Joe Bolton

Biography: Joe Bolton began his career in show business as a musical entertainer . Since his teens,he had performed music with a jazz band . The band performed at many local functions in the NYC area . Eventually,the band disbanded and Bolton formed another musical act:"The Two Man Band" with a trumpeteer/trombonist and saxaphonist . Accompanying his fellow musican on his banjo and guitar . The duo perfomed songs,musical numbers, jokes and stories on numerious radio programs in NYC during the 1920's . In 1928, Bolton's speaking talents came to the attenion of Conrad Voorheis(Then one of radio most promient newsmen).He suggested to the young fellow to try his hand at announcing . Bolton auditioned for the annoucing job at WOR Radio,won the audition and gave up "The Two Man Band!"for a new career as an announcer and sportscaster . He worked at WOR Radio during the late 1920's and early 30's . From there, he worked for CBS Radio in NYC, Philadelphia,Joe Bolton began his career in show business as a musical entertainer . Since his teens,he had performed music with a jazz band . The band performed at many local functions in the NYC area . Eventually,the band disbanded and Bolton formed another musical act:"The Two Man Band" with a trumpeteer/trombonist and saxaphonist . Accompanying his fellow musican on his banjo and guitar . The duo perfomed songs,musical numbers, jokes and stories on numerious radio programs in NYC during the 1920's . In 1928, Bolton's speaking talents came to the attenion of Conrad Voorheis(Then one of radio most promient newsmen).He suggested to the young fellow to try his hand at announcing . Bolton auditioned for the annoucing job at WOR Radio,won the audition and gave up "The Two Man Band!"for a new career as an announcer and sportscaster . He worked at WOR Radio during the late 1920's and early 30's . From there, he worked for CBS Radio in NYC, Philadelphia, Pa.Souix Falls, S.D. and L.A. , Cal . He also worked as an on camera sportscaster and personality on many sports newsreels for Warners Brothers and for Paramount..his most famous film appearance was in"Home Run On The Keys"with "The Demarco Sisters", comedy song- writers:Zez Confrey & Byron Gay , The David Mendosa orchastra and Baseball Legend:Babe Ruth . Bolton took time out from his broadcasting career to join The U.S.Army during WWII . After his stint in the army, he returned to radio.First working as the broadcasting director for The Office of War Information. Eventually . He returned to NYC..where he briefly worked again for WOR Radio and later for WNEW Radio . On the latter NYC based radio station, he hosted a late night talk show"The Voice Of America".Where he conducted two indepth interviews with the co-creator of Penicillin Sir Alexander Flemming . Bolton also hosted a jazz music show for WNEW . It was not until 1948..that he made his NYC tv debut on the now forgotten Dumount TV Network . He worked briefly on"The Doorway To Fame!" as the show's announcer . But it wasn't until May 15, 1948.. that Joe Bolton made his greatest contribution to NYC tv . By joining forces with the editiors and publishers of The New York Daily News and with fellow radio newsmen:John Tillman, Kevin Kennedy, Rex Marshall and Jack McCarthy to create WPIX TV Ch.11 . The Station went on the air on June 15, 1948 with a star studded celebraition that included appearances from Basil Rathbone, Fred Allen and Boris Karloff . Bolton commented on Baseball, football games, served as the announcer and the later the host of a tv sports quiz"Batter Up!". He co-hosted a late night old movie series"Night Owl Theater!" with former radio and vaudville entertainer"Cliff Edwards("Ukulelee Ike" and The voice of Walt Disney's Jiminy Cricket") . He also co-hosted the early broadcasts of NYC's St.Patrick Day Parades with Jack McCarthy . Bolton also did the weather reports (then sponsored by The American Bakeries Co.)on Ch.11's"Five Star Newscasts"weekday evenings from 1950 to 1958 . Little did he realize that his stint as "The TastyWeatherMan!"that Bolton would go onto the tv shows for which he is best remembered by NYC's kids . In the winter of 1955..WPIX TV Ch.11 became the first NYC based tv station to acquire the rights to "The Little Rascals"film comedies . The film were slated to be shown on a daily kids tv series titled:"The Clubhouse Gang!" . But the station execs had trouble finding an appropriate mc for the program. At the same time..The programming director of Ch.11 was giving a birthday party for his son and his friends at the station . Along with the games, ice cream, cake, soft drinks and gift giving..the pd screened "The Little Rascals"films for his son and his party guests . As a means of pre testing their popularity with an audience . The kids loved the films and after the party ..the pd told his son and his friends that these films featuring these funny kids"The Little Rascals"would be shown on a new daily kids tv show at Ch.11"The Clubhouse Gang!" . There would be a real clubhouse to show the films and kids..who would be members of the gang.Who would appear in the clubhouse..but there was no one to serve as the club's leader? Who would the kids at the birthday party choose to mc "The Clubhouse Gang!"? "11 out of 12 children at the party said"The Tastyweatherman"recalled Bolton in a December, 1973 interview"and He(The Programming Director) was flabbergasted!" . Bolton was tested for the role and he won the job . Originally? The station execs at WPIX TV wanted Bolton to host the show as a funny tramp character . The broadcaster balked at the concept.. fearing that a tramp was neither an appropriate or original character for kids to relate to . Another station exec suggested that Bolton host the show as a funny cop character . He like the idea of playing a police officer? But he preferred that he play his cop character streight . And "Officer Joe"made his NYC TV Debut on the very first episode of"The Clubhouse Gang!" on monday evening January 17,1955 . Every weekday evening..Bolton would entertain and inform the members of his studio audience and his viewers with games, songs, stories, craftmaking, hobbies, informational segments and interviews with guest performers, personalities and with members of the gang(The studio audience)inbetween the reruns of the cinematic antics of "The Our Gang"comedies . "The Clubhouse Gang!"became a hit with NYC's young viewers and it was beating out NBC TV's"Howdy Doody" in the local raitings . The series remained on the air..until it was cancelled on Friday September 13, 1957. Bolton returned as"Officer Joe"in the fall of 1958 . When he brought another popular series of film comedies to NYC Kids . Although "The Three Stooges"films had a brief run on ABC TV in 1949 . The film were not very popular with network viewers . Nine years later..Columbia Pictures' TV Division: "Screen Gems Inc."rereleased the films in national syndication . WPIX TV Ch.11 became the first NYC based tv station to air the films on a daily kids tv show . Bolton was once again hired to play his police man character for the program . Working without a studio audience . He mc'd the program against the backdrop of the gateway to a mythical amusement park funhouse . "The Three Stooges Funhouse"Debuted on monday evening September 8, 1958 and became NYC's most popular kids tv show . The series beat out Ch.11's"Popeye Show" with "Captain Allen"Swift and WNEW TV Ch.5's "Looney Tunes Show"with Bill Britten and"The Sandy Becker Show"in the raitings . Kids enjoyed the antics of Moe,Larry and Curly.Because they saw three funny men..who could do zany cartoonlike stunts that up to a few years before.Only characters like"Bugs Bunny" and "Popeye"could do . "The Stooges"were also bumblers..who had trouble dealing with the problems of the real world.Which gave them an empathy with children . Bolton enjoyed hosting:"The Three Stooges Funhouse!"and a few months after the series debut . He made plans to contact the trio to do personal appearances with them . After seeing them on Steve Allen's sunday night show on NBC TV in December, 1958 . He called Mr.Allen's office the next day and found out thru them that Bolton's old friend :producer Harry Rohm was their manager/producer and The William Morris office were the team's agents . "Officer Joe" and "The Stooges"Moe, Larry and "Curly Joe"De Rita were hired to do PA's at The RKO/Stanley Warner Theaters in New Jersey for the month of January,1959 . The team did a comedy act..where they tried to play music on a faulty xyelphone..with the typically disasterious results.Then Bolton and the boys would answer questions from the audience, give away pictures and then move onto the next appearance.As the theater management would screen the trio's feature film"Have Rocket Will Travel!" . "The Three Stooges"stage show became a hit with in New Jersey and the act was hired by The Tony Williams Agency to perform at The Lowe's Theaters in NYC during the month of February, 1959 . Bolton was pleased with the reception from the Stage shows with the team and he invited them to appear with him on"The Three Stooges Funhouse" in March of 1959 . The show was a hit . Bolton would continue to mc"The Three Stooges Funhouse!".Until the series was cancelled on wednesday night September 6, 1961 . He would go onto mc"The Dick Tracy Cartoon Show" as Police Chief Joe"Bolton weekday evenings on Ch.11 from thursday September 7, 1961 to friday August 31,1963 . "The Three Stooges"made their last appearance with"Police Chief Joe"Bolton on "The Dick Tracy Cartoon Show"in the fall of 1962 . Bolton would host"The Mighty Hercules Show", "The Three Stooges Show", "The Felix The Cat Show" and"The Little Rascals Show"at Ch.11 throughout the 1960's and into the 1970's . Moe Howard would make three guest appearances with "Officer Joe"(Sans Larry Fine And Curly Joe De Rita)on Ch.11's "Three Stooges Show"in April, 1967, April, 1968 and one last time on tuesday and wednesday July 2, & 3, 1969. On his last appearance on "The Three Stooges Show".Moe and"Officer Joe"were joined in the studio by Mr.Howard's son artist Paul Howard and a group of children. During the 1950's and 60's.He would host some kids holiday tv specials:"The Thanksgiving Day Jamboree"with "Captain Jack" McCarthy and Ms.Carol Corbett, "The WPIX TV Christmas Parties"With"Captain Jack", "Bozo"(Bill Britten), Chuck McCann,"The Merry Mailman"(Ray Heatherton),"The Cool Ghoul"(John Zacherley),Eddie Lawrence"The Old Philos- opher","Fireman Todd"Russell and"Captain Allen"Swift and "The Fun And Games Day Specials"with "Captain Jack" . He would also mc a taped visit to"Freedomland" Amusement Park with"Bozo"(Bill Britten), "Captain Jack" Chuck McCann, and with Future "Patty Duke Show" regular Paul O'Keith and his sister Mary Ellen O'Keith on friday night June 16, 1961 . And he would do a musical/comedy variety kids tv special"The Shari Go Round!"With Ms.Shari Lewis, Chuck McCann, "Beachcomber Bill"Biery, NYC based Rock and Roll Tv DJ:Clay Cole and with Rock Music stars:Dionne Warwick and"The DeSatins"on location at Palisades Amusement Park on tuesday Night July 6, 1965 . Bolton would even appear in two movies"Stop Look & Laugh!"With Ventriloquist/entertainer:Paul Winchell and"The Marquis Chimps"in 1960 and"The Outlaws Is Coming!"With "The Three Stooges", Adam West, Nancy Kovacs, Emil Sitka, Murray Alper, Harold("Tiny")Brauer, Henry Gibson, and eight other local kids tv hosts/performers in 1965 . Bolton continued to entertain and inform NYC's kids on his daily kids tv shows on WPIX TV . Until the fall of 1972 . When Mrs.Peggy Charren's ACT, Forum Inc. and The US Congress created a bill with The FCC that stated kids tv hosts/performers could not promote questionable sponsors on their programs and that tv execs had to create and produce more appropriate educational kids tv shows that were suitable to The ACT. Forced out of kids tv..Bolton remained at Ch.11 as a booth announcer for the next four years . In the winter of 1976 . He retired from WPIX TV Ch.11 and left NYC for the warmer climate of Santa Monica, Ca . Although he was plauged by health problems during the last ten years of his life? Joe Bolton maintained a positive attitude..as he taught courses on broadcasting history and took courses at a local college. He also found the time to play his guitar and banjo, collect stamps, coins and toy trains and write letters to his fans and friends . Expand