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 Remembers Architect William Caton

While growing up back in Neolithic times (aka the 1940's), various friends would point out a slightly built, wiry little man, who drove a funny car.   We would be waiting for the bus at the corner of Anderson and Belvoir Avenues in Brainerd, and, if lucky, we MIGHT get to see him in his odd car. He would be coming down from his modest home on North View Avenue, second street ... (click for more)

TSLA Lecture on Tennessee Supreme Court and the Marble Industry September 24

Tennessee is famous for many things, but some people may not realize the state once was a hotbed for the marble industry. Tennessee marble, known for its pinkish-gray coloring and ease of polishing, has been used in many buildings across the country. In the next installment of the Tennessee State Library and Archives lecture series, Susan Knowles, a digital humanities fellow ... (click for more)

Highway 58 Man Charged In Fatal Hit And Run In Dayton, Tn.

A Highway 58 man has been arrested in connection with a fatal hit and run of a Rhea County man.   Walter Hale was badly injured and later died after he was struck in Dayton.   Authorities were led to Douglas Edward Alvey, 52, through video from the We Care business in Dayton, where the 60-year-old victim worked.   After officers with the Dayton ... (click for more)

Man, 78, Found Dead With Gunshot Wound To The Chest At Residence On Central Avenue

A 78-year-old man has been found dead with a gunshot wound to the chest at a residence on Central Avenue. Chattanooga Police were called to the 1900 block of Central Avenue on Thursday at 10:08 a.m. Upon arrival, Chattanooga Police officers located George Garth deceased. At this time there is no suspect information available. Chattanooga Violent Crimes Bureau investigators ... (click for more)

Patrol Cars Donation To Kevin Muhammad's Nation Of Islam Sets A Dangerous Precedent

Re: City Police donating two patrol cars to Kevin Muhammad's Nation of Islam: While I know it's unpopular to mention the wisdom of separation of church and state, this sets a dangerous precedent and should meet with concern from everyone who values religious and secular freedom. What's next? Southern Baptists getting old city parking scooters to patrol church parking lots ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Official State Rifle

There was a noticeable crowd of free-thinkers who ran around like so many “Chicken Littles” back in February when “the hicks” in the state legislature named a gun that is made only in Tennessee as the Official State Rifle. As we seem to always find out afterwards, the goofs who are quick to make such liberal racket have no earthy concept of reality or purpose. In the tiny town ... (click for more)