Poopdeck Paul

  In 1957 CKLW purchased from Associated Artists Productions the Detroit TV broadcast rights to 234 Max Fleischer and Famous Studios Popeye cartoons. To showcase their new film package, two cartoon hosts were created. CKLW-AM radio veteran Toby David portrayed Captain Jolly, while CKLW-TV’s weatherman Paul Allen Schultz was enlisted as his First Mate, Poopdeck Paul. Captain Jolly’s weekday show relied on puppets and clever gags for the small fry, but the weekends belonged to Poopdeck Paul, with his wacky relay races, limbo contests and lip-synching Beatle clones.

 According to a 1980 Detroit News interview, Paul Schultz’s son William recalled, “The name Poopdeck Paul came pretty much out of nowhere. They were about 10 minutes from going on the air, when somebody said, “Well, what are you going to call yourself?” And that’s when he came up with the name.”

  Poopdeck Paul had his finger firmly in place on the pulse of metro Detroit’s youngsters. When Chubby Checker’s Limbo Rock hit the charts in 1961 Schultz organized Limbo contests. After the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, Schultz orchestrated Beatle contests, with local mop-topped kids lip-synching to the latest Beatle 45s. The most popular Fab Faux act by far was the Beatle Puppets, four papier-mache likenesses of the Liverpudlian lads who made numerous appearances on the show.

  When the weather was warm Schultz took the cameras outside, where kids participated in relay races, go-cart races, miniature golf and gymnastics. The athletic portion of the show became so popular that a spinoff was created, Poopdeck Paul’s Little Sports.

  In 1964 two of my sisters appeared on the Poopdeck Paul show to participate in The Baby Game. I accompanied them to the studio, but only got as far as the green room. Paul interviewed six kids with their baby brothers or sisters. While each kid was interviewed, the camera focused on his or her baby sibling. Then Poop spun the “Big Baby Wheel,” which was divided into sections and labeled “noisiest baby,” “quietest baby,” “wettest baby,” “sleepiest baby,” etc.

  As luck would have it, the wheel stopped on “noisiest baby.” Unfortunately, my baby sister Ann was quite content under the bright lights, and didn’t utter a sound. The winning family received a turkey dinner with all of the trimmings. My sisters went home with a CKLW sailor hat and a box of Bonomo Turkish Taffy (You smack it! You crack it!)  

  The show aired live, so I never got to see it. Home video recorders were a good ten years away, but we had the next best thing- Uncle Wally and his Bell and Howell 8mm movie camera. While my family was at the CKLW studios, my uncle was at home with his movie camera aimed at a 19 inch black and white Zenith, tuned to channel 9.

  My sisters are now grown and Paul Schultz passed away in 2000, but thanks to my Uncle Wally and his trusty Bell and Howell I can watch my six-year-old sister Pam and my six-month-old sister Ann being interviewed by Detroit TV icon Poopdeck Paul.