Peace, Love and Happiness.

I think those may have been the first three words I ever learned and spoke in English. Peace, Love and Happiness. I learned them on tv, sitting down in front of the tube with my grandparents and watching the Skipper Chuck Show.

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Chuck Zink, the Skipper, died yesterday of a massive stroke. I cannot even begin to tell you how saddened I am. Skipper Chuck gave this boy fresh off the boat a true first glimpse of what America was. His demeanor and expressions and actions made me feel welcome in this new foreign world.

It was in the role of “Skipper Chuck” that Mr. Zink made his longest-lasting impression. He debuted as the skipper on Popeye’s Playhouse in January 1957 on WTVJ, which at the time was the CBS affiliate station on Channel 4 out of Miami. He played the part until 1979, when Skipper Chuck went off the air.

His job, strictly speaking, was to introduce cartoons starring Popeye, the muscle-bound, spinach-chugging sailor man created by illustrator Max Fleishman. But Mr. Zink made more of the assignment than just segues between cartoons. He and his on-air nautical sidekicks regaled their television audience with friendly chatter, games and giveaways. Local children formed his live, in-studio audience.

Soon after the program premiered it was renamed The Skipper Chuck Show, an acknowledgement that the host was at least as popular as the cartoons he introduced. Entertainers such as Jackie Gleason and Danny Thomas, and sports stars including then-Miami Dolphins’ coach Don Shula, would drop in to chat with the skipper and some of the estimated 14,000 children who sat in the studio bleachers during the show’s run.

The Skipper Chuck Show also broke ground by putting children of different races together on the air at a time when integration was a bitterly contested idea in parts of the country.

“Colored and white children are now going to school together. They should be able to sit on my show together,” Mr. Zink recalled in a 1999 interview.

After a while he began to end each broadcast by wishing his young audience “peace, love and happiness” and holding up three fingers. This variation on the two-fingered peace symbol became one of Skipper Chuck’s signatures, and a gesture he often saw flashed back at him by fans who spotted him in public.

Rest in Peace, Love and Happiness, Skipper.

20 thoughts on “Peace, Love and Happiness.”

  1. so there i am one day in kew west, taking the little conch tour tram, and who do i see as the tourguide, but scrubby, his sidekick.. i didnt even know his real name till today when i read the article.. i told him how i watched the show as a kid, and he said pretty much what we know now, zink was a genuine nice guy..

  2. I loved the Skipper Chuck show, began seeing the show in 1959 when I came from Cuba. I truly am saddened also as it was a great part of my childhood.

  3. for anyone raised/born in miami in the 60’s, the Skip and Cap’n Kangaroo were the 1st things I would watch in the AM while having breakfast and getting dressed. He was truly a swell guy and will be missed.

  4. He was a mainstay at my house, too. Let’s not forget (and correct me if I’m wrong) his sidekicks: Annette and Scruffy.

    Rest in peace, Skipper.

  5. Chuck will indeed be missed, not only for the show but for all the stuff he did in the community.

    Toby the Robot was another classic.

    Does anyone remember Duck Duck Goose? It came along in the late 70s/early 80s on channel 4 I believe.

  6. I’m truly saddened by his passing. All the stuff mentioned above–the Sunday funnies, Captain Kangaroo and Skipper Chuck were boyhood staples. Does anyone remember the White Baron? Who can forget some of the old TV newspeople? Glenn Rinker, Ralph Renick, Morris Maclemore, Joe Croghan, Jack Halloran, etc. What a rush of memories. RIP Skipper Chuck.

  7. George, it was Scrubby….not Scrubby…

    I remember Toby the robot. The guy Wayne was a weatherman and was involved in a serious accident later on. I used to read the funny papers with him on Sunday morning.

  8. Long before cable came on the scene and diluted local TV’s audience, the Skipper Chuck show had an incredible market share. I remember seeing a classmate of mine on the show one morning and was puzzled to find her on the school bus shortly thereafter. She explained to me that it had been taped the afternoon before. Can you imagine what a thrill it must have been to have been in the audience on that show during its heyday? Slightly off topic, is Manolo Reyes still alive? He blazed a trail for me to eventually get into the TV news business.

  9. I arrived too late (and am not old enough anyway) to have enjoyed his kid show, but surely a few of you remember Night Owl Theatre on I think the old Channel 7 (NBC).

    That and his PBS shows, showing classic movies, will long live in my mind and heart.

    RIP Chuck! I’ll miss golfing with you on the various Lauderdale links.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

  10. Well, another link to the Quiroga kids’ past broken – farewell, Skipper Chuck – better yet: Godspeed!
    I remember he also did early Burger King commercials; back when Whoppers were truly cheap – I seem to recall they were…$0.49? Correct me someone.

    George, indeed I remember M.T. Graves’ Frankensteinish presence – used to love watching all those horror movies he hosted. I think it was on Saturdays. Remember “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein?” Have to say, Elvira outdid him…

    Thanks for honoring good Skipper Chuck – a good guy among all the bad ones we unfortunately have to hear about.

  11. MT Graves was on Channel 51 when it’s call letters were WKID circa early 70’s. The same actor was the host of the kid show Captain Kid who dressed like a pirate and showed all those cool 70’s and 60’s cartoons; their big sponser was Pirates’ World in Dania. MT Graves was on on saturday nights opposite channel 6’s creature feature which had no host. Both MT graves and creature feature would show the old B&W horror movies and the Japanese monster movies like godzilla, mothra, rodan, etc.

  12. Skipper Chuck will be fondly missed “Peace, Love and Happiness” to you all… and along with Pirates worls dont forget Ocean World on the 17th Street cawseway “where you can ride the thrilling skyride or watch the handler feed man eating sharks by hand!!!”

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