The Desert Sun from Palm Springs, California on February 22, 1991 · Page 55
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The Desert Sun from Palm Springs, California · Page 55

Palm Springs, California
Issue Date:
Friday, February 22, 1991
Page 55
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A Special Section of The Dsrt Sun, Friday. February 22. 1991 Paga 3 THEATER W3 Til it. i: L Sm- Ml Ml Former 'Popeye' host still p!eases audiences By JAMIE SHOOP ERAY The Desert Sun Tom flatten wears a lot of hats. Baby boomers raised in Los Angeles remember the trademark sailor hat Hatten donned as host of "Popeye" cartoons on KTLA. These days finds Hatten splitting his time between entertainment reporting on KNX Radio and hosting "Family Film Festival" on KTLA. He also has experience producing jazz concerts, writing and composing. And then there's his acting career. Next week, Hatten dons another hat this time a businessman's bowler to play Horace Vandergelder in the West Coast Opera Theatre production of "Hello Dolly!" In person, Hatten, 64, is genial and outgoing. "I'm Tom," he says, extending his hand. The stage is familiar territory to Hatten, who is a cum laude graduate of the Pasadena Playhouse. He's a theater fan, who has seen a slew of Vandergelders, from Cab Calloway to Richard Deacon, David Burns to Max Showalter. "It can about be played by any ambulatory actor," he kids. "It's a comedic part, but it's not coming out there being Sid Caesar, which I can't be." Most of Hatten's stage work has been in Los Angeles, allowing him Favorite TV TOM HATTEN brings us up-to-date on the whereabouts of L.A.s' long-gone kiddie show hosts: D SHERIFF JOHN: As the leader of "Sheriff John's Lunch Brigade," John Rovick made sure we kept our rooms picked up and our teeth brushed. Now semi-retired, he makes his home in Boise, Idaho. S BOZO: L.A.'s Bozo was on Spp'iiig his hatt ,-....,. III. I IIJJI.II II, Lll .... , - V . HAT'S OFF: Tom Hatten dons his to continue his TV work. But in the 70s, he went on the road as FDR in the touring company of "Annie." The New York producer of that show had no idea Hatten did kid's shows. "He'd never seen me in a sailor hat" 'Since 1986, Hatten's hat has sported a press pass. He presents twice-daily entertainment reports on KNX, a slot formerly filled by critic Gary Franklin. "I started out trying to do what a critic does and see all the movies. But I don't think it's fair to praise or hosts from your childhood: Where are Vance Colvig. He was one of many Bozos in different U.S. television markets who wore the live hosts tied to syndicated Bozo cartoons. Colvig stays busy in real estate, acting and doing voice work. 0 ENGINEER E1LL: These days, you won't find Bill Stulla hanging out in the roundhouse playing "Red Light, Green Light" with a glass of milk. He's a -1 ANOY GOMPERZTha Desert Sun bowler for "Hello Dolly!" lambaste a $22 million movie in 45 seconds." Instead, Hatten comments on be-hind-the-scene news, new books about show business and local theater. "I'm more of a suggester than a reporter," he continues. And he knows his limitations. After the Oscar nominations were announced, Financial News Network asked him to talk about the business implications of a nomination. "I told them, 'No, I don't know anything about that'," Hatten says with a laugh. He referred them to stockbroker in Westlake Village. Q SKIPPER FRANK: Skipper Frank Herman still works magic on audiences, this time on r o UteCallum's Dolly Say 'Hello' WHAT: Ruta Lee and Tom Hatten starring in the West Coast Opera Theatre production of the musical. "Hello Dolly!" WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. WHERE: McCallum Theatre for the Performing Arts, 73-000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Ddsort TICKETS: $35 and $25. INFORMATION: 340-ARTS. an expert in a trade publication. To TV audiences, Hatten's area of expertise appears to be trivia of the showbiz kind. He serves up liberal helpings of movie trivia spice with celebrity interviews on "Family Film Festival," which airs at 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays on KTLA. . "The last movie I saw was not 'Birth of a Nation' or Singin' In the Rain'," he jokes. "But I love to talk about Garbo or Betty Grable or Ray Bolger." Hatten credits management with the show's format "The reason for the trivia is because my boss is a fan of a guy that did a show like this in Detroit" Actually that boss Gene Autry is also the reason Hatten found himself out of the job hosting a local children's show. When Autry bought KTLA in the '60s, he scrapped live children's shows in favor of more teen-oriented programming, Hatten says. "The Adventures of Popeye With cruise ships. Also semi-retired, he lives in San Clemente. B CHUCKO: Best-known to baby-boomers as Chucko the Birthday Clown. Chuck Runyon 5:C0-G:C0 pm Teriyaki Chicken Halibut White fish Samurai Sirloin Steak V Tom Hatten" also got the heave-bo, ending an eight-year run. Hatten stumbled into the job of hosting "Popeye" A staff announcer at KTLA for three years, he was on his way home from a day at the beach when he stopped by work to pick up his check. There he found a platoon of actors waiting to audition for a job hosting an upcoming children's show. Hatten asked his boss if he too could try out When he got the nod, Hatten bought a can of spinach and sailor's hat to go with his beach attire: cutoffs and a T-shirt And be grabbed a sketch pad. "I knew I could draw Popeye because I'd been drawing him since I was a kid," he recalls. In a crowd of suits, Hatten stood out as a complete kid's show concept "There was no way they 'couldn't hire me," he says. From 1956 to 1964 with a second stint in the 70s Hatten doodled his way into kids' hearts. And he's heard a recurring comment from youngish professionals in graphic arts that they first tested their talents trying to draw Popeye with Hatten. Hatten is used to run-ins with baby boomers, who remember him for his "Popeye" days. And he gives each aspect of his multi-faceted career equal weight reporter, host and actor. After all, each aspect allows him to continue to work in the entertainment field. "I don't really care what I'm doing in the business. But I must do a credible job." they now? is now retired in Seattle. His son. Chuck Jr., occasionally dusts off his miniscule merry-go-round hat to appear as Chucko. lmuin: Miso foup, Shrimp mppt. Rue, Vegetable, let Cream ni Crtrn It a.

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