December 29, 2015 at 8:37 pm #16734Craig_AdamsParticipant
Today December 29, 1911 Charles Cyril “Uncle Charlie” La Franchise was born in Chicago, Illinois to Nellie (Fitzsimons) also born in Chicago and Peter Joseph La Franchise who was born in Canada. Charles had two older brothers: Edwin Peter & Joseph, plus two older sisters: Helen Louise & Mary “Sister Mae.” Three younger sisters: Margaret, Dorothy Elizabeth & Anne R. In 1936 Charlie moved to Portland and worked for Armour & Co. By 1940 Charles was living in Portland with his brother & sister in law and their family at: 5531 Commercial.
On June 21, 1941 Charles Cyril La Franchise, 29, married 29 year old Eva Floretta Siemens and were living at 2234 N. Watts St. In 1942 Charlie & Eva welcomed their son Peter Charles La Franchise. Daughters, Michelle P. & Joan would follow. In 1943 Charlie began his Radio career on KVAN Vancouver. In 1945 La Franchise moved to “Oregon Journal” owned KALE Portland.
By March 1948 Charlie began his “Sports a La Franchise” Friday nights at 9:30pm on KALE. On June 6, 1948 KALE became KPOJ AM/FM. On May 31, 1949 Charlie & Jimmy Woodward began describing Horse Races direct from Portland Meadows Monday thru Saturday’s at 11:00pm on KPOJ AM/FM. By August 1949 La Franchise was ring announcer at boxing matches. By March 1950 Charles La Franchise was President of the “Oregon Sports Broadcasters & Sports Writers Association.”
In Fall 1950 Charles C. La Franchise became KPOJ AM/FM Sports Director. On September 23, 1950 Charlie began giving football results on KPOJ AM/FM Saturdays at 7:00pm from all over the Country. By October 1953 Charles La Franchise was President of the “Oregon Public Links Golf Association.” On October 24, 1954 Charlie’s mother Nellie La Franchise died at age 78 in Southtown, Ill.
On March 9, 1955 Charlie La Franchise became KLOR (TV) Sports Director when channel 12 signed on the air. His program “La Franchise On Sports” was seen weeknights at 10:40pm and Tuesdays at 6:30pm on KLOR for 15 minutes with sports celebrities, athletes, coaches and manager interviews but Charlie also kept his overnight show on KPOJ AM/FM. On October 24, 1956 Charlie La Franchise was the ABC Radio Network (KEX) & ABC-TV (KLOR) ring announcer for the simulcast of the Eddie Machen-Johnny Holm boxing match from the Portland Armory at 6:00pm.
By March 1957 “La Franchise On Sports” had become “Charlie La Franchise Sports News” Thursday evenings at 10:15pm on KLOR. On May 1, 1957 KLOR Ch 12 merged with KPTV Ch 27 and became KPTV Ch 12. Charlie moved to KPTV as well. By September 1957 the La Franchise family was living at 5132 N.E. 34th Ave. By November 1958 La Franchise was hosting KPTV’s “Academy Theater” Monday nights at 11:00pm. On February 15, 1959 Charlie began KPTV’s “Fishing Forecast” Thursday’s at 5:55pm.
On April 27, 1959 La Franchise became “Uncle Charlie” and began hosting a kids cartoon show called “Uncle Charlie’s Roundhouse” where Uncle Charlie was dressed as a train engineer, hat and all, weekdays at 8:30am on KPTV for 30 minutes. On May 2, 1959 La Franchise began hosting KPTV’s “Sports Week” Saturday’s at 4:30pm. On October 5, 1959 KPTV debuted “The Better Half” with co-hosts Charlie La Franchise, Mary Ellen Reinhart & Jack Howell, weekdays at 11:00am. This program had live audience participation to “compete for big prizes.” and it said in the ad the show is “not fixed.” Tickets were available at Olds & King. This program lasted until 1961.
On November 15, 1959 “Uncle” Charlie began a short lived program for children on Sunday mornings. He read the comics of both “The Oregonian” & “Oregon Journal” newspapers from 10:30am to 11:00am on KPTV. This was done for weeks during the newspaper strike. On April 25, 1960 Charlie debuted yet another kids show called “Uncle Charlie’s Den” weeknights at 6:00pm on KPTV for 15 minutes.
On May 27, 1960 KPTV’s “Uncle” Charlie made a special appearance from 1:00pm to 2:00pm for the grand opening of “Frontier Village, the Northwest’s unique amusement center” next to the P.I. Building, in North Portland. On August 18, 1961 KPTV’s “Uncle Charlie’s Den” aired for the last time from 4:30 to 5:00pm. On August 31, 1962 KPTV’s “Uncle Charlie’s Roundhouse” was broadcast for the last time at 8:15am.
In September 1962 Charlie (train engineer hat retired) stepped into co-hosting “TV Show of Homes” aka “TV Showcase of Homes” with Barbara Angell, Saturday’s & Sunday’s on KPTV for an hour starting at 12:30pm. On October 15, 1962 La Franchise appeared on the Western drama “The Rifleman” ABC (KPTV) television series, as Eddie Halstead, on the episode titled “Lou Mallory” at 8:30pm. By March 1964 the La Franchise family was living at 13215 N.E. Sacramento St.
In August 1966 it was reported Charlie was back on KPOJ AM/FM pulling a wee hours shift 10:05pm to 3:00am from the Hoyt Hotel. How did he like the late hours? “They’re great if you like to play golf” and “the Go-Go Girls start arriving at 2:30am.” And the problems? “Lots of drunks try to get on the microphone.” On July 25, 1967 La Franchise did his last KPOJ AM/FM show. The Hoyt Hotel broadcasts were discontinued. On June 21, 1970 “TV Show of Homes” aired for the last time Sunday’s at 11:30am to Noon on KPTV.
Charlie left Portland to work for KMED in Medford, but returned two years later. In June I972 Charlie began work at Nudelman Brothers, clothiers in Raleigh Hills where he was Manager. He later worked for Rosenblatt’s clothing stores until his retirement in 1980. On May 23, 1989 Charlie’s sister Dorothy E. La Franchise died at age 70 in Chicago.
On August 15, 1991 Charlie La Franchise died in Milwaukie from causes related to age. He was 79 year old. On August 20, 1991 a Mass was held at 10:30am in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Milwaukie. Private entombment was in Gethsemani Cemetery mausoleum. Charlie was a volunteer for the St. Vincent de Paul Society and other charitable organizations.
References: Broadcasting Yearbook, The Oregonian, Suburbanite Economist Chicago newspaper, Yesterday’s KPTV.December 30, 2015 at 12:41 am #16743semoochieParticipant
“On August 15, 1991 Charlie La Franchise died in Milwaukie from causes related to age. He was 79 year old.” Now, there’s a statement. I have trouble with the concept of someone 79 dying from causes related to age, since my mother recently passed away at 102! When she was 79, she was definitely not old!
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