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.