Captain Penny - Cleveland-based kiddie
show host who appeared on the long-running daily program CAPTAIN
PENNY"S FUN HOUSE broadcast on WEWS-TV Channel 5 from March 2, 1955
through September 4, 1971. Captain Penny (Ron Penfound) wore a
train engineer outfit, showed Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons and The
Three Stooges and The Little Rascals film shorts and offered
the wise closing advice "You can fool some of the people all of the time...and
all of the people some of the time...but you can't fool Mom!" (known
as "Captain Penny's Law").
Other regular on the shows were "Jungle Larry" Tetzlaff and his
wife, "Safari Jane," who brought animals to the show; Mr.
Nickelsworth, Penny's never seen off-screen assistant, Bobo the
Clown, a three-foot inflatable toy balloon; and Wilbur Wiffenpoof, a
piano-playing, railroad station agent (played by Earl Keyes).
Captain Penny's show was sponsored by Bosco chocolate syrup mix
The Captain routinely
would stir up a glass of chocolate drink on the air and guzzle it
down while making a big satisfying gulp sound.
After his program ended in 1971, Penfound served as weekend
weatherman and staff announcer at WEWS. He also announced for the
CLEVELAND INDIANS (1969-72). Penfound left Cleveland in 1972. Ronald
A. Penfound died of
lung cancer (cigarettes) in Naples, Florida in September 1974.
Fond Remembrances from Fans
"I never remarried - our four children grew into NINE grandchildren
- I live in Central Ohio - Ron's parents have passed away (they
lived in Elyria majority of their lives), Ron's dear Aunt Dorothy is
still alive - will be 90 in May. She adored him, and he her." (2004)
"Ron would now have 10 - Yes! Ten grandchildren. (Just added one
August 2005 in Denver) 6 girls, 4 boys - some in NY state, some in
Denver, some in the Columbus area - and no, I have not married yet -
still Mrs. Penfound. Nice to see Ron remembered. Aunt Dorothy is
still 'kicking' and living in Elyria."
- - Jody Penfound
"My Father managed several downtown restaurants. Many of the
celebrities from WEWS-TV including Ron, were customers of my
father's restaurant and became close personal friends on Saturdays.
My father would bring me to work and I would help him behind the
One day, Ron (Captain Penny) came in. I watched him on television at
noon every day. (Little Rascals and Bosco). My Dad sat me next to
him and Ron placed an engineer's cap on my head. It was one of the
greatest moments of my childhood days."
- - Anthony De Franco, Broadview Heights, OH
"Originally born and raised in Cleveland. I watched him (Captain
Penny) when I grew up and remember his show and the voice in the
background (the control booth, no doubt) a 'Mr. Nickelsworth'"
- - Tom Stachowiecz
The CAPTAIN PENNY program was produced by Earl Keyes, a master story
teller who was known as "Mr. Jingeling." Keyes started playing the
role of Mr. Jingeling in 1965 as a part of "The Captain Penny Show."
Mr. Jingeling was an elf who counted down the days from Thanksgiving
to Christmas for Santa. The holiday event was sponsored by Halle's
Department Store and ran until 1987. Keyes was a native of Lakewood,
Ohio and one of the original employees at Cleveland's WEWS-TV when
it went on the air in 1947. He died of congestive heart failure on
December 26, 2000 at the age of 81.
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