Meet the authors of book on Cleveland TV legends

Authors Mike and Janice Olszewski will autograph copies of their new book, “Cleveland TV Tales,” on Saturday, Dec. 6, from 1-3 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Booksellers; 198 Crocker Park Blvd. in Westlake. The event is free and open to the public.

The book profiles dozens of colorful men and women who helped invent local television programming from the 1950s through the 1970s.

Two of the best known personalities featured in “Cleveland TV Tales” are Ernie Anderson, who as “Ghoulardi,” the late-night movie host, got top ratings by trying to shock his audience, and Ron Penfound, who thought his job as genial cartoon-show host “Captain Penny” would last only a few weeks – and then stayed on the air for 16 years. Less-well-known innovators are included, too, such as confrontational talk show host Alan Douglas, who frequently baited his guests – sometimes to the brink of violence.

Anecdotes in the book include:

    •Linn Sheldon, as children’s host “Barnaby,” an elf, handling a young fan who casually used a racial epithet – several times – on live TV.

    •Early game show host Paul Hodges, whose “Dress and Guess,” had contestants trying to figure out what famous person he was portraying before he got all his clothes on.

    •Late night host “Big” Wilson purchasing a wild wallaby to live on his yacht and serve as KYW-TV’s mascot (because he couldn’t get a kangaroo).

Mike and Janice Olszewski are a husband-and-wife team. Mike is a veteran Cleveland radio and television personality and the curator and archivist for the Ohio Broadcast Archive and Museum. He teaches media and communications at Kent State University, the University of Akron and Notre Dame College and is the author of two books about radio: “Radio Days” and “WIXY 1260.” Janice has more than three decades’ experience in the travel and tourism industry. Her photography has been published in "Filmfax," "Outre" and other national magazines.

“Cleveland TV Tales: Stories from the Golden Age of Local Television” (Gray & Co.; $15.95; softcover; 187 pages; 60 photos) is available at Northeast Ohio bookstores and online from

For more information about the book signing at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Westlake, call 440-250-9233.

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Volume 6, Issue 24, Posted 9:39 AM, 11.25.2014