|Created by||Dick Beach|
|Portrayed by||Dick Beach|
Willie Whistle was a local Boston children's television character of the late 20th century. He hosted a local children's show from 1967 to 1987.
Willie Whistle, a seagoing clown, was played by Dick Beach. Beach created the character of Salty the Clown as a fill-in for a local Toledo, Ohio show, Fun Farm. In 1960, he was given his own show, The Adventures of Salty and Friends. The Salty character featured a tiny whistle sitting on Beach's tongue that changed his voice to a high-pitched squeak. He performed skits with another character, Captain Cotton, and introduced cartoons.
Beach was recruited by Boston's new UHF channel, WSBK-TV (UHF channel 38) to host a show there, starting in 1967. He kept the Salty character, but was required to rename it, since Salty was the nickname of a recent Massachusetts senator (Leverett Saltonstall). The name Willie Whistle was chosen. Beach was also promotions director at the station.
Beach's character thrived in the larger Boston market, despite his speech being largely unintelligible such that he was provided with an off-screen interpreter. The Willie Whistle character continued on the air in Boston for twenty years, until 1987, when Beach retired for health reasons. Beach died on December 18, 2018 at the age of 90.
- Hollis, Tim (2001). Hi There, Boys and Girls! America's Local Children's TV Programs. University Press of Mississippi. p. 146. ISBN 978-1578063963. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
- Daniel Bethencourt (July 10, 2011). "TV clown big hit with kids after job detour". Toledo Blade. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
- Tim Weisberg (March 22, 2018). "Southcoast Soundoff: Best Local TV Clown?". WBSM. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
- Bruce Paul (February 23, 2010). "BRUCE PAUL: When Willie Whistle came to Quincy, life came to a standstill". [Quincy, Massachusetts] Patriot-Ledger. Retrieved November 18, 2018.