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clunky html version of Utter Trash has been mercifully erased from the web (well, The Wayback Machine might still have an archived version), I wanted to repost a few things that I think are worth keeping online.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.


The Certain Ethnic Horror Host - An interview with "Big Chuck" Schodowski



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!



Chuck Schodowski has been an institution on Cleveland late-night television for decades. When the Ghoulardi show went on the air in February of 1963, Chuck was working behind the scenes. Eventually, Ernie Anderson, the man who played Ghoulardi, coerced Chuck into appearing in a few skits. Then, when Ernie left the show in 1966, Chuck and TV8 weather man Bob “Hoolihan” Wells became the new hosts of the station’s late night movie program. Wells eventually moved on, but Chuck continued, sharing the hosting duties with John “Lil’ John” Rinaldi since 1979. It’s a track record unrivaled by any other local television program, and generations of Clevelanders have grown up watching Schodowski host movies and act in comedy skits. Chuck easily has enough good stories to fill a book, and in fact did just that in in 2008 when his autobiography, 'Big Chuck! My Favorite Stories from 47 Years on Cleveland TV' was published.