of the Earth with nary an Internet mention. I'm sure he is alive and well in some radio station in the heartland.

41 comments:

  1. How bizarre.

    We just had Miss Sandy and Romper Room. They must have had Romper Room franchises.

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  2. I remember Hotel Balderdash from the few years I lived in SLC as a kid. It was quite a relief when I moved to Arizona to find a similar formula show called Wallace and Ladmo. Wallace was a rotund straight man and Ladmo was the tall skinny goofy one. There was also a third bratty guy called Gerald.

    Look familair?
    http://www.geocities.com/hidenchef/WallaceandLadmo.html

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  3. Anonymous6:41 PM

    Hello everybody! This is the one, the only, RAYMOND, and my name is Charlie LeSueur, not Lance Williams!
    Lance, I believe was one of those local actors who used to pop in and out from time to time on the show, but he was never a regular.
    Concerning the history of "Hotel Balderdash." The show was indeed taken from "Wallace and Ladmo,in Arizona where Larry "Cannonball" John and I grew up. Wallace gave us the name Balderdash and said he had always wanted to place his show in a hotel with the guests as rotating characters. We ran with that and named the show "Hotel Balderdash." Wallace and Ladmo weren't very happy when the show was a success.
    Just before the show started we brought Randy Lovoi in as Harvey after other actors dropped out.
    The show went on the air on September 11, 1972 and lasted until 1982.
    I left the show in 1976, but returned briefly in 1977 when Cannonball left the show. When he returned I left again, but returned to the show in 1979 as a regular until it's demise. By the time it left the air I was the only regular left on the show. Randy Lovoi left during the last couple of years and we brought in Steve Farnworth as a new Harvey. Cannonball left in 1982 and soon the show ended with a hiss rather then a bang!
    Also, you had the time slot wrong for the show. During the first couple of years we ran from 6:45am until 8:40am at which time they ran a 20 minute newscast. When "AM America," the orginal name for "Good Morning America," started we were so popular that they ended up running the first hour of "AM America" from 6:00am to 7:00am. We ran from 7:00am to 8am and then they ran the last hour of "AM America." During that time the station changed it's CALL letters from KCPX to KTVX.
    Larry and I moved back to our home state of Arizona where I continued in television, film, radio,and stage. I am now concentrating on stage and have written two books on film and travel the country doing lectures and radio programs as a film historian. For more info you can visit my website: www.silverscreencowboys.com.
    In answer to you comments on "Light House 20," the show was created by Craig Clyde and Scott Curran. Scott played the host, Captain Scotty. I do not ever remember a girl on there.
    I hope I've cleared the air about things.

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  4. Raymond! Wow, I feel honored.

    In any case, I do think I remember Captain Scotty, but Channel 20 in those days was pretty mom and pop and I know the station manager dueled as Captain Scotty when Craig Clyde left the show for temporary reasons.

    As for Hotel Balderdash--quientessential TV that. Did you write an article for small local Utah papers or was that Larry John in your guise?

    Whatever happened to Harvey?

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  5. Anonymous8:28 PM

    I was a film critic for a local newspaper that I believe was owned by Larry John, although I can't remember the name of it, and I'm suprised anyone remembers it at all!
    One of my best friends, Dale Christianson, was the manager of the Trolley Theaters chain and a small group of us would watch movies at the theaters at Trolly Square until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, it was great! I understand that the Trolley Theater chain is no more.
    Larry John was, and is, a very industrious guy. I get together with him from time to time, and he comes to see my stage shows. I also produced a great show at KTVX called "Nightmare Theater" on the weekends, when Larry played a character named "Doctor Volapuk." He would start every show with, "Hello, this is kindly, lovable Doctor Volapuk." I never knew where he came up with that name? It was great sitting in the editing room watching those old Universal Pictures horror films.
    When I left "Balderdash," the first time, I can remember how all the big wigs at the station had to have a meeting with us to decide what they were going to do now that I was leaving. It was interesting to have us three guys, who were in our mid-twenties, in this room with all these old guys who were trying to figure out how to cover my leaving. It worked out fine in the long-run, but I knew the minute that I landed in L.A. that I wanted back. A little over a year after being in L.A., and doing some film and television work, I was called for an audition for a new situation comedy by the producers of "All in the Family." At the same time Randy Lovoi asked me back to do "Balderdash." Larry had left the show because he was tired of it. I came back for more "Balderdash." Three months later I was gone again!
    My stay in L.A. was productive however. I was in an improvisational comedy class with fellow student Robin Williams, this was before "Mork and Mindy," and he was hilarious!
    Craig Clyde, by the way, only did character parts on "Lighthouse 20," I believe he was also the announcer. Scott Curran was Scotty. The station manager at the time was a woman, and I'm sure she didn't appear on the show, but there may have been another woman who appeared on "Lighthouse 20."
    Craig had a noon talk show that I appeared on from time to time as a character named Thaddeus, who would answer trivia questions about horror movies.
    I can'remember whether "Lighthouse 20" was live or on tape, but I was at a few of shows and found out later that Scott and Craig had talked about me being a regular on the show - this according to Scott - but Craig didn't want me; who knows because Craig was always a gentleman with me. This of course was during the time I was not on "Balderdash."
    I was doing a radio show at KPRQ in Murray at the time that Balderdash came knocking again in 1979, and I found myself back on the show.
    By that time I was married. As a side note, my best man was Larry Tamblyn, the leader of the rock group, The Standells, and brother of film actor Russ Tamblyn. He spent some time with me a few years back at Christmas and it was good seeing him. Merrill Osmond was there as well. He's a great guy and married to my favorite cousin, Mary. Larry and Randy were taking odds at the time of my marriage as to how long it would last. So far almost 25 years, 7 kids and soon to be 11 grandchildren, although I'm too young for all that . . . yeah right! Randy, on the other hand, was the one to get the divorce!

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  6. Anonymous10:08 PM

    This stuff is bringing back a lot of fun memories. I grew up in SLC in the 60s and remember Nightmare Theater, Fireman Frank, and Captain Scotty very well. This all pre-dates Hotel Balderdash and Lighthouse 20. I may be mistaken, but I recall Scotty Clark was the original Captain Scotty on KCPX channel 4 in the afternoon and that he had a heart attack and died very young around 1973. Does anyone know for sure? Another great memory is of Fireman Frank hosting Dr. Mark Littmann from the Hansen Planetarium or the chimps Chip and Cookie from the Hogle zoo. Wasn't Ron Ross (Fireman Frank) Dr. Volapuk? And did Scotty Clark also have something to do with Nightmare Theater right around the time of the call letter change to KTVX when they started running the great old classic Universal flicks instead of all the old crap Godzilla vs. (fill in the blank) or Mr. Sardonicus movies? Thanks for letting me be a part of your blog...

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  7. Anonymous8:48 PM

    Hi, Raymond again.

    Never heard of a Scotty Clark, although that was some time ago and I didn't arrive in Salt Lake until 1972. Ron Ross was THE voice at the top of "Nightmare Theatre" pre-Volapuk. His voice welcomed everyone to the show, but there was only one LIVE host after 1972 (when I arrived)and that was Larry "Cannonball" John as Dr. Volapuk - a name he came up with. When I asked him what it meant he didn't have any idea, he just liked it.
    Anything pre-1972 I don't really know anything about, so there could have been a Captain Scotty before "Light House 20," but it would have been before 1972; as I said, I don't remember a Scotty Clark at Channel 4 after we arrived.
    I know, without going into the complete story, that the three of us went to KCPX just by chance to push our show as an afternoon kids show. We knew that Fireman Frank was very popular in the mornings, and had been for 10 years.
    We really had no plans to go to Channel 4, but Channel 2 wasn't interested because they felt educational children's show were the way to go - like "The New Zoo Review," - and Channel 5 was very interested but they wanted time to think it over. We decided to just visit Channel 4 on a lark, and within 30 minutes of us going in we were sitting in front of the Station President, Programming Director, and Advertising Director.
    They were very interested in why we came in that particular day. We kept telling them that we had made appointments with the other two stations and decided to give them a visit. They weren't satisfied with that answer and kept asking us: "But why did you pick today to come in?" I guess we finally convinced them that it was just coincidence, and then they told us that they had just released "Fireman Frank," that morning over a money issue.
    I know that "Fireman Frank," blamed us for his dismissal, but we had nothing to do with it. As a matter of fact, several "in house," talents such as Lynn Lehman, and Terry Pepper were also planning kids shows for their viewing. We did a pilot in early summer of 1972 and they picked our show over all the others. I have the pilot tape but it's on 3/4" tape, and I would need to find a machine to transfer it over to in order to look at it. It would be interesting. We never met "Fireman Frank," but Mark Littman was always on the show and was wonderful, as was Nancy the Librarian.
    As a side-note, when KCPX changed call letters to KTVX in order to differentiate the television station from the radio station, we soon moved off of Social Hall Avenue. Our "Hotel Balderdash" set wasn't ready yet so we came in for about a week and did our show live from the news set; remember Art Kent, Allan Moll, and Dave Blackwell (who was a real pr#@k). For a while, they had a weatherman named Alan Eutis (we nicknamed him "Alan Useless") They kept pumping money into their news department to no avail. We would joke that in a three station market Channel Four's news was rated fourth! As a matter of fact, our show got caught in the crossfire when ABC threatened to yank their affiliation due to low news ratings. The only way they could save the affiliation was to place the two hours of "Good Morning,America," together from 7:00am to 9:00am. Our show was then relegated to a half hour from 6:30am to 7:00am. It was time to leave anyway, as the corporation that took it over was full of wannabe stars (one of them a prominate attorney in Orem)that had absolutely no talent; the attorney's main character was a blatant rip-off of John Belushi's Samauri character. It was very embarrassing, and finally Randy quit out of disgust and frustration. No matter what our differences, Randy wanted the show to be a class act and now it was getting to be more like "Talent Showcase."
    One last side-note, a pleasant one. One of my best friends was the popular KCPX DJ Chad O' Stevens who would eventually use his real name Danny Jessop and achieve real success in the Salt Lake market.

    All the Best,
    Charlie LeSueur
    www.silverscreencowboys.com

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  8. Anonymous11:54 PM

    I'm not trying to put you off or anything, but I'm sorry to say that I was extremely bothered by the Raymond character and as a result tended to leave the room when the cartoon was over...sorry Mr. LeSueur (but thank you for writing in the blog...it's cool to communicate with someone from the era that was a part of it, not just an observer)...but then again, to be annoying was probably the point of Raymond.
    I may be mistaken, but I recall Scotty Clark was the original Captain Scotty on KCPX channel 4 on the afternoon cartoon show (pre-1971). He had light short hair (it might have even been a flat top) and I think he wore a lot of turtlenecks. He even lived on Green Street just off 8th south (near my childhood home on 7th east) but moved away because the neighborhood kids wouldn't let him have any peace...and that he had a heart attack and died very young around 1973, but that part came from my late mother, as I never met him. And speaking of Ron Ross, who my mom went to school with at Ogden High in the 40s, I still get the chills when I recall that horrific footage that intro'd Nightmare Theater...I'd love to see that again (and also know what flicks they edited it from). Funny how about the only advertisers during Nightmare were for Freight Outlet and Menlove Dodge Toyota...the last of the little guys!...what were 30s going for back then...about five bucks?! I also remember Allan Mall (the guy looked like he'd had a stroke...always talked out of one side of his mouth). Remember Carrie Cochrane? A Pirate's Dream! (sunken chest) and Alan Eustis was pretty milquetoast as channel 4's weatherman. I think he left to go to Alaska or something...I Googled him and he's still working in weather...I think for the government. But please...Dave Blackwell a p%$&k? Say it ain't so! He was so authoritative in his paisley ties (but I preferred Paul James). I was in the SLC radio scene for awhile in the late 70s to 1985 at B101-FM as their chief engineer, commercial traffic manager and even did copy writing and news and commercials occasionally before they were sold and became KBER. I'm now a dentist in Arizona and I truly miss those days so long ago. I Hope Raymond, Harvey and Cannonball have a special place reserved for them in TV/Radio heaven with Ron Ross, Scotty Clark, Will Lucas and Bernie Calderwood.

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  9. Anonymous2:44 PM

    Great news for Balderdash Fans! I just got off the phone with Randy 'Harvey' Lovoi and we will be appearing together again! Next week - December 12th - we will be recording some new segments for Randy's new show, "The Randy Lovoi Show," which will air in Utah, but Cannonball and I will be shot here in Arizona! We will just be ourselves talking about current topics, not a children's show. Randy will also be involved in the production of two new podcast shows for me, "Rant and Rave," and "Riding the Cowboy Trail." Larry "Cannonball" John already has a show which is podcast called, "The HotTub Podcast Party," give it a listen, but keep the children away!

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  10. Anonymous10:36 PM

    After a recent move, my copy of the Hotel Balderdash album turned up and I was trying to explain to my husband what it was all about.
    I received the album (and a few other goodies) at a visit that was made to my elementary school in Utah County.
    Guess I need to copy it onto cd for the kids...

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  11. By the way, I just noticed that it was said that Larry John had to run to his radio show in the morning because Balderdash was done "live." This is untrue. It was taped on Monday nights for the week (Tuesday through the next Monday).

    Charlie (Raymond) LeSueur

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  12. Anonymous7:29 PM

    I remember Nightmare Theatre with Fireman Frank. I've been in the Salt Lake Valley, off and on, since 1962. I thought he would be easy to find on the internet, but isn't. This was a really good show and I used to look forward to staying up late and watching it every week.

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  13. Some quick asides, having been born in SLC (1956) and spending my prime childhood years watching all of that stuff.
    The opening to Nightmare Theater was terrrific--thunder and lightning, the camera zooming in on a haunted house. Ron Ross would echo "Nighhhttmaaaare!...(evil laugh) ...thrilling...chilling..." etc. The movies were typical 50s stuff--Attack of the 50-foot woman, House on Haunted Hill, etc.) It began at 10:30 p.m., right after the news.
    Fireman Frank was terrific; it began with Ron Ross sliding down the pole in his "Firehouse," siren and bells in the background...I remember his having as a guest Jerry Duberry (sp) from the Hogle Zoo, who later died when bitten by a poisonous snake at the zoo!
    Prior to that, Ron was "Kimbo the Clown." I recall a peanut gallery of kids appearing on the show. He wore a large top hat and the huge, oversize glasses. I was very young; this probably was around 1960-61.
    Another thing: As a kid a bunch of us went to the ballet to see "The Nutcracker." Ron Ross had a part in it, I remember him dancing in tights. Extraordinary! He struck me, and strikes me, as a wonderful, talented, good-hearted fellow.
    The first "Captain Scotty" show had a fuller title--"Captain Scotty and Gemini 4" This is very telling as to when it began: 1965. He wore the astronaut's suit without the helmet. He looked a bit like actor Martin Milner. The show seemed to wear on him; even as a kid he seemed strained, and didn't appear to like children very much. I remember seeing him at Lagoon one summer, kids all around him, and him not looking happy about it at all. In my teenage years, I remember older people telling me had a drinking problem. That's unkind and unsubstantiated, but it's part of the local lore.
    The first Romper Room I recall had Miss Nancy as host. Lord knows there were a bunch of them.
    Hotel Balderdash was very well done I thought, corny, slapstick, improvisational stuff, but very good. I admire that they could do it day after day; the layman has no idea how tough that is.
    No question Channel 4, KCPX, was the best network for kids.
    After college I was a sportswriter at the Ogden Standard-Examiner for a few years. I got to know some of the old sports guys--Bill Marcroft, the imcomparable Bill Howard, and so on. One of my roommates was a cameraman at the NBC affiliate in Salt lake (we were young and woefully underpaid) and I remember him asking him one time if he had access to some old Utah Stars ABA basketball footage. He looked into it, and told me NONE of the stuff, sports or otherwise, from the early years existed. They just taped over the same reels, never saved a damned thing. My understanding is that all the networks did that, and it's tragic how that part of our culture and heritage has been lost. I can't imagine how much fun it would be watching an episode or two of Hotel Balderdash, Captain Scotty, Fireman Frank and so on.

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  14. Anonymous3:58 PM

    Just thought I'd check back. It's been a while. It's always fun to look back. Larry "Cannonball" John recently emailed me and asked if I was interested in doing a radio program with him. I was, but the time just isn't right for me. I am busy going from stage show to stage show and recently opened a Quiznos Fast Food Shop. I am nominated for a Zoni (Arizona's equivalent to a Tony) Award this year, so things are very busy for me. In answer to the person saying that Raymond bothered them - the character was supposed to. However, Raymond also got more fan mail then the two others, which we always found interesting. Every year Harvey and Raymond would run for "Fun Commissioner" and Harvey was supposed to get the most votes. Every year Raymond would get the most votes, but we couldn't have him win so we said that Harvey always got the most votes! Great Times! Check out my new website: www.charlielesueur.com.

    See Ya Later,
    Charlie "Raymond" LeSueur

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  15. Wow, this is great.

    I grew up in Provo watching you guys and remember many shows and scenes, whether you know it or not you are still a part of many peoples lives and probably played a bigger role in many than you will ever know.

    I remember Charlie's (Raymond) "bell-hop" skit for instance, and the rest of the cast looking on like "what the heck are you doing???" I was worried when he left the show shortly afterwards. Raymond's Corner was always worth watching. Weird for us young kids, but funny.

    I remember staying up late because our babysitter somehow heard Cannonball would be driving by on the freeway in Provo one night. Sure enough, an hour later he did in what I recall as an older, yellow VW Bug, smiling and waving and happy to see us. Those kinds of things were big deals to us.

    I also remember meeting Harvey during the road show at Provo's Farrer Jr High, I was one of the lucky nerds and got picked to sit next to Harvey in the crowd to hold his mic during the opening skit.

    I learned a bit about show biz and acting that day after I disobeyed his request to not stand up with the lunky 70's microphone in my lap and got a sharp tug of the shirt sleeve to remind me. Cannonball was onstage telling everyone to stand up and cheer, while Harvey was telling me to sit down, it was quite the conflict at the time. :D

    Thanks for all the memories guys, and glad to hear you are all doing well.

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  16. Anonymous12:16 PM

    Thanks for the comments. Check out my new site:

    www.charlielesueur.com

    Charlie "Raymond" LeSueur

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  17. Anonymous12:18 PM

    P.S.

    Just had a wonderful talk with "Wallace" and he is doing well!

    Charlie LeSueur

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  18. Anonymous9:44 PM

    Hey,I was on Lighthouse 20 in the late seventies/early eighties.

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  19. Anonymous9:42 PM

    Aw memories. As a kid, I could never really accept the fact that Fireman (Ron Ross) Frank's voice was that eerie cry heard during the introduction of nightmare theater. The background noise alone gave me the creeps - but that voice, yikes!

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  20. I regret to announce that the second "Harvey," Steve Farnworth, has passed away. Although he was on Hotel Balderdash a short time and couldn't possibly live up to Randy Lovoi as Harvey, it is a sad time.

    Charlie "Raymond" LeSueur
    www.charlielesueur.com

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  21. That's sad news, indeed, Charlie.

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  22. Hotel Balderdash was what my daughter today would call the bomb. I was a child guest on the show myself and won a Harvey Bag. Those that remember. The Harvey Bag was a Brown Paper Bag that said Harvey Bag on it. It would be loaded with Board games, Toys, Tickets, Candy, Etc. I remember mine had a Operation Game, Some coloring books, and Family tickets to the Ringling Brothers Barnum Bailey Circus and I can't remember exactly but I think it was a Free Ice Cream Pass for Snelgrove along with some other toys and games. It was kind of cool. At the same time my Little Sister was over at Channel 5 doing the Miss Julie thing on Romper Room. I just remember she was mad when she found out. My mom made me share everything with her. I give her the coloring books and crayons and some of the candy.

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  23. A few corrections...

    Contrary to Mediaman, Ron Ross, was NOT Kimbo the Clown. I should know, I appeared in Kimbo's peanut gallery several times.

    Kimbo was played by Jack Whitaker, who also did a stint on a KUTV scary movie show called "Shock Theater" as Roderick. Perhaps that is the source of the confusion.

    Here's a link to a site about schlocky local tv characters with a great reminiscence by the woman who played Roderick's sidekick: http://myweb.wvnet.edu/e-gor/tvhorrorhosts/hostsr.html

    My memories of SLC children's television are very long indeed----what no mention of Captain, later Admiral Bernie? Or even Captain Jet?

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  24. Captain Bernie was before my time (as was Fireman Frank), good professor. I only know of Fireman Frank because my sister used to watch him. She would get completely dressed before turning on the TV because she thought Fireman Frank could see her.

    On a similar note, Miss Julie, freaked me out once because she said my name in her "birthday mirror" segment. According to my mother I ran screaming from the room.

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  25. Hell, yeah! Lighthouse 20 was cool. If I remember correctly, the opening credits included a voiceover announcement that said, "Live, from Cantaloupe Island!"

    I think I even watched its first episode. There was a secret-word gimmick like on Groucho Marx's You Bet Your Life except, instead of a rubber chicken, it was a plastic crab that dropped into frame. On the first episode, the crab dropped in and the voiceover announced, "The word of the day is: 'word.'" This is a vivid childhood memory.

    Hotel Balderdash was awesome. My stepdad worked at Channel 4, and one night he invited Randy Lovoi ("Harvey") over for dinner. At 10 years old, I remember being so starstruck and overawed that I could hardly talk for the entire evening.

    Cordelia: I think you're right. Salt Lake City's Romper Room goddess was Miss Julie, but a friend of mine once told me that, in her hometown (in the Midwest?) the show was hosted by a "Miss Sally." There must have been lots of franchises!

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  26. I actually won a signed copy of their LP for getting second place in one of their contests. They had these 'grab-bags' and you would send your gues in and maybe you won. I got second place and I thought I was sooooooo cool for getting it.

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  27. I remember Light House 20 and Hotel Balderdash when I was a kid. If I'm remembering correctly, these shows aired on what was then new channel 20. I have VERY fond memories of Nightmare Theater. Oh what fun that was! I remember looking forward to it every Friday. I'm not sure this is the same one mentioned here though. This was mid to late 70's and the intro was a dark screen with drawn faces fading in and out. The intro opened to Elton John's "Funeral for a Friend" and later to Alan Parson's "I Robot" Being the nostalgia nut that I am, I've collected nearly every old movie I remember watching on Nightmare Theater. I don't know if any prints of that intro still exist but oh how I would love to find one!

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  28. Brace yourselves, kiddos. It might be making a comeback.

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  29. I am a firefighter with what was once Salt Lake County Fire in the late 80's. We had written,produced a Fire Prevention Stage Show in 1987 to 1992. During this 5 year run over three months 120 preformances to over 100k elementary students in the Granite and Jordan School Districts.
    During our second year we added a female educator, actor and producer to vallidate our program.
    Somehow she knew Craig Cylde and we were "booked" on Lighthouse 20 to promote the Fire Program.
    Craig Clyde approved the three segments but refused to allow anyone other then Michelle to be on camera. So we modified our bits and feed Michelle from off camera.
    When we arrived the "studio" was the size of a 7-11 store not counting the freezer case ! Two cameras, one locked down and one operator. I remember a women producer who came in during the cartoons.
    The female that was mentioned earlier on this blog may very well have been Michelle as Craig invited her to return often.
    Our bits included a quick info about the program, the smoke witch song and dance, and the dancing smoke detector routine. The last being accomplished by me feed my lines off camera and Michelle speaking to a smoke detector in her hands. I believe Craig was enamored with Michelle !lol
    Lighthouse 20 was not on the air long perhaps three years? It orginated from the mythical Cantelope Island, a play off Anthelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. I remember the back drops for the show were cheaper then our traveling sets ! Props were at a minimum and the set was inches from the daily cooking show island range counter.
    Now as for Bolderdash...I moved to SLC in 1975 and thought I had seen that show somewhere. Wallace and Ladmo ! I now remember that W&L predated the Channel 4 show by many years. We had relatives in Mesa that we visited a few times as a kid and that format rings a bell!
    Thank you for this blog and wish my grandchildren could experience the fun from local television childrens programing. That day is long gone in the corporate media world.
    Tell it to the cows, Firedog

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  30. If you're interested, you can follow Hotel Balderdash at their new Twitter account, or become a fan on their new Facebook page. Editing of a new promo is underway, and it will soon be pitched to stations across the country. Woo Hoo!

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  31. I too have great memories of Nightmare Theater. I remember when it was called "The 10:15 Double Nightmare" and then later "The 10:20 Double Nightmare". Just exactly how they ended the news at 10:15 or 10:20 was unclear. I remember the opening montage in bits a pieces. I seem to remember the camera slowing zooming in on a hooded figure looking down at a podium with candles on each side, then right as the camera reached the hooded figure they looked up to reveal a hideous skeleton face. KCPX made full use of the "Shock Theater" package Universal Pictures sold in packages to local television stations around the country starting in 1957. Generally the first movie was the better of the two and I often fell asleep, along with my sleep-over friends prior to the second movie getting underwary around midnight. I also remember that KSL, channel 5 tried to compete with Nightmare Theater sometime around 1971 with a similar program. For their intro they played a segment from "Black Sabbath" an Italian horror movie featuring three unrelated stories--similar to NBC's "Night Gallery." But the KSL version never had the good movies to air like KCPX's "Nightmare Theater" did.

    After Ron Ross stopped doing to the voice-over intros I remember Dr. Volapuk. The make-up was ridiculous and the special effects were hokey but the movies were still entertaining. I remember at the conclusion of each Nightmare Theater hosted by Dr. Volapuk he delivered the same bizarre line, "And remember that Volapuk spelled backwards is Kup-a-luv." How this innane observation was supposed to clarify his name was a mystery to me. The last I remember seeing any Nightmate Theaters was about 1981, although they may have endured a bit longer.

    Concerning KCPX afternoon programming, I also remember Captain KC (for KCPX). Bernie Calderwood played this marine captain character. He leaned on his ship's wheel with his captain's hat tipped to one side and introduced cartoons and The Adventures of Superman. After Captain KC had run its course on KCPX Calderwood switched to KSL where he became a submarine captain named Admiral Bernie. And later in the late 1960s and early 1970s he hosted the KSL 'Big Money Movie' in which viewers could win cash if they responded to a telephone call during the movie and could answer a question based on the movie or an on-screen number. I remember the cash prizes were seldom more than $10 or $20 tops.

    Ahhh...the good old days of Salt Lake City children's programming.

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  32. Thanks, Pops.

    It is funny how this off-hand blog post I wrote 5 years ago still attracts attention.

    Good old days in SLC, indeed.

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  33. At last!!! maybe someone here will know the answer to this question!! I've been trying for a long time to remember the name of one of the old sponsers of Nightmare Theater. It was a family owned furniture store and if memory serves me right I believe at 1st the old man did the commercials and later his son took that roll over. I do remember them as being quite goofy - not sure if it's how they were or they were ahead of there times lol. I remember it being an unusual name also. Hope someone remembers - I'd much appreciate it

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  34. Long time ago. Would rather concentrate on what I am doing now. Fond memories but it's time to move on. Different time, different person. Cheers.

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  35. Different time, great memories. The time has gone and it's time to move on. I would rather concentrate on what I am doing now rather then rehash past memories. It was a great time, but it's time for all of us to move on. Loved it, but bye, bye! Doesn't fit in with my life now.

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  36. I know this post is very old, but I just found it. I'm a Utard who remembers Lighthouse 20. It was definitely a man who was the host. When I was a teen, I went house hunting with my folks. One house had a bizarre little Captain Cutlass shrine behinfd the wet bar. Turns out, the homeowner was his mother. I even remember the joke-a-matic. The robot/computer thing that would tell horrible jokes; and I think some dude in a chicken suit.

    I lament the loss of local studio tv. I was googling that old "Nightmare Theater" from SLC as well. There was narration, but not really studio stuff for that. But I stumbled across a more popular "Nightmare Theater" from Indiana. A local celebrity known as Sammy Terry (Word play on cemetery) hosted B horror movies for decades. I really really miss this kind of TV. I actually work in TV and this stuff is partially why. But I tire of all that overly-polished crap which took over. Stuff that pretends to be more relevant, but is actually less.

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  37. I believe the female host of Lighthouse 20 took over once the guy left the show. It didn't last as she was terrible.

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  38. I grew up in Prescott & Tucson, AZ, among other places, so I was familiar with Wallace & Ladmo. When I moved to SLC in 75, it was clear Hotel Balderdash was almost a franchise of W&L, being such a direct copy of the main characters. What sucked was Utah school bus rides meat the only time I could see much of Balderdash was when I was sick.

    I also recall KSTU TV-20 when they first came on the air- I had to go buy a UHF loop antenna to receive it, but I was lucky enough to know about it before they debuted because I was a producer at KSXX in Salt Lake (next door to a porno theater, so the call sign was organic) and was up on "the Industry", as it was (and is) in Utah.

    For the first few years, KSTU was owned by Springfield TV, and was pretty independent because it wasn't so heavy-handedly another arm of the LDS church. They started out with a lot of test patterns and Tom & Jerry cartoons, then added WB toons, "Battle of the Planets", Rocky & Bullwinkle, Dick Van Dyke, etc.

    Lighthouse 20 took a few months to get going, but I recall it being the first locally-produced show on the channel. I watched it a lot because I was old enough to enjoy it for the production values and gaffs- it was like watching Dark Shadows being made on a much smaller stage, and even when I was 5 I used to get a kick out of all the lighting mistakes and mis-cues on Dark Shadows.

    Still, Captain Scotty was a good host, and the show soon got better, and the kids' value was always there.

    As I mentioned, I worked at KSXX as a kid- 12-13 or so. It's GM was Starley Bush. Had I known KDAB (B-101's call sign)stood for 'Droubay And Bush', I never would have gone to work at B-101. Most of the staff were great, but the Droubays were incompetent buffoons. Dad wad rich enough to buy the place so his snot-nosed, talentless kids could run it into the ground. At least it kept Mike off the streets, I suppose. Man, they treated their staff like scum.

    I can only think the person above claiming to be the "Jack of All Trades" (chief engineer, traffic mgr, copywriter, news and commercial voice) is Mike Droubay. First, there was no engineer. Everyone running the tape decks (it was early automation) was an engineer, taking the elevator down to the managers office at the Ben Lomond Hotel to calibrate and take readings. The traffic manager was a computer-designed schedule and, again, the tape ops keyed in cart/ad rotations into the automation system. Not Mike. That position, too, did not exist. Mikes brother, who I rarely met and never had a beef with- seemed nice, decent sense of humor given the joke copy he'd come up with occasionally- was the ad man of the company. He sold ads and wrote the copy. Mike occasionally did news, but that was incredibly rare. Mike was the PD (Programming Director). As you may have gleaned from my lengthy description, the place was automated, so his job was 99% being an a**hole to the folks running the station.

    His dad, Paul, is also the jerk that successfully sued the FCC in order to make it so a station didn't have to broadcast from their market. Winning that terrible decision by the FCC, it helped rush the death knell of radio, broadcasting, and journalism in general in America. B-101 was, in fact, the prototype of mindless, faceless, corporate mass media that is American Broadcasting today. Way to go, Paul Droubay, you a**hat!

    Sorry to spend so much time on B-101, but I had to. I think anyone with a brain and a heart that was ever in broadcasting back in the 40s-70s can see how the suits and the Droubays of the industry made it impossible to see locally-produced talent. In fact, everything now is the mindless droning of Big Brother.

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  39. I grew up in Prescott & Tucson, AZ, among other places, so I was familiar with Wallace & Ladmo. When I moved to SLC in 75, it was clear Hotel Balderdash was almost a franchise of W&L, being such a direct copy of the main characters. What sucked was Utah school bus rides meat the only time I could see much of Balderdash was when I was sick.

    I also recall KSTU TV-20 when they first came on the air- I had to go buy a UHF loop antenna to receive it, but I was lucky enough to know about it before they debuted because I was a producer at KSXX in Salt Lake (next door to a porno theater, so the call sign was organic) and was up on "the Industry", as it was (and is) in Utah.

    For the first few years, KSTU was owned by Springfield TV, and was pretty independent because it wasn't so heavy-handedly another arm of the LDS church. They started out with a lot of test patterns and Tom & Jerry cartoons, then added WB toons, "Battle of the Planets", Rocky & Bullwinkle, Dick Van Dyke, etc.

    Lighthouse 20 took a few months to get going, but I recall it being the first locally-produced show on the channel. I watched it a lot because I was old enough to enjoy it for the production values and gaffs- it was like watching Dark Shadows being made on a much smaller stage, and even when I was 5 I used to get a kick out of all the lighting mistakes and mis-cues on Dark Shadows.

    Still, Captain Scotty was a good host, and the show soon got better, and the kids' value was always there.

    As I mentioned, I worked at KSXX as a kid- 12-13 or so. It's GM was Starley Bush. Had I known KDAB (B-101's call sign)stood for 'Droubay And Bush', I never would have gone to work at B-101. Most of the staff were great, but the Droubays were incompetent buffoons. Dad wad rich enough to buy the place so his snot-nosed, talentless kids could run it into the ground. At least it kept Mike off the streets, I suppose. Man, they treated their staff like scum.

    I can only think the person above claiming to be the "Jack of All Trades" (chief engineer, traffic mgr, copywriter, news and commercial voice) is Mike Droubay. First, there was no engineer. Everyone running the tape decks (it was early automation) was an engineer, taking the elevator down to the managers office at the Ben Lomond Hotel to calibrate and take readings. The traffic manager was a computer-designed schedule and, again, the tape ops keyed in cart/ad rotations into the automation system. Not Mike. That position, too, did not exist. Mikes brother, who I rarely met and never had a beef with- seemed nice, decent sense of humor given the joke copy he'd come up with occasionally- was the ad man of the company. He sold ads and wrote the copy. Mike occasionally did news, but that was incredibly rare. Mike was the PD (Programming Director). As you may have gleaned from my lengthy description, the place was automated, so his job was 99% being an a**hole to the folks running the station.

    His dad, Paul, is also the jerk that successfully sued the FCC in order to make it so a station didn't have to broadcast from their market. Winning that terrible decision by the FCC, it helped rush the death knell of radio, broadcasting, and journalism in general in America. B-101 was, in fact, the prototype of mindless, faceless, corporate mass media that is American Broadcasting today. Way to go, Paul Droubay, you a**hat!

    Sorry to spend so much time on B-101, but I had to. I think anyone with a brain and a heart that was ever in broadcasting back in the 40s-70s can see how the suits and the Droubays of the industry made it impossible to see locally-produced talent. In fact, everything now is the mindless droning of Big Brother.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Anonymous2:48 AM

    The 'jack of all trades' as you describe it at B101 that made the above entry wasn't Mike Droubay, or even a member of their family, it was me, Jeff Blair. I went to work there in November of 1978 babysitting the automation on Sundays for 13 hours while I was still a senior in high school. A few months later the production director, 'James Kay' Florence moved to Texas to take a job and I took over the production department when Mike Scott (the RC Willey guy after Ray LeBreq) was the program director and morning man. The chief engineer then was Bob Chamberlin, but he quit in a dispute he had with the Droubays and was replaced by Brent Sylvester and me. I also took over the traffic dept in 1979 (which was a hand-written log) and later developed some software to run it off an old Apple IIe clone. We moved the studio from the Ben Lomond Hotel to the Eccles Building in the spring of 1981 and around that time Mike Droubay's younger brother Don came on board after he graduated from Westminster College and became the sales manager. He was quiet and a nice guy but I don't think he wrote a single piece of copy in the 4+ years I knew him. Mike's older brother Greg (who worked for a TV station in SLC) phoned in a news bite (calling himself 'Paul Gregory') once in a while but I never met the man in the 6 1/2 years I was there. Mike Droubay did the afternoon drive show every weekday for about 4 years, including the news. Because it was a small town operation, we all had to be flexible and we all did a variety of jobs. Once in a while, I wrote a little copy and did some voice stuff on a few rare occasions...I even had the unenviable job of going live on the night of December 8, 1980 and telling Northern Utah that John Lennon was dead. As I witnessed it, Paul Droubay wanted to get into the SLC market, which was impossible to do with an FM signal and the transmitter tower out at Little Mountain at ground level in the swampy shoreline of the Great Salt Lake. By moving the transmitter from there to Farnsworth Peak, he not only reached a much larger audience, but he also actually improved the signal strength in Ogden. My experience with the Droubays was a positive one. It wasn't always smooth, but they recognized I was a valuable asset to the station, so they worked around my schedule for years while I went to Weber State during the day and worked at the station at night so I could realize my dream of moving away, going to grad school and becoming a dentist. I guess my mileage varied from nospam above...and the funny thing is, I don't recognize nospam as anyone I worked with...and I was there almost every day from November 1978 until August 1985. Who are you, mystery man and Droubay hater?

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  41. Anonymous9:23 PM

    Oh, and by the way, Paul Droubay wasn't 'rich enough' to buy the place. He started B-101 from scratch as a brand-new station in 1975. When he sold it to Albimar in 1986, Mike and Don stayed on for a year as part of the deal, and then they were on their own. Paul lived the American Dream...he built up a business from scratch, made it all it could be in his hands, then sold it for a tidy profit, moved to Arizona and retired. Maybe that's the problem for nospam. Paul was successful.

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