Question of the Week: Who’s Your Favorite “Local Legend”?

ChukotransCR.gifWhile Los Angeles is best known as a celebrity factory that can make just about anyone a household name all over the world almost overnite, the city has also had it’s share of “local legends” individuals whose fame never seemed to reach beyond county limits.

These individuals range from Hobo Kelly, an enormously popular children’s TV show host on KTTV in the late 60s, to El Circo Loco a street performer known to residents and passersby in Silver Lake. A large number of our local legends are “self made” celebrities, such as Angelyne and Dennis Woodruff, and like any other city or town, we have characters from the business world who’ve become legends from regional commercials, such as our competing mattress kings, “Neil with the Deal” from Leeds, or Larry from Sit’n’Sleep (along with Irvin, who he’s always “killin'”).

Some of these are real people who seem a little surreal, others are alter egos complete with costumes and make up, but all somehow seem larger than life or stranger than fiction. Keeping the definition intentionally vague I ask, who’s your favorite local legend?

…photo of KABC TV’s Chucko the Clown from the LA TV Legends, a website of listings and bios of a number of the local celebrities, including a number of creepy clowns that entertained the kids (along with the aforementioned Hobo Kelly), as well as the ironically not as scary “horror hosts” such as Elvira and Vampira who’s personas began as staples on Southern California airwaves…

15 thoughts on “Question of the Week: Who’s Your Favorite “Local Legend”?”

  1. Right off the bat I’d have to go Totally ’80s in giving a super L.A. Legend shoutout for Fred Rated (as portrayed by Shadoe Stevens), spokesman for the long-gone SoCal-based The Federated Group’s chain of electronics superstores.

    In case of No Idea Who I’m Talking About: break glass.

  2. Gotta go with Sheriff John, although Engineer Bill would be in the running too.

  3. Now I have that dang jingle stuck in my head. “Go see Cal, go see Cal, go see Cal!”

    And I second Angelyne. Always fun to catch her in her pink caddie convertible.

  4. I’d have to second Cal Worthington (and his dog Spot!). When I was very young, I remember thinking that the man’s name was Gosee Cal. When really the jingle was saying, “Go see Cal.” Furthermore, it also reminds us of the cowboy ethos that was once more prevalent in Southern California.

  5. I always used to think the Cal Worthington song was “Pussy Cow, Pussy Cow, Pussy Cow”, which conjured up images of some mythical bovine-cat hybrid in my young, TV addled mind.

  6. If I had to choose one, Angelyne would be it, though Gypsy Boots was the first to come to mind. Cal Worthington and Ralph Williams are both worthy. If we’re looking for local TV folks from the past, I’d also consider Hobo Kelly, Sheriff John, and of course Elvira.

  7. Humberto Luna, haha!
    Cal Worthington second and I also thought the jingle was “pussy cow, pussy cow, pussy cow.”
    Oh, and what about the guy that used to host the Popeye cartoons on Channel 5 and the Family Film Festival? You could send in a doodle and he’d make a character out of it.

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