A graduate of Cleveland's John Adams High School, Rinaldi attended The Ohio State University and graduated with a degree in marketing. In December 1980, John opened his own jewelry store in downtown Cleveland, Rinaldi Jewelry, after being associated with Cowell & Hubbard Jewelers since 1968.
Rinaldi has won 10 local Emmys and a Cleveland Addy Award. Throughout his career he has earned more than 250 service awards for his active involvement in numerous community service and fund-raising projects. He was inducted to the Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1996. He was also presented the prestigious Silver Circle award in 1995. Rinaldi is the official celebrity spokesperson with Our Lady of Wayside Homes. John was awarded the Cystic Fibrosis Volunteer Man of the Year Award in 1990. John has helped raise millions of dollars for charity organizations.
John annually participated in the local portions of the national Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. Seen each Labot Day weekend on Fox 8. He has also served as the celebrity chairman for several charity golf outings.
A native of Cleveland and resident of Solon, Rinaldi enjoys sports and making people laugh. He and his wife Sherry have two sons, John and Dino, daughter-in-law Becky and grandchildren Abbey, Evan, Elena, Onid and Bruno. And, not to forget his dog Rudy.
History & Bios
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Big Chuck Schodowski
Big Chuck is a Local Legend when it comes to the television in the Northeast Ohio. He has always been involved with the community, everytime you see him, he is either on television, hosting a charity, doing a commercial for a business or a grand opening somewhere. He's became a very positive influence in Northeast Ohio and the surrounding area.
Almost anyone who grew up in Northeast Ohio remembers Friday or Saturday Nights, having friends over for the night, eating pizza, having the couch folded out watching Hoolihan & Big Chuck or Big Chuck & Lil John. Then at almost every event or parade you could think of, they were there. As well as playing basket ball or Baseball against almost every High School Team in the area. It sometimes makes you wonder how Chuck had time to work at WJW (FOX8) and do all of these events, evidently he scheduled himself very well.
Chuck was born in Cleveland, OH. on June 28,1934. He graduated from High School in 1952 and went to work in the foundry. Four years later he married his high school sweetheart, June, in 1956. The following year he started National Radio School, where he learned radio and television repair and earned his "First class FCC license".
In 1959 he began a one year course of study for the police and firefighters exam. A year later Chuck passed the exam with flying colors, but also passed his "First class FCC license" He skipped the Cleveland Police appointment and decided to start working at KYW (now WKYC-Channel 3) as a summer replacement engineer in 1960.
In the fall of 1960 Chuck became the full time engineer with WJW (TV8)(Fox8) and two years later Ernie Anderson followed Chuck over there to do the the morning movie show "Ernie's Place." Joining Ernie to help with the show was comedy writer and Chagrin Falls native Tim Conway, then known as Tom. They told WJW that Tim was a director. He wasn't.
During this time Tim and Ernie did some very funny material. Rose Marie, of the "Dick Van Dyke Show," showed their tape to Steve Allen. He liked it and said, "Send me the little chubby guy. I can do the other guy's part." Tim left for Hollywood to become one of Steve Allen's "Men on the Street" along with Louis Nye and Don Knotts. Shortly after that, Tim was to star on the classic sitcom "McHale's Navy" and later "The Carol Burnett Show."
Ernie "Ghoulardi" Anderson
Tim Conway, Hoolihan, and Big Chuck
In 1963 Ernie became the late night off-beat horror host known as "Ghoulardi," and began using Chuck in some of his skits. Chuck was very reluctant at first. From January 1963 through September 1966, the "Ghoulardi" show would set Cleveland on its ear. People around the country knew about this show. "Ghoulardi" still holds local market ratings records!
Ernie quit the show in 1966, and with his friend Tim Conway pulling some strings, went to Hollywood to try network announcing. Over the years he became one of the top voice-over talents in the country, heard most notably as the voice of the ABC network and on national commercials. "The Voice of ABC" You've probably heard him say "On the Luvvvv' Boat" many times, doing the ABC show promos. He went on to be the announcer for "America's Funniest Home Videos" and "America's Funniest People".
Meanwhile, everyone in Cleveland auditioned to replace "Ghoulardi," including one of WJW's weather forecasters Bob "Hoolihan the Weatherman" Wells. Knowing Chuck had produced some of the "Ghoulardi" shows, Hoolihan asked Chuck to help him with his audition. Channel 8 liked the chemistry between Hoolihan and Chuck , and in December 1966, the "Hoolihan & Big Chuck Show" was born. The show was very successful, creating many characters and comedy features that still survive today: Ben Crazy, Kielbasa Kid, New Talent Time, A Certain Enthic Group, and the list goes on. They developed a cast of regulars (Art Lofredo, Lil' John, Marianno "Mush- Mouth" Pacetti) that Cleveland fell in love with.
In September 1979, Hoolie decided to leave the show for a TV job in Clearwater Florida. As producer of the show, Chuck decided to continue with Lil' John Rinaldi as co-host, and the "Big Chuck & Lil' John Show" had a new beginning, keeping many of the previous skits and characters. Lil' John and Chuck also added Bill Ward, Paula Kline, Mary Allen and others to the cast of regulars.
Big Chuck and Lil John
The show's movies had changed over the years, from sci-fi and horror "B" films to bigger box office hits of all kinds, such as "Terminator II" and "Friday the 13th." They were also fortunate to feature many well- known celebrities in their skits. Including Buddy Ebsen, Muhammed Ali, Tony Randall, Tiny Tim, Andy Griffith, Mike Conners and many professional atheletes.
After doing their job for more than 50 years they still produce a late night skits show and participate in several other local charity events throughout the year.
Chuck and his wife June have raised five children and enjoy 16 grandchildren. Their family has always stayed close. In fact, you might have seen some of his family in some of their skits.
In Chuck's own words:
"Yeah, I could have been a policeman or firefighter. But looking back, I think I'd rather play one on TV."
John Rinaldi, a.k.a. Lil' John
John Rinaldi, known throughout Northeast Ohio as “Lil” John” co-host of the Emmy Award-winning BIG CHUCK & LIL' JOHN SHOW, now seen on Sunday Nights at 11:30 on FOX 8.
Prior to joining “Big Chuck” Schodowski as the program's co-host in September 1979, "Lil John" served as a regular in various skits and productions for ten years on WJW TV8's HOOLIHAN & BIG CHUCK SHOW, the forerunner to the BIG CHUCK & LIL' JOHN SHOW.
Chuck and June at his 80th Birthday Celebration
September 27, 1933, West Point Nebraska. That's when and where Bob Wells, soon to be our beloved Hoolihan the Weatherman, was born. He is the youngest of two boys. His brother, who lives in Omaha, has sixteen children, 13 of which are adopted!
He is an alumnus of the University of Nebraska where he was in the ROTC program. He was accepted into the Air National Guard and was trained as a pilot.
While working at a local radio station Bob met his future wife Barb. A friend attempted to fix them up, but he had just five minutes to pull records for the next hour of his show, and didn't have time to talk with her. Two years later he was working in the Hayloft Summer Theaters in a suburb of Lincoln, Nebraska.
Bob had a role in the "Caine Mutiny Court Martial." Barb was sitting up in the balcony with other owners, and was acting as co-producer. Even though they were both very shy and normally would not have spoken to each other - they did. They started dating and three months later they were engaged.
Three weeks before graduation he received a call from someone in Oklahoma asking him to come and replace their Sports Reporter. "I knew the difference between Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron, but not much else."
He was still with the Air National Guard and was able to fly a jet to Oklahoma for the audition. Mechanical problems caused Bob to keep his future boss waiting for an hour and a half, but the audition went well and he got the job. He stayed there for 2 years but never actually did the sports.
He then went to the NBC radio affiliate in Kansas City. After only a year a spot opened up doing part time weather on the weekends at a Kansas City television station. He stayed there from 1959 through 1965.
A friend of his became the production manager of the CBS affiliate in Cleveland - WJW - and let Bob know they were looking for a full time weatherman here.
The resulting show "Hoolihan and Big Chuck" was an instant hit. Everyone has their favorite episodes, but one that stands out for most people was Guitarzan. In the take we saw, Tony Carmen (who played Jane) comes swinging into view.
What we don't see is that it had to be done in one take because Carmen's swing, with legs wide open, landed him right into Chuck. "Tony was already singing in a high falsetto voice as Jane, but when he connected with Chuck he went up a whole octave!"
Another Wells favorite was "Rowdy the Wonder Dog" even though he wasn't actually in the skit. It was filmed in the park and Wells was off to the side to be sure Rowdy went up and over the hill as he was supposed to. The dog jumped over Chuck and in the end Chuck was laying under the dog with a big Wells-inspired paw print on his face.
It was not just the catchy ring that made them decide not to use Bob's real name. As with most things, legalities came into play. The station could own the rights to the name Hoolihan the Weatherman, whereas they could not own the rights to Bob Wells. So if Hoolihan made it big and wanted to take his "show" on the road, he would not be able to use the stage name the station owned.
(Another interesting example of this is the Ghoulardi story. The station promoted him as G-H-O-U-L-A-R-D-I. Whenever he signed autographs he spelled it without the "h" separating it from the property of the station.)
Chuck Schodowski was also working at the station at this time, as engineer for Ernie Anderson. When Anderson left for Hollywood in the fall of 1966 a major programming void was created. Many people came in and auditioned trying to imitate the Ghoulardi show, but there was only one Ghoulardi and Ernie Anderson was it.
The station was not looking for a copy of Ghoulardi, but rather a replacement. They asked Hoolihan to audition. Knowing that his engineer would know more about the show and what worked and didn't work then anyone else, Bob asked Chuck to help him out.
Chuck does not especially like being in the spotlight, but was willing to help his friend. The station loved the end result and decided to pair the two of them together as hosts of the show.
"I love Chuck like a brother. I never met anyone like him. He shares my core values. He shares my respect for others, for women, for family life."
At the same time the radio stations morning disc jockey had a "green room" for announcers. As part of a promotion they asked listeners to send in interesting things to decorate the walls. One of the things sent in was a grass skirt.
Wells put on the grass skirt and did the audition tape and had a good time doing it. He sent the tape to WJW and next thing he knew he was coming to Cleveland.
The first year he did evening weather. Then along came the big Westinghouse/NBC personnel switch. Dick Goddard was transferred to Philadelphia and Wally Kinan came to Cleveland. Only a few months went by before Dick Goddard came back - Philadelphia just wasn't the same for him and he wanted to come home.
The talk was going around as to where Goddard would go now that he was coming back to the Cleveland market. Hoolihan was number one in the ratings, so he wasn't going anywhere. Kinan was a personal friend of the General Manager at Channel 3, so he was likely staying, so it was expected that Goddard would be going to Channel 5.
It wasn't until he ran into a complete stranger in the elevator that Hoolihan found out that Goddard was replacing him. Hoolihan then went to noon and weekend weather.
A full year before Bob Wells even came to Cleveland the name Hoolihan had been conceived. The program manager was in a hotel at a convention in Chicago and spotted the name of a weatherman in Peoria - Houlihan.
The program manger liked the name and filed it in his memory banks. When Wells was hired they discussed whether to use his real name and decided to go with Hoolihan the Weatherman.
Most of the shows are not available because they were on 2" videos and can't be played with modern technology. However, one gentleman found an old machine and transferred the ones he found and sent Wells 10 reels of tapes from the first 5 years, which included all of the early skits.
As Wells looks at the skits today he can barely remember performing in them.
In 1971 Wells quit the staff of Channel 8 although he continued doing weekend weather and The Hoolihan and Big Chuck show until 1979. This freed him up contractually to do other jobs at the same time. Among other things he was also doing commercials for Wrigley's Supermarkets in Detroit.
He was working many hours and flying back and forth between Cleveland and Detroit. His wife gave him the scare of a lifetime when she talked to him about divorce. He knew he had to get back on track - they weren't fighting, but they weren't communicating either.
In 1976 Wells made a spiritual commitment, what some call "born again." His wife had made the same commitment the previous fall. The commitment solved their marriage problems.
In addition to doing the show he and his wife were both active in Brecksville little theater, and were therefore known in many communities. When he made his spiritual commitment word spread quickly. He received a call from Rex Humbard ministries in Cuyahoga Falls to be an announcer. Christian groups from all over were calling him.
He was offered the position of General Manager and Sales Manager of WSUM, a Christian station. He had a two-year contract and honored the contract but was not sure if he wanted to renew it or not. As he was praying for guidance a job opened up in Tampa and in August 1979 Wells took the job.
He and his wife were hired to co-host a daily 90-minute primetime show. "We just fell in love with the whole thing. We got to appear together and give Joint Witness". The other Christian hosts at the time included Pat Robertson, who was known to be laid back and Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, who had a much bolder approach.
The Wells were somewhere in between. They thought that was the place to be to bring the most people to God through Jesus. The show was a big success and nothing but positive feedback was received by the Wells' and the station. After only 3 months one board member decided that he "didn't feel the spirit" and cancelled the show that everyone else felt blessed by. Bob and Barb were let go.
"Not long after, the scandal with Jim Baker came to light and the Board member who let us go was a big part of the scandal. I didn't understand it at the time, but the Lord saved us from being part of all that trouble. If we had still been there we would have been dragged into it."
Bob earned his SEC license and has a financial planning and advising company in Florida. He and his wife freelance in a number of areas including commercials for such places as Tampa Bay Downs. They also do other commercial roles and work in professional cabaret and dinner theater, often together.
If you watch the movie Summer Rental with John Candy (in his first starring role), Richard Crenna and directed by Carl Reiner you'll see both Bob and his wife. Barb actually has 2 roles, one as the snooty next-door neighbor and one as a yacht race official.
Bob plays the part of Richard Crenna's lawyer. And if you were to call the office of financial services firm Raymond James right here in Cleveland and were put on hold, you would hear the familiar voice of Bob Wells providing "On Hold Messages."
Bob and Barb have now been married 47 years and have three children. They are living in Clearwater, Florida and are every bit as busy as they were back here in Cleveland.
Their oldest daughter, Teri is married to Scott and has two daughters, Allison and Amy. They live in Nashville. Their son Rob Jr. lives in Chicago. The youngest daughter, Tricia lives with her husband, David, in Seattle. They get together as often as possible, and Christmas is almost always spent in Nashville.
Bob is still a huge Brown's fan and often watches the games in a favorite local spot, The Green Parrot. He is a member of the Browns Backers of Pinellas (BBOP) and the proud recipient of the "fumble helmet."
Whenever the Browns score the members of BBOP toss around a fuzzy football until the music stops. The person left with the football gets a free beer. The person with the best fumble (or the worst pass) wears the fumble helmet until the next score.
In 1997 Ernie Anderson died and a "GhoulardiFest" was held on Berea Fairgrounds. Wells was invited to attend - and did. Along with him were Mushmouth Mariano (remember the pizza eating contests?), Superhost and of course his friend, Chuck Schodowski. He was amazed to see the huge lines of people lining up for autographs all those years later.
Bob and Barb returned to Cleveland again in 1999, the last time a GhoulardiFest was held. The '99 festival was actually called The Big Chuck and Li'l John ComedyFest, but the concept was the same.
If you did not experience Hoolihan the Weatherman or have an opportunity to watch Hoolihan and Big Chuck you missed out on something very special.
In both characters, Wells was able to make people smile and even laugh out loud and will be remembered for a very long time.
He signed off each of his weather forecasts with the now famous "Sunshine To You - no matter what the weather." When he signed off his last show with the words "Sunshine to you, for the very last time" he was right.
A little bit of sunshine left our screen when Hoolihan the Weatherman went away.
Profiled by Debbie Hanson
Last but not least, Bob "Hoolihan" Wells,
profile from ClevelandSeniors.com, 1999
Update, October 2019, 20 years after this was published. Bob has been to every Ghoulardifest since this was written. his wonderful wife, Barb, has since passed. He still resides in Clearwater and still is amazed at the outpouring of admiration from his fans.
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