Remembering WDEF's Jolly Cholly

Monday, July 4, 2005 - by Harmon Jolley
Jolly Cholly, pictured at the top of this 1965 ad, was a popular personality at WDEF.  Click to enlarge.
Jolly Cholly, pictured at the top of this 1965 ad, was a popular personality at WDEF. Click to enlarge.

In the 1960’s, with a growing number of cars on the road, the afternoon commute had become a daily chore. The advent of freeways meant more choices for becoming stuck in traffic. As a calmative for rattled nerves, AM car radios offered motorists a combination of entertainment along with news and traffic information. Locally, many radios had a preset (a mechanical pushbutton, not one of those newfangled electronic ones) which selected WDEF and the relaxing music and voice of afternoon drive man “Jolly Cholly.”

Charles W. Krause, nicknamed “Jolly Cholly,” was a native of Aurora, Illinois. He served in World War II, and then began a radio career in Kentucky. In 1963, he moved to Chattanooga and became program director at WDOD radio. After twenty months at WDOD, he switched to WDEF. There, he hosted the afternoon program, “The Road Show.”

Jolly Cholly’s program began with “They Say I’m Lucky, Mr. Lucky Guy.” In a musical era when rock-and-roll, aided by the British Invasion, was claiming more listeners, Jolly Cholly offered the hits of the big bands and vocalists such as Dean Martin and Perry Como. His show ended around 7:00pm each day with “Misty,” the stylish piano instrumental by Erroll Garner.

Charles Krause earned his nickname each day at the station. WDEF’s Doris Ellis shared her memories of Mr. Krause: “A couple of things I remember vividly about Jolly Cholly were, as his name indicates...he was always Jolly....and he had a great sense of humor and wit. Everyone just loved him. He also loved food and he loved to talk about it and he talked about it often on the air. His descriptive terms would almost make you think you could actually smell and taste the food as you listened at home. I would always get hungry just listening to Jolly Cholly.”

In the mid-1960’s, Jolly Cholly was part of a three-person team which hosted “The Morning Show” on WDEF-TV Monday through Friday. One of his co-hosts was Betty Mac, who was a popular local TV host for many years. Mr. Krause also had on-air time at WDEF with a noon cooking show.

Jolly Cholly continued as a radio personality at WDEF until his untimely passing in 1974 at age 48. Afternoon radio in Chattanooga had lost a class act.

In case that you're wondering, yes, when I was growing up, I was sometimes called "Jolly Cholly" due to the similarity of my last name.

If you have memories of Jolly Cholly, please send me an e-mail at jolleyh@signaldata.net.



Chester Martin: Tales Of Broad Street

Did anyone ever tell you when you were growing up that Broad Street (in Chattanooga) did not always exist - except for nine short blocks from the river to 9th Street? Very hard to imagine that now, to be sure, but the street, as we know it today was not always there. My parents were both around, however, when that street only ran from the river (Aquarium area) to 9th Street, now ... (click for more)

Montagues Led In Chattanooga Banking, Industry; Fine Homes Were Knocked Down On Cameron Hill

One of Chattanooga's first banks opened after the Civil War's end was a project of two Northerners, who had first eyed Cincinnati for their First National Bank. The First National opened Nov. 15, 1865, in an unpretentious brick building between Third and Fourth streets. The founders were Theodore Giles Montague and William Perry Rathburn. They had moved on to Chattanooga because ... (click for more)

Shaw Industries To Invest $42 Million At Decatur, Tn., Plant

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Shaw Industries Group, Inc. officials announced Friday that the floor products manufacturer will invest $42 million to upgrade its yarn facility in Decatur. Shaw plans create 75 new jobs in Meigs County as part of the investment. “I’d like to thank Shaw for its continued ... (click for more)

$125 Million County School Building Plan Includes Shifting CSLA To Tyner Middle; Combining Tyner High/Middle; New Harrison Elementary, New East Hamilton Middle

Hamilton County School officials on Thursday unveiled a $125 million building plan that includes moving the Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts to the current Tyner Middle School, which will undergo a major renovation. Tyner Middle will move across the street into Tyner High School. Both Tyner buildings have been under-utilized for a number of years. There will also be ... (click for more)

Managed Hunting Is Necessary In Maintaining A Stable Deer Population - And Response

I enjoy seeing the whitetail deer that we have in so many areas here in East Tennessee, but here in Hamilton County we have been approaching the maximum habitat sustainability in some places including the Enterprise South area. I make this statement due to the fact that I have seen up to 20 deer driving around in Hixson in one evening during the summer. I believe that TWRA is doing ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: At Last! New Schools

In this me-me-me-only-me world of today, we-we-we-finally got a thrilling $125 million facility plan for the Hamilton County Department of Education on Thursday night. The School Board unanimously approved a well-thought-out “first Band-Aid” that will provide a new elementary school in Harrison, middle schools in East Hamilton and Howard, and a quite-satisfactory answer to move ... (click for more)