Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Big Chuck's Retirement

Now, that's timing.

Just a day after an exclusive OMW item about WJW FOX 8's non-renewal of the contracts for station icons "Big Chuck" Schodowski and "Lil' John" Rinaldi, OMW feels it's been spinned by the Plain Dealer and the local FOX O&O.

PD TV/radio columnist Julie Washington, covering a local TV item a couple of days earlier than normal, says Schodowski is "thinking about retiring" from the "Big Chuck and Lil' John Show". And naturally, with Big Chuck hanging it up, Rinaldi agrees that the show won't continue in another iteration.

The article does bring up a good point. We'd forgotten that Chuck was 72 years old. He's been doing late night local TV for 43 years, starting off as a staffer on Ernie Anderson's signature late night horror flick/comedy show "Ghoulardi".

Schodowski, we assume, would consider it a compliment that we can't see him as being over 70.

But make no mistake. Our information from yesterday's item is solid, and FOX has been pushing pretty much since they took over WJW for the local suits to show BC&LJ the door.

Even Big Chuck himself, ever graceful and taking the heat for this, hints at it in the PD story. "It used to be an established, unmovable thing. Now we get kicked around," he tells Washington.

But he's not at all complaining about FOX, or even how they sometimes don't have a clue as to what kind of movies the local pair should wrap their show around.

On his way out the door, "Big Chuck" is showing more class than a roomful of FOX executives...


Anonymous said...

Very much a class act indeed.

I'm actually surprised that the show has lasted over twelve years now under the FOX re-branding of WJW and the changes in time-slots and such. He's right about nobody knowing what to do with the shows.

If they were still showing the old Ghoulardi-style movies, I'd probably be tuning in every Saturday night. As it is, I just wait for the skit show on Saturday mornings now when it's aired. Yes, the jokes are mostly bad, but it's a very interesting look at a time gone by.

Anonymous said...

Big Chuck is a class act and it really shows but when it comes to ch and the films they select is the classic films that fit best with Big Chuck and Little John WJW cannot get because they are not offered to local stations and this is not FOX's fault. I did notice how Big Chuck saying he does not watch the films they show around his show. Many of those films are from sister division fox features and I can see how he may not like them. When it comes to the time slot with fox expanding late nite with talkshow with spike furgeson where can it go? The skits show is in a timeslot that I am sure FOX would love to have filled with local news so I understand why FOX faught to have the show removed.

Anonymous said...

I live in Erie, PA and the short time back in the 80's, when we used to get WJW on our cable system, always enjoyed Big Chuck and Little John! Damn shame that corporate giants have ice in their veins and could care less about what's important to these stations - the viewers or the listeners!

Anonymous said...

Hopefully for the final show we will get to see Hoolihan come back along with Big Chuck and Lil John to say goodbye. All of them were a big part of WJW Channel 8 over the years.

Anonymous said...

I'm also holding out hope that we'll get to have at least one more Ghoulardi Night before all is said and done. But, I highly doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Cleveland won't be the same without you guys - You've brought a lot of joy and laughter to our hearts over the years. You're going to be dearly missed.
Love you guys.
Butch Rohrer

Anonymous said...

I commend Big Chuck for doing what he has done for so long and being loyal to Cleveland.But let's face it-the comedy is just plain dumb and Chuck should have retired a looonnnggg time ago.The so-called Certain Ethnic jokes are no longer fresh and so many people who want to watch a movie(and yes,there are some)are annoyed with the interuptions.
Ghoulardi was very special and Big Chuck was one of the people who helped create Ghoulardi as we knew him.(Ralph Gulko actualy designed the makeup and named the character.Bob Soinksi helped too-and Ernie Anderson had loads of fun being Ghoulardi.)Ghoulardi lasted four years-long enough to become an icon but not long enough to get stale.
No one could replace Ghoulardi.Big Chuck and Hoolihan were only his sucsessors.They coasted in on Ghoulardi's reputation,but now there are whole generations with no memories of Ghoulardi or Hoolihan.Chuck has done alright over the years-but it's time for him to hang up his kielbassy and call it quits.

the certain ethnic guy said...

I can't believe anyone thinks Big Chuck & Lil John "should have retired a looonnggg time ago" !!! What a crappy comment! These guys are a television legend. They have provided us with decades of quality entertainment. I grew up watching Hoolihan, Big Chuck and Lil John, and their show was (and still is) my all-time favorite, far above anything else that has ever run on television, local or national. I am sure thousands of people in this part of Ohio feel the same way. Big Chuck & Lil John (and Hoolihan) is one of the longest-running shows in television history. You can't pull that off if people don't think your act is very special, and it most certainly is. These gentlemen are more than horror hosts, they are a cultural icon. Among the horror host community, they are revered as the grandaddy of all shows, the "Big Kahuna". Only Ghoulardi could lay claim to be their equal. Do not disrespect Big Chuck and Little John! Thanks, Chuck and John, Hoolie, and the rest of your crew, for being a part of our lives. You're the greatest!!!

jason halas said...

I watched Hoolie and Big Chuck as a kid and stayed up many a night trying to catch pj party. I was a little put off initially by the loss of the Weatherman but I came to appreciate Lil' John and now all these years later it's coming to an end. My dad watched you, I watched you and now my son watches some shows I have on vhs and of course the two editions of The Legend Continues. You will be sorely missed and irreplacable, Kid.

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