Willie Whistle

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Willie Whistle
Photograph of the clown Willie Whistle
Willie Whistle
Created byDick Beach
Portrayed byDick 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[1] 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.[2]

Beach was recruited by Boston's new UHF channel, WSBK-TV (UHF channel 38) to host a show there, starting in 1967.[3] 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.[2] Beach was also promotions director at the station.[4]

Beach's character thrived in the larger Boston market, despite his speech being largely unintelligible[5] such that he was provided with an off-screen interpreter.[1] The Willie Whistle character continued on the air in Boston for twenty years, until 1987, when Beach retired for health reasons.[3] Beach died on December 18, 2018 at the age of 90.[4]


  1. ^ a b 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.
  2. ^ a b Daniel Bethencourt (July 10, 2011). "TV clown big hit with kids after job detour". Toledo Blade. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Tim Weisberg (March 22, 2018). "Southcoast Soundoff: Best Local TV Clown?". WBSM. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  4. ^ a b https://www.kystandard.com/content/beloved-community-member-tv-past-dies
  5. ^ 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.

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