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Big Chuck!: My Favorite Stories from 47 Years on Cleveland TV Paperback – October 13, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Gray & Company, Publishers; 1 edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598510568
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598510560
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #494,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A vivid picture of an honest man in the insane world of television. Highly recommended. (Midwest Book Review 2009-04-01)

A trip down memory lane for the Cleveland TV star’s many fans. The book reads like Big Chuck is right there talking to you over a couple of Manners’ Big Boys. (Steve Wiandt Hudson Hub-Times 2008-12-14)

Reading the book is an entertaining journey as Chuck takes you with him from the beginning to where he is at now. There are plenty of laughs along the way with cast, crew, celebrities and every day life. (Helen Marketti Lifestyle Magazine 2009-02-01)

If you were a Clevelander and it was a late Friday night, there was only one show to watch. Schodowski was bigger than Johnny Carson and made white socks and pink flamingoes larger than life. Peyton Place became Parma Place. Ben Casey became Ben Crazy. And all of Cleveland was along for the wild ride. Memories of the show live on in the book . . . It’s as entertaining as the shows were. (Barry Goodrich Currents 2010-02-01)

Review

A delightful mix of gossip about Cleveland goings-on . . . For those who recall the prank-prone author on the "Ghoulardi" show or on his late-night show that ran 40 years, it will remind them of laughs past. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I remember as a kid watching Hoolihan and Big Chuck every Friday night.
Casey's One Man Rock N Roll Band
Tom Feran, who co-wrote the book, does a great job of letting the Conversational style of Big Chuck come through in the narrative.
Michaelawhile
My stepbrother insisted that I read this book and I'm glad that he did.
Jason Chamberlain

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Michaelawhile on October 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Big Chuck Schodowski tells this story in his own words. At 74 years old, he's had a tremendous career, and made countless friends. Tom Feran, who co-wrote the book, does a great job of letting the Conversational style of Big Chuck come through in the narrative. To read this book, is to hear Big Chuck talking like he's standing right next to you sharing a beer.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Best Of All on December 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
From his late-night Friday start on Cleveland, Ohio, television by writing bits for Ernie "Ghoulardi" Anderson, to the improbable (for him) co-hosting stints with Bob "Hoolihan" Wells and "Lil'" John Rinaldi, Chuck Schodowski had an amazing 47-year run delighting viewers on the North Coast through his creative humor that was spiced up with local flavor.

His recollections - co-written by Tom Feran - are a wonderful romp through an era of Cleveland television (Channel 8, WJW) when a premium was placed on original programing. Schodowski was a station engineer who dabbled in creating skits for the popular Ghoulardi show; which featured Anderson as the incredibly outrageous host of a B-movie, typically in the horror or Sci-Fi genres.

Anderson left WJW in 1966 and Wells - a station weatherman - successfully auditioned to take the late-night slot for a new show. Schodowski, who had assisted "Hoolihan" with his pitch to station management, had hoped to continue writing for the program. But management wanted a co-host, so the Hoolihan and Big Chuck Show was launched. Schodowski thought he would have a co-hosting run of around 13 weeks. Was he ever wrong.

Recurring sketches like "Guitarzan," "Ben Crazy," "Rowdy the Wonder Dog" and "Readings By Robert" - with a B-movie also in the mix - made the show a hit, which continued after Hoolihan left in 1979 and was replaced by Rinaldi, a Cleveland businessman who had appeared in some of the sketches on Hoolihan and Big Chuck.

Schodowski has hilarious tidbits on how Rinaldi initially got involved with the show - one key element was "Lil'" John's height (4-foot, 3-inches) - and the unique "map" used by the station's celebrity softball team to find the locations for the summertime charity events.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. P. Stall on September 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It took me less than 30 seconds into this book to start recalling, out loud, all of my favorite Hoolihan & Big Chuck sketches - not to mention singing "Here we go, again...". My wife, who grew up in Pennsylvania and never saw the show, was thinking I "went 'round the bend!"

This is a fun book to read - brings back a lot of memories. I'm really glad he wrote this - there is some special stuff here. Couple this with Linn Sheldon's "Barnaby and Me," and you cover a huge block of childhood.

The fact that I discovered an autograph on the inside only made this book that much more special.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marc Behrendt on February 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I could have read Big Chuck in 2 days, but it was so much fun just reading a segment and remembering those olden days, dredging up long forgotten memories in my own life from back then. Reading this book was like talking face to face with Big Chuck. The writing is conversational and casual. Big Chuck shows how hard work leads to opportunities, how to enjoy life, how things don't always come easily, but you just keep on doing your best.

The editing might have been a bit better, but overall the biography was fun, witty, and a real joy to read. For those who enjoyed Big Chuck and Hoolie and Ghoulardi and Lil John, this book is the tops. For those who never had the pleasure to experience the shows in real time, this book will make you wish you lived in Cleveland, at least on Friday nights!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By RoskoMatic on February 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I thought this book was an easy read - it's a collection of remembrances and adventures from Big Chuck's long history in Cleveland television. I felt as if I was in a living room listening to Big Chuck, Ernie Anderson, Tim Conway, Hoolihan, and Lil John drinking beers and telling stories. I was totally unaware that Big Chuck was responsible for writing, directing, and producing as much as he did. Naturally, this book wouldn't mean much to someone who did not grow up watching Cleveland television, especially in the 1960's.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By srb525 on February 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a Cleveland native, so I watched this show every Friday When I was a youngster.
It was great to be reminded of some of the skits and stories from "Big Chuck" himself.
If you remember the show, get the book, you won't be disappointed!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Costa on January 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Big Chuck is a great anecdotal history of the early years of television. It is also a great account of how much you could get done if you weren't some dopey hippy or Beatnik. There are great windows into the amateur sports teams of the 1950s and 1960s, and stories about covering the Browns games in the 1960s.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Timothy L. Raab on January 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
Anyone who grew up in central to northern Ohio will remember Channel 8 out of Cleveland and their cast of characters: The Ghoul, Hoolihan, Big Chuck, and Lil' John. I remember watching them for over 20 years and cannot think of a better way to grow up (born 1953) or enjoy time but by watching these funny guys. Big Chuck's story is a personal one that any northern Buckeye can relate to fondly. It is well-written with a funny story on every page (a couple sad ones as well) which takes you along on Chuck's journey from intern to big time Cleveland celebrity who is recognized by everyone, everywhere. He is a good and normal guy who worked his butt of and made good and can now tell how it happened. Anyone interested in the history of television, especially in Northern Ohio, or looking to take a time trip from the 50's to the 90's will love this book. I smiled the whole way through and you will too.
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