Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A loving tribute to Chuck McCann

Goodbye, Mr. Dreamfinder


We lost another great entertainer a couple of days ago - the very funny beloved children's entertainer and early-television pioneer Chuck McCann! My earliest introduction to this very silly man was from early television where'd he'd be seen on WPIX-TV's Chuck McCann Show, dressing up in funny costumes portraying characters straight out of the Sunday Comics like Dick Tracy and Little Orphan Annie - but he'd find ways to weave in and out of my childhood memories by also being the voice of the Cocoa Puffs bird "Yahoo - Coo Coo for Cocoa Puffs!" and being one half of the comedy duo with Bob Denver in the Saturday morning sitcom "Far Out Space Nuts"! And although the ride no longer exists, I distinctively remember Chuck McCann as being the voice of Dreamfinder on the Journey To Imagination Ride at Disney World! I remember being a little disappointed on one return trip to find out he had been replaced by Eric Idle (who I also love, mind you - but for some reason McCann's version just seemed to fit more organically).

And no one did a better Oliver Hardy! Throughout his career he would often don the bowler hat whenever an opportunity arose - and with his comedy partner Jim MacGeorge as Stan Laurel he was absolutely hilarious! Imagine my shock while viewing a music video of Harry Nilsson at a Beatlefest convention some years back - watching Nilsson dribble a basketball in his driveway, while suddenly (for no apparent reason) watching from across the way is Chuck McCann (as Oliver Hardy) watering his bushes! Surprised at Harry's seemingly impossible hoop shot he does that exasperated Oliver-Hardy take with his arms! At the end of the video, there he was again - eyeballing the end of his hose when it appeared to stop watering - only to (of course) have it suddenly spray jets in his face! No one nearby knew why I was laughing so hard - but it didn't matter - once again I had been McCann-attacked! And I was lovin' it!

Then more recently, I just stumbled upon a whole new generation of Chuck-appreciators on YouTube, when Chuck released a few videos he had made. He was clearly much older, but just as silly as ever - and it was all so familiar and brilliant - Chuck being Chuck. He still had the weirdness - the quirky comedy timing - and most of all, an obvious love for that old, retro style of funny... it might take me days before I can find the words to describe it - perhaps I never will... but when you see it you'll know what I mean. It's a style of comedy you don't see too often these days. It's old school, naughty but innocent, vintage and yet oddly appropriate for today...

Anyway - these are some clips I put up on YouTube some time back - some extremely rare video clips I purchased a long time ago and one day I just decided to share it with the masses - because it deserved to be shared...

Enjoy the clips! Share 'em! Spread the laughter! - - and THANK YOU, Chuck!!!

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