Hotel Balderdash is the home of the "Balderdash Gang”... a group of comic actors who perform sketch comedy and comedy musical songs for KIDS of all ages! Hotel Balderdash has a following of enthusiastic fans both young and old. Hotel Balderdash is a KID'S TV SHOW full of fun sketches and features seen on TV stations nationwide. Hotel Balderdash has an ONLINE RADIO STATION heard around the world! And Hotel Balderdash has this world-wide ONLINE website dedicated to FUN! Hotel Balderdash's "Balderdash Gang" provides plenty of Great Original Kid's Music, Comedy Bits, Jokes, Contests, a Kid's Talent Search, Lots of Prizes and much, much more! Hotel Balderdash started 30 years ago on TV and now there's a new-generation "Balderdash Gang" combined with the old generation who continue to make Kids of all ages laugh and have FUN!
Hotel Balderdash started in 1972 with three zany hosts: Cannonball, Harvey and Raymond.
This show was produced at KCPX/KTVX - TV in Salt Lake City. It was seen throughout Utah, but was also a regional show seen in parts of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming. The show debuted on KCPX-TV, the ABC affiliate in Salt Lake City, on September 11, 1972; soon after the debut of the show the station changed its call letters to KTVX. "Hotel Balderdash" lasted for over ten years as the most popular local show of any type in the area. Between 55% to 65% of the entire morning audience - all ages - would get up to watch this "local" children's program.
The show started out with a nearly two-hour format, starting at 6:45 in the morning and finishing at 8:40, in time for a 20-minute news broadcast. It eventually settled into an hour format - 7:00 am to 8:00 am, when ABC debuted its new morning program AM America, to go against NBC's Today Show. So popular was Hotel Balderdash, that a local newspaper wrote an article wondering what KTVX would do with their "proven winner," to air AM America. The station knew they had a winner with Balderdash, and decided to divide the two hours of AM America, airing the first hour at 6:00 am and the second hour at 8:00 am. AM America would eventually have a name change to Good Morning, America.
The show starred Larry "Cannonball" John, Randy "Harvey" Lovoi and Charlie "Raymond" LeSueur. John and LeSueur had been given the idea for the show from popular kid's show host Bill "Wallace" Thompson of "Wallace and Ladmo" fame in Phoenix, Arizona. John had known Thompson from the time the young actor had been a co-host on a popular talent show in Phoenix called Lew King's Rangers. Thompson said that he had the idea for a show set in hotel and have the guests as the characters. He suggested the name Balderdash for the show.
The show had the popular dynamic of being set in a hotel with the manager, Cannonball, the bellhop, Harvey, and the owner's nephew, the spoiled brat Raymond. Monday through Friday, Raymond would continually try to get Harvey in trouble with Cannonball, only to be caught by Cannonball at the end of the show and punished for his mischief. The live audience of children and parents would go wild trying to warn Cannonball that Harvey was a victim of circumstance and that it was really Raymond causing the trouble.
The other characters on the show where mainly played by LeSueur, who also created most of the routines for the program. Everything the characters did on the show was ad-lib, with just the basic ideas that the threesome would go over in a meeting held before taping. Five shows would be taped in a three-hour period each Monday night for airplay Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and the following Monday morning. These "bits" would be played between cartoons giving the "Balderdash Gang,"as they became known, approximately 25 minutes of air time per show; therefore, with the quick taping it was truly 'live on tape.'
The show originally used the popular jazz tune "Mississippi Mud" as their theme song, but, when LeSueur left the show in 1976, John and Lovoi quickly adjusted and recorded two popular albums of original songs "Hotel Balderdash" and "The Hotel Balderdash Party Album". The Hotel Balderdash theme song that is fondly remembered was on the first album. The two albums were the two best selling albums in Utah for two years in a row.
The show's popularity continued to soar with Harvey and Cannonball, even having a "Hotel Balderdash Day" declared in Utah. So strong was the popularity of the two characters that the show continued to entertain, though by now, without LeSueur's "double entendre" characters, it focused more on being strictly a children's show. LeSueur returned to the show at various times and finally returned on more or less a permanent basis in 1979.
At its height of popularity the characters of Harvey, Cannonball, and Raymond would draw huge crowds at any personal appearances. At Christmas time, when they made their regular appearances at the Sears stores, Santa Claus would have to close up shop until they left because everyone wanted to see the Balderdash Gang. A story relating to their immense popularity is the year when the storyline had Raymond kidnapping Santa Claus on a Thursday morning installment. The Friday and Monday shows had already been taped and Santa was to be saved on the Monday show. KTVX was inundated Thursday with phone calls from angry parents whose kids were terribly upset at the kidnapping. The Threesome were called back Thursday night for an emergency taping session to make sure that Santa was saved by Cannonball and Harvey on Friday. Santa was saved and the kids - and parents - were happy.
Hotel Balderdash was a classic example of the local kids' shows of the times. In 2010, Larry John and Randy Lovoi started again to produce the All New Hotel Balderdash one more time. Charlie LeSueur also appears in some of the shows. Hotel Balderdash is currently being syndicated to TV stations worldwide by Cairngorm Studios, Inc. and on the internet by Larry John Wright, Inc. and Silver Pixel Studios. The future of Hotel Balderdash will shift more and more to the internet even though television continues to be a great medium for the show. Hotel Balderdash is producing a new music CD and music videos for the 11 new songs that will be released this year. There has always been only one goal for Hotel Balderdash ... "We want to make Kids of all ages....LAUGH and HAVE FUN!"
Here is a news clip from Channel 4 KTVX about Hotel Balderdash and other Kids shows of the time in Salt Lake City.