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.


Chattanooga History Center Announces Staff Changes

The Chattanooga History Center announces changes in its executive staff, following the resignation of Dr. Daryl Black. Marlene Payne has been promoted to the newly created position of Museum director.  Ms. Payne, with the Center for eight years, most recently has been its deputy director.  Other staff members are remaining in their positions: Caroline Sunderland as ... (click for more)

Civil Rights Program at UTC on March 26

The Departments of History and Political Science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga are pleased to announce that on Thursday, March 26, 2015, at 6:00 pm in the University Center's Raccoon Mountain Room, Dr. Renee Romano of Oberlin College will deliver a lecture entitled "What Kind of Reckoning?: Making Sense of the Contemporary Prosecutions of Civil Rights-Era ... (click for more)

Tennessee Broadband Expansion Bill Sought By EPB Put On Hold For Now

Advocates for broadband expansion in Tennessee, including Chattanooga's EPB, announced Tuesday that efforts to extend community-based fiber optic networks are being placed on hold for now "because there is not enough support among state lawmakers to change a state regulation that prevents the expansion of municipal fiber optic systems." EPB earlier won a ruling from the Federal ... (click for more)

Haslam Adds K-12 Funds In Budget Amendment

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam on Tuesday unveiled additions to the FY 2015-2016 budget that will be considered by the General Assembly in the coming weeks, including added funding for K-12. The governor last week met with school superintendents from the largest systems in the state over the issue of state funding for K-12. The next day, the Hamilton County Schools joined ... (click for more)

Physicians Thank Their Patients On Doctor’s Day

March 30 has been set aside as National Doctors’ Day since 1933 as a time to recognize the contributions made by our physicians. While the recognition is appreciated, our greatest satisfaction comes from caring for our patients.  For 132 years, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society has been the physicians’ voice as we worked together to improve health of our community. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Goodbye, Dr. Nassour

About 51 years ago, right after Jim Creel had graduated from the University of Texas and was in Guadalajara for medical school, he was surprised to find a complete stranger sitting on his battered and dusty Volkswagen. “He had seen my Longhorns sticker and was thrilled to find somebody else in Mexico who loved the University of Texas. “That’s when our friendship started and it ... (click for more)