Chuck McCann with Emerson College

Host / Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Chuck McCann (1934-2018) talks about his early life, and seeing many performers on stage as a child, including Danny Thomas and Abbott and Costello, due to his father being a musician. He speaks of his early television work, including The Rootie Kazootie Club, The Sandy Becker Show, and Today, which led to him hosting his own local children’s show on WPIX in New York City. McCann recalls his friendships with many luminaries, including Jerry Lewis, Stan Laurel, Mae West, Ernie Kovacs, and Steve Allen. He discusses the power of laughter to make us heal, and the then-current state of comedy. Bill Dana and Jeni Matz conducted the interview on February 13, 2007 in Los Angeles, CA.

“I wouldn't do it any other way. I'd want to meet the same people; I'd want to meet the same friends; I'd want to go through the same aggravations. I love the way everything dovetailed together.”

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Chuck McCann on appearing on Captain Kangaroo, with Bob Keeshan
Chuck McCann on his harrowing experience guest-hosting The Sandy Becker Show
Chuck McCann on working with Steve Allen on The Steve Allen Show
Chuck McCann on having the opportunity as a child to watch Danny Thomas and others perform live
Chuck McCann on Stan Laurel getting a special Academy Award
Chuck McCann on his fascination with comedy teams like Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on having the opportunity as a child to watch Danny Thomas and others perform live; on spending time as a child at the Roxy Theater in New York City, and meeting Bud Abbott and Lou Costello
On going into show business at an early age, and on early performing jobs; on his "Bob Cummings getting old" routine; on performing at the Pasadena Playhouse, and creating his comedy act in nightclubs
On the then-current state of comedy clubs; on hosting The Rootie Kazootie Club; on live television in the 1950s
On performing with puppets on Today, which led to a job on The Sandy Becker Show; on his harrowing experience guest-hosting The Sandy Becker Show
On his fascination with comedy teams like Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy; on running Laurel and Hardy shorts on his own series, and on hosting Wonderama; on appearing on Captain Kangaroo, with Bob Keeshan
On appearing with Jerry Lewis in the feature film "Ladies Man", and on meeting Stan Laurel; on hosting his own children's shows on WPIX in New York City; on working with Steve Allen on The Steve Allen Show; on his imitations of Oliver Hardy and Jackie Gleason
On how the advent of video tape impacted television, and on editing with video tape; on Ernie Kovacs; on the various characters he did on his local WPIX show
On moving out to Los Angeles and filming a pilot; on getting into feature films and buying a studio; on learning comedy; on Stan Laurel getting a special Academy Award
On the healing power of laughter; on comedians "borrowing" material; on the then-current state of comedy, and on his friendship with Phil Hartman; on doing voiceover work
On his versatile career; on his advice to aspiring comedians; on the question "Was it worth it?"
Shows

Captain Kangaroo

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Chuck McCann on appearing on Captain Kangaroo, with Bob Keeshan

Rootie Kazootie Club, The

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Chuck McCann on hosting The Rootie Kazootie Club

Sandy Becker Show, The

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Chuck McCann on his harrowing experience guest-hosting The Sandy Becker Show

Steve Allen Show, The (1956-61)

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Chuck McCann on working with Steve Allen on The Steve Allen Show

Today

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Chuck McCann on performing with puppets on Today, which led to a job on The Sandy Becker Show
Topics

Bloopers

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Chuck McCann on his harrowing experience guest-hosting The Sandy Becker Show

Comedy-Variety

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Chuck McCann on live television in the 1950s

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

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Chuck McCann on live television in the 1950s

Technological Innovation

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Chuck McCann on how the advent of video tape impacted television, and on editing with video tape

Television Industry

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Chuck McCann on the then-current state of comedy
Professions

Comedian

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Chuck McCann on learning comedy
Chuck McCann on his advice to aspiring comedians

Performers

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Chuck McCann on learning comedy
Chuck McCann on doing voiceover work
Chuck McCann on his versatile career
Chuck McCann on his versatile career
Chuck McCann on his advice to aspiring comedians

Voiceover

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Chuck McCann on doing voiceover work
Genres

Children's Programming

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Chuck McCann on hosting his own children's shows on WPIX in New York City
Chuck McCann on the various characters he did on his local WPIX show
Chuck McCann on hosting The Rootie Kazootie Club
Chuck McCann on performing with puppets on Today, which led to a job on The Sandy Becker Show

News and Documentary

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Chuck McCann on performing with puppets on Today, which led to a job on The Sandy Becker Show

Talk Shows

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Chuck McCann on working with Steve Allen on The Steve Allen Show
People

Bud Abbott

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Chuck McCann on meeting Bud Abbott and Lou Costello at the Roxy Theater in New York City

Steve Allen

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Chuck McCann on working with Steve Allen on The Steve Allen Show

Lou Costello

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Chuck McCann on meeting Bud Abbott and Lou Costello at the Roxy Theater in New York City

Bob Cummings

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Chuck McCann on his "Bob Cummings getting old" routine

Jackie Gleason

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Chuck McCann on his imitations of Oliver Hardy and Jackie Gleason

Oliver Hardy

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Chuck McCann on his fascination with comedy teams like Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
Chuck McCann on running Laurel and Hardy shorts on his own series, and on hosting Wonderama
Chuck McCann on his imitations of Oliver Hardy and Jackie Gleason

Phil Hartman

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Chuck McCann on his friendship with Phil Hartman

Bob Keeshan

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Chuck McCann on appearing on Captain Kangaroo, with Bob Keeshan

Ernie Kovacs

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Chuck McCann on Ernie Kovacs

Stan Laurel

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Chuck McCann on his fascination with comedy teams like Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
Chuck McCann on running Laurel and Hardy shorts on his own series, and on hosting Wonderama
Chuck McCann on Stan Laurel getting a special Academy Award

Jerry Lewis

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Chuck McCann on appearing with Jerry Lewis in the feature film "Ladies Man" and on meeting Stan Laurel

Danny Thomas

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Chuck McCann on having the opportunity as a child to watch Danny Thomas and others perform live

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