Remembering WDEF's Jolly Cholly

Monday, July 04, 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.


James County Historical Society Meeting is August 3

The James County Historical Society will meet Sunday, August 3, at 2:30pm in the Ooltewah Methodist Church in the Sunday School addition.   The program will be presented by Larry Williams; its topic will be the “The Re-birth of a Model T Ford”.  The program will relate to old cars and to roads of the Old Jim County era. If you use email, please send your email address ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Genealogical Society Meeting is August 5

The Signal Mountain Genealogical Society will meet at the Walden Town Hall, 1836 Taft Highway, on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm. Refreshments will be served, followed by a short business meeting and program.   The speaker for the meeting will be  Jim Dodson who will deliver a presentation entitled,  "Letters from Mississippi  1860 - 1868. ”   ... (click for more)

Federal Judge Stops Erlanger Foreclosure Of Hutcheson Hospital

In a ruling Friday, a Federal Court Judge in Rome agreed with Hutcheson Medical Center and Regions Bank to grant the request for an injunction, effectively stopping the foreclosure efforts of Erlanger Health System against Hutcheson. In stopping the foreclosure set for next Tuesday, the judge held that the public interest in keeping the hospital doors open was “insurmountable.”  ... (click for more)

Mediated Resolution Reached In TVA Kingston Lawsuits

A mediated global resolution has been achieved in 63 lawsuits pending in U.S. District Court involving more than 850 plaintiffs asserting claims against the Tennessee Valley Authority arising from the 2008 ash spill at Kingston Fossil Plant. The resolution, outlined in documents submitted Friday to the U.S. District Court in Knoxville, comes after nearly two years of ... (click for more)

A Tennessee Transplant's Thoughts On Age And Politics - And Response

I have read several opinions favoring the job performance of Representative Fleischmann as well the apparent disdain that they have for his challenger and his age.  I must disclose that unfortunately, I am unable to cast a vote in the 3rd District Republican primary.  I will however always be a Chattanoogan.  As a result, I feel more engaged in East Tennessee politics ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Mr. Trump, Stand Down!

I’ve never been a big fan of Donald Trump. Of his worldy possessions, I believe the only things bigger than his $4 billion bank account are his arrogance and his ego but what he did Friday was shameful. Here we have two Americans in Africa on a mercy mission who have been stricken with the ebola virus and as emergency efforts are in progress to bring them home, Trump -- in his usual ... (click for more)