Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Into The Pit: When, for a few crazy years, my high school decided to let kids smoke on campus

By Bob Ignizio

From the 1981 Cuyahoga Falls High School Yearbook
Remember the song “Smokin’ in the Boys Room”, originally performed by Brownsville Station in 1973, and later covered by Motley Crue in 1985? No? You say you’re not some shriveled up old geezer? Way to hurt a guy. Anyway, I assure you whippersnappers the song was popular, and very much based on reality. But I had a somewhat different reality when I attended Cuyahoga Falls High School in the eighties.

For years, Falls High had tried to keep their student body from smoking on campus as you might expect. During lunch breaks, young nicotine addicts could go off school grounds and enjoy their cancer sticks without fear of being hassled (yes, we were allowed to leave school grounds for lunch, something that would never happen today). But if you got a craving during class time, you had to sneak into the bathroom or some other inconspicuous place to get your fix. And of course if you did that, you ran the risk of getting busted.

By 1979, the administration at Falls High had evidently given up, deciding it would just be easier to keep the smoking contained in one small, unsheltered area of the parking lot rather than play whack-a-mole with determined youthful tobacco addicts. And so it was that The Pit was born.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Cleveland's Late Night Jewel(er): An interview with "Lil' John" Rinaldi

By Bob Ignizio

This interview originally appeared on the old Utter Trash website in August of 2004. Since that time, the late night "Big Chuck" and Lil' John Show was cancelled. There have been a few revivals of the program as a daytime show on weekends showing skits only, with Chuck and John still hosting. Check your local schedules.

With that in mind, this interview is presented as it originally ran. A few things are no longer relevant, but since this deals with Cleveland TV history, most of it still applies. Enjoy!


"Lil' John" Rinaldi has been the co-host of the Big Chuck and Lil' John Show on Cleveland's Channel 8 since 1979. Before that, when the show was known as the Hooliahan and Big Chuck Show, John appeared in numerous skits. While his first appearance on the show, in the music video for Ray Steven's "Bridget the Midget", made reference to John's short stature, other memorable skits have featured John as a caveman, an overworked engineer in a recording studio, and frequently as a put upon husband. Recently, John was kind enough to chat with Utter Trash about his life and career. Although he somewhat downplays his contributions to the show, any true Clevelander knows that for the last 25 years his energy and wit have been an integral part of the program he co-hosts with "Big Chuck" Schodowski.

All-New, All-Different Utter Trash Rebirth V. 3.0 (don't call it a reboot)

Anyone there? Is this thing on?

This blog has been dormant for some time now, ever since I launched The Cleveland Movie Blog in September of 2010. That site takes up most of what passes for my free time these days. But occasionally I still get the urge to write something that isn't about movies. So I figured I might start posting the occasional article here again. Probably about music, comics, TV, and/or seventies and eighties nostalgia. I might even try to be funny, so consider yourself warned.

Also, since the original, clunky html version of Utter Trash has been mercifully erased from the web (well, The Wayback Machine might still have an archived version), I wanted to repost a few things that I think are worth keeping online. In particular, my series of interviews with NE Ohio area horror hosts that I did back in 2004. I've started today with "Big Chuck" Schodowski, and will get the rest up over the coming days, weeks, months... however long it happens to take.