the Clown - Charles M. Runyon played the role of the
happy-go-lucky clown who celebrated children's birthdays every
morning at 7:30 AM on the Los Angeles-based kiddie show THE CHUCKO
THE CLOWN SHOW that aired on KABC from 1954 to 1962 (7years,
7months, and 7 days) and KTTV from 1962 to 1965.
Like Santa Claus or
the Easter Bunny, Chucko the Clown was the symbol of the fun and
wonder of a child's birthday. Those invited to the show had to get
up early in the morning around 4:00AM and travel across the
Southland to get to the studio to attend the festivities. But even
so, the program proved to very popular and was never wanting for an
audience. Reportedly, there was a five-year waiting list to get on
Besides the obvious birthday celebration that honored a
variety of kids on their special day (including a communal birthday
cake), Chucko entertained his guests with ad-libbed comments,
stories, games (pie eating contests), cartoons, stunts and sing
alongs. He signed all his autograph pictures with the gentle
sentiment "May all your days be as happy as birthdays." The show's
sponsors included Chocks Vitamins, Fizz-Ade, Ovaltine and Barbara
Runyon's wife Mildred created the original makeup for Chucko the Clown and Chuck's mother, known as "Mammy," designed and
sewed all the Chucko wardrobe.
Chucko's merry little theme song
professed "I'm Chucko, I'm Chucko, I Chucko the Birthday Clown; I'm
Chucko, Yes, Chuckol I'm the happiest guy in town!"
Chucko's Happy Birthday Song
Here's a hap, hap, happy birthday from me (that's me)
to you (that's
Have a hap, hap, happy birthday...may your every wish come true
There'll be toy balloons and prizes for you (that's you) for me
Lots of animals in all sizes just as happy as can be
There's a birthday cake with ice cream, too
and you're in for a big
And when you make your birthday wish be sure to close your eyes.
Here's a hap hap happy birthday from me (that's me)
to you (that's
May all your other birthdays be as hap, hap, happy as the
had with you.
Yes Sir, Happy Birthday!
executives at the TV station wanted to change the format of the show
and eliminate the live studio audience of children and just run
cartoons, Chucko the Clown decided to end the show. The station had
already been running "Chucko Cartoon" spots Monday through Friday at
10:00 AM and 6:00PM.
Before Charles Runyon got his gig at Channel 7 KABC-TV he was already a successful clown performer playing parties
and other events all over the San Fernando Valley. The biography "Are
Clowns Hatched?" by Mildred Runyon chronicles the life Charles (Chucko
the Birthday Clown) Runyon.
After Runyon retired his Chucko the
Clown act, his son, Randy continued to play the role from 1971 to
1995. The new Chucko appeared on the NBC soap SANTA BARBARA in the
1980s and danced up a storm on THE ARSENIO HALL SHOW in1991.
original Chucko now lives in Grants Pass, Oregon. He spends his time
raising quail, ducks, pheasants and peacocks with his wife on
Chucko's Bird Farm.
TRIVIA NOTE: The "o" in "Chucko" was taken from the name of Joseph
"Joey" Grimaldi who is considered to be the father of modern
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