Bob "Hoolihan" Wells

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Bob "Hoolihan" Wells
Born Robert D. Wells
(1933-09-27) September 27, 1933 (age 81)
West Point, Nebraska, U.S.
Occupation Television personality, Disc Jockey, news anchor; owner, financial company, BW Financial Services
Years active 1951-1982
Spouse(s) Barbara (died in 2007)
Children Son Rob, daughters Teri and Tricia

Bob Wells (born September 27, 1933) is a former news/weather anchor and television personality[1][2] who is best known to Cleveland, Ohio, television viewers as "Hoolihan the Weatherman" and one half of the Hoolihan and Big Chuck Show movie-hosting team. The show appeared on Friday nights, from December 23, 1966 to August 1979, a successful 13-year run, beating Johnny Carson in the ratings on that one night per week. Wells and partner Chuck Schodowski replaced television personality "Ghoulardi" (Ernie Anderson) in 1966 at the then CBS affiliate WJW Channel 8, when Anderson left for Los Angeles to pursue a free-lance announcing and acting career.

Early career[edit]

Bob started his broadcasting career in the summer of 1951 on KWBE radio in Beatrice, Nebraska, right after graduation from Lincoln, Nebraska High School. In the fall, he moved to KLMS Radio in Lincoln, while he pursued a degree in Radio and Television at the University of Nebraska. Following graduation, and after becoming a jet pilot with the Nebraska Air National Guard, in 1957 he moved to Oklahoma City with his new bride Barbara, for his first TV job. Two years later, he started as a disc jockey for WDAF, a Kansas City NBC radio affiliate. After only a year, a spot opened up doing weather on the weekends at the sister Kansas City television station. He stayed there through 1965 as TV staff announcer and weekend weatherman.

In 1965, Wells arrived in Cleveland to replace Howard Hoffman as the 6 and 11 PM evening weatherman on WJW Channel 8 as "Hoolihan the Weatherman." At the time the area weather personalities were Dick Goddard, Don Webster, and Hoffman, all of whom delivered forecasts in a "serious" style. The production manager asked him if he could "be funny," and gave him the "Hoolihan" pseudonym. It seems to have helped, because the newscasts moved from a distant #2 to the #1 rating within a few months, and the "Hoolihan" name stuck. A year later, when Dick Goddard moved back to Cleveland from Philadelphia, the station moved Wells to the noon and weekend weather-casts, to make room for Goddard.

In addition to his meteorological duties at WJW, Wells began to moonlight as a supporting cast member for WJW's Shock Theatre with Ghoulardi, hosted by Ernie Anderson. Following Anderson's departure from WJW, Wells teamed up with then-station engineer Chuck Schodowski on December 23, 1966, to create the Hoolihan and Big Chuck Show. Airing at 11:30 p.m. on Friday nights, the show usually showed Z-grade movies with comedy skits in between, often featuring Wells and "Big Chuck" Schodowski, as well as local TV personalities Art Lofredo, Russ Cormier (as "Big Stash") and John "Lil' John" Rinaldi. The skits usually ended in a recorded distinctive laugh by late actor/comedian/disc jockey Jay Lawrence, who worked for KYW-1100 radio in Cleveland in the early 1960s, and had also appeared in some of the sketches on the Ghoulardi programs.

In 1971, Wells quit the staff of WJW to free-lance in New York and Chicago, although he continued to do weekend weather and Hoolihan and Big Chuck. However, in 1979, he left Cleveland to help start a new Christian TV station in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, which resulted in Wells' family departing for Clearwater, Florida, a city just north of St. Petersburg. Both he and Barbara had become born-again Christians in the middle 1970s, and Wells even managed Christian station WSUM Radio in Parma (now WCCD) back in 1975. Rinaldi replaced Wells as Schodowski's co-host for the remainder of the show's run, which was rechristened as Big Chuck and Lil' John, lasting for a total of 40 years on the air.

Later years[edit]

Bob and his wife Barbara hosted Horizons 22, a Tampa Bay area Christian-themed news, music, and interview program on WCLF, a Christian television station based in Largo, Florida. Although it gained widespread appeal in that area, they were abruptly released after only three months, with the station saying that they were "not spiritual enough." A year later, the scandal of Jim Bakker's ministry The PTL Club rocked the headlines, and the Wellses were happy not to have been "tarred with that brush."

Bob also ran a successful financial planning company in Florida, earning "Agent of the Year" honors from a Cleveland-based insurance company.[who?] They also did radio and TV commercials in the Tampa area. Wells and his wife regularly appeared at "Ghoulardifest" functions in Cleveland, held by WJW in tribute to Ernie Anderson, who died in 1997.

In addition to his TV and radio work, Bob has also been in numerous movies and TV shows, including Carl Reiner's movie Summer Rental with John Candy, Richard Crenna and Rip Torn, which was filmed in the Tampa Bay area.

Since 1979, Wells had been living with his wife Barbara in Clearwater. After 51 years of marriage, Barbara died after a lengthy battle with cancer on August 28, 2007.[3]

Wells has three adult children, named Teri, Rob and Tricia. Wells is currently semi-retired in Clearwater, lending his acting and singing skills to several Tampa Bay area professional theater companies, as well as performing free-lance commercial announcing and narration.

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