Friday, November 4, 2016

Jolly Jellybean at the Dairy Queen

Montreal Memories & Nostalgia

The Dairy Queen at 4604 Av du Parc, which is across the steeet from where I used to live and from where my brothers and I were each served a soft ice-cream cone by Jolly Jellybean. This is in the heart of the Mile End neighbourhood. 
Photo Credit: Kate McDonnell
Source: Urban Photo

We, my two brothers and I, met Jolly Jellybean (Ted Zeigler [1926–1999; born Chicago, Illinois] ) at the Dairy Queen on av du Parc; it was right across from our home. It was during the early 1960s, and I couldn't have been older than eight. I was thrilled at the prospect of meeting a real-life TV star up front and close. He wore the zany candy-striped suit that he became famous for and served me a soft ice cream cone.

It sounds sentimental, but it was a high and happy moment in our childhood, not only for us but for a generation of children who watched TV. It was a shared experience. (There wasn’t 500 channels; we had only four local channels: two in English and two in French.) It wasn’t that everything was wonderful—it wasn’t—but we had a sense of hope, a greater sense of humility and a view that with hard work and the right application of knowledge we were progressing toward something good. There was also good old-fashion outrageous comedy without the angry edge of resentment.

An article in the Montreal Gazette captures the appeal of the show to persons of my generation. In “A CFCF-12 memory” (January 22, 2011), the writer says:
My fondest childhood memory of CFCF-12 is of scurrying home for lunch from my nearby downtown elementary school to watch Lunchtime Little Theatre starring zany Ted Ziegler as Johnny Jellybean. Like a living Looney Tunes character, Ziegler entertained children as if they were grownups. Kids love that. He called it “kidadult” entertainment.
Ziegler’s wackiness has had a life-long effect on many Montrealers who swear by his hilarity and fondly remember him as their free-spirited childhood hero. From 1962 to 1967, the card dressed in an outrageous candy-striped suit, clashing polka-dot bow-tie and a beanie, of all things, flung convoluted faces and other-worldly voices at off-camera inventions with names like Toomie the Duck and Enzio Pesta.
For kids who raced home from school at lunchtime to watch the show, the The Squawk Box routine was as funny as could be. The only known footage of the show can be seen [here].

The Squawk Box: Jolly Jellybean played by Ted Zeigler.
Source: Youtube