Shaggy Dog, Leafy Bark, Mr. Zing and Tuffy the Tiger
"It's Mr. Zing and Tuffy time, so come along with me.
Come along and don't be late, we'll all have fun, you'll see.
There's Mr. Zing and Tuffy and all the things so great,
So, stay with us right here on Channel 8."
(Remembered by Mitch Schauer in Guestbook 12)
(from Guestbook 1) Dee Lundy in Bakersfield, CA said:
I remember John Chick having two shows. The John Chick Show
was on early weekday mornings and had local "talent" (including my brother
once as a bassist---webmaster). Those included Ted (the Tuf Nut Jeans
spokesman) "Teddy Bear" Creekmore and Denise Burris. John Chick also starred
as Mr. Zing on the Mr. Zing & Tuffy Show weekday afternoons. They
later added Shaggy Dog to the cast.
(from Guestbook 179) Joel Burkhart said: I knew John Chick from
the Great Folk Music Scare of the early 60s when he used to perform at various
coffee houses in Oklahoma City
and Tulsa. I ran into him again in about '73/'74 when he was hosting The
John Chick Show. I was the regular mandolin player with the
Friday Morning Bunch(nice pix
and more info at link), a group of bluegrass musicians from various
groups who would get together every Friday for an unrehearsed live show.
We even made the long-playing, short-selling LP shown below.
My regular bluegrass band, Stoney Creek, also performed once on the
Mazeppa show. We were invited because one
of Gailard's art professors,
Godsey, was also our fiddle player.
Here is The John Chick Show at the Tulsa State Fair Educational
Building inthe early 70s, from Jason Fincher. His dad, Edwin, can be seen
at the end of the video. "Teddy Bear" Creekmore is up on stage with John.
Be sure to go full-screen on this one. More from Jason on the
Recorded on "The John Chick Show", Channel 8, April 1974
(from Guestbook 6) Mike Bruchas said:
The anecdotes about Channel 8 preemptions reminded me of the early days of
Good Morning America on ABC. At the time, KTUL preempted the first hour for
The John Chick Show. Elton Rule, then president of the ABC Television
Network came to Tulsa for a visit. Pushing for a clearance for the rest of
GMA, he couldn't believe Tulsans favored a show that featured local musical
talent (a phrase I use loosely). When shown the ratings and the backlog of
advertisers lined up for the show, he backed off and agreed it was probably
the right programming.
From a Mr. Zing & Tuffy T-shirt, courtesy of Lynne LeMoine
(from Guestbook 11) Bill Groves said:
For a friend's birthday, a bunch of us did appear on "Mr. Zing and Tuffy."
I remember one kid asking John Chick if we'd be getting some Carnation ice
cream during our visit, and he gracefully replied that if he did that, he'd
get fired because the sponsor was Pure Milk, not Carnation. I think it was
from that event that I obtained a promotional postcard touting the "Cartoon
Zoo," as it was originally dubbed, when Mr. Zing wore the full-fledged
zookeeper's outfit (and pre-Shaggy Dog). It's still buried somewhere in my
parents' house. Next time I'm in Tulsa, I'll try to dig it out of my stored
artifacts, so I can bring it back, scan it, and send it to you to use if
(from Guestbooks 50 and 161) Jim Reid said:
I have a very prized keepsake from my days at Channel 8.
Mike Bruchas has written
about the file cabinets behind the studios. That was my favorite spot in
the whole station, I used to spend hours looking at the great stuff in those
cabinets. One day just before I left, I discovered they were doing a major
cleanup at the station. I went back to check the room with the file cabinets
to find that everything had been tossed. It was a tragedy.
There was a dumpster sitting there with trash from another part of the shop
area. Sitting right on top of the trash was John Chick's "Mr. Zing"
zookeeper's hat. He didn't wear it much, mainly in the beginning of the
show. I have seen a few pictures of him wearing the hat.
I've had visitors at my house who'd grown up in Tulsa, and when I show them
the hat, it almost brings tears to their eyes. (Photos courtesy of Jim
Chick's Mr. Zing zookeeper's hat, courtesy of Jim Reid
(from Guestbook 25) Frank Morrow said:
This is not entirely a radio story, but a few memories about Johnny Chick:
Johnny and I were schoolmates from junior high school through college. He
was in the class ahead of me. With his bright face, great smile and wonderful
wit, he always was so much in evidence wherever he was.
For a Horace Mann Jr. High Christmas pageant Johnny and I shared the singing
role of Joseph. Because the pageant was presented twice, there were two different
casts of soloists. We all rehearsed together, however. My pre-pubescent tenor
voice was high and thin, much outclassed by Johnny's full, mature voice.
The girls in the cast loved to listen to Johnny sing. The teacher ("Big Bertha"
Cook) should have had Johnny sing for both performances. (By the way, Johnny
was a great whistler, too.)
At Central we not only
occasionally were on stage together, we also appeared now and then on our
weekly radio program "Experimental Theater of the Air" over KOME on Saturday
morning. (I emphasized radio and plays at Central, while Johnny participated
more in singing groups as well as plays.) I remember one broadcast where,
as the announcer, I was introducing the songs which were being presented
from the current Central operetta. During rehearsal, after I had introduced
one song, Johnny came up to me and corrected my French. When the program
came on, I made the same mistake, and, sure enough, here came Johnny who
whispered the correct pronunciation again in my ear. I finally got it right
the third time.
When we were both at KRMG in 1956, I was at Johnny's house one night. He
and his wife had a baby, and Johnny did something I have never seen anyone
do before or since. When he wanted to know if the baby needed changing, he
merely inserted his hand down inside the diaper from behind. If his hand
came up wet or brown, he knew immediately that a change was in order. Right
then and there I knew that he was a braver soul than I.
(from Guestbook 25) Jim Ruddle said:
Sidebar for Chick fans:
In 1966, I was co-anchoring news at WGN-TV, in Chicago, when a woman from
the program department told me that the station was auditioning for a staff
announcer--a job that opened rarely there--and she wondered whether I knew
anybody who might be a good candidate. I immediately suggested John Chick
(or Johnny, as those of us who had known him when we were school kids together
called him) and pretty much forgot about it.
A couple of weeks later, the lady said the station
was bringing Johnny up for an audition. In due course, he arrived, went up
against the best talent in Chicago and won the audition with nobody even
a close second. Later, we had coffee together in the station cafeteria and
he told me he didn't think he would take the job.
Now, I knew that WGN was not overly generous with beginning salaries for
a station of that size and revenues, and new staffers would automatically
be at the bottom of the totem pole, however, the station was probably the
best local producer of children's programs, with Bozo's Circus, the Ray Rayner
Show, Dick Tracy, Garfield Goose, and several others, and Johnny seemed to
me to be a natural for the place. Obviously, he would shortly be installed
as a talent on one of the programs or be given one of his own.
I asked him about his reluctance to take the job, and he explained that he
was very happy doing what he was doing in Tulsa, that he genuinely loved
doing the show he was doing there, and besides, moving to Chicago would mean
a major upheaval in his life and his family. In short, he stiffed WGN and
went back to Tulsa and his legendary career there. I'm sure he made the right
The brass at WGN was completely confounded by his action and unable to comprehend
that anyone would balk at a chance to work for them. But, then, they didn't
understand a lot of things.
(from Guestbook 1) Don Lundy in Bakersfield, CA said:
...Mike Denney was Shaggy Dog for a while. But the suit was
also worn by Tom Ledbetter, who directed at KTUL and taught at TU.
Wayne Johnson was Tuffy. Mike is still at CBS Television City
and directs The Young and the Restless. Has been in Hollywood since
76 or so.
We just heard from Mike Denney on his way to the Emmy awards (later
(from Guestbook 7) Mike Denney said:
This is such a great idea ! Tulsa has a rich Television history. My TV career
started in August 1966 at KTUL playing drums in a trio on the Betty Boyd
show. I spent a little over 8 years
there working my way up through
the studio to Director and finally to Production Manager. In January 1975
I moved to LA to accept a position as cameraman at CBS. I spent about 14
years doing camera on a wide variety of CBS shows including the last three
seasons of the Carol Burnett show. I also did a lot of sporting events including
4 Super Bowls. I'm currently directing the daytime drama The Young and
the Restless. There have been quite a few KTUL alums at CBS, Toby Brown,
Bob Welsh, David Finch, and Terry Clark. Bruce Grey was also at KTUL but
he wound up at NBC. I produced and directed a short film that was shot in
OK and I cast my good friend Carl Bartholomew in a small but important
role. I saw Hurst Swiggart's name, it's great to hear he's still around.
He mentioned Chuck Bowman's name. I met him at a party some time ago,
it was really fun to find out he was from Tulsa. At the time I spoke to him
he was directing Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and his son was producing The
X-Files. I better stop, I'm leaving for NYC for the daytime Emmys. This is
my tenth nomination for directing and so far I won three times. Keep up the
And from Guestbook 32, Mike Denney said:
Date: 16-Jan-00 01:22 PM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Mike Denney
Geographical location: Solvang, CA.
Favorite Tulsa TV show or personality: Uncle Zeb, Mazeppa
Just wanted to let everyone know I finally have an e-mail address that works.
Hope to hear from some of my old friends from KTUL. I'm still plugging away
on "The Young and the Restless," we've just come off a two week Christmas
break. Hope everyone had a great holiday!
Mike Denney (upper right), currently multiple Emmy-winning director
of "The Young and the Restless", formerly "Mr. Zing and Tuffy" cameraman
and Mazeppa show director. (from "Tony Orlando
and Dawn", circa 1975, courtesy of Eagle-eye Bruchas).
Mike Denney comments via email: "I sure wish I had still had that much
(from Guestbook 34) Tom Ledbetter (aka Shaggy
A couple of my Tulsa friends have told me about this site, so I came on to
read what people were saying about Mr. Zing and Tuffy. I joined the show
as Shaggy Dog after the show had been on for about 18 months, and I spent
five years with it.
I worked with many talented people at Channel 8:
Betty Boyd, Boyce Lancaster, Wirt Cain, Don Woods, and many people in the
production and engineering staff, including Hurst Swiggart, Ken Kerr, Mike
Denney and Tom Tipping.
But John Chick was the most talented person with whom I ever was privileged
to work. Our paths crossed a number of times. We were classmates at Central
High, and later, after we both spent time in the Air Force during the Korea
thing, we were again classmates and theatre majors at TU. In my view he was
the most talented and professional member of our acting group. As Mr. Zing,
he wrote songs, sang them, played guitar and banjo remarkably, and rode his
unicycle. I began to wonder if there were anything he couldn't accomplish.
I remember the time Jim Ruddle wrote about, when John disappeared unexpectedly
for a couple of days. Boyce Lancaster told me and Wayne Johnson (Tuffy) that
John was in Chicago for an audition. John told us later it was the hardest
audition he ever did, but that he won it. We werent surprised to hear
that. But we were surprised when he told us hed rather stay where he
was. He didnt want to move to Chicago, and he knew he wouldnt
have as much fun as he was having at Channel 8.
Our Central class is having its 50th reunion this spring, and I, for one,
will be wishing John could be with us.
(from Guestbook 3) Deb Walker from Colorado said:
Like a lot of Tulsa kids, I got to be on the Mr Zing & Tuffy show for
my 6th birthday. It was so cool (cause Mr. Zing was pretty cute!), and I
got to bring along, like, 5 kids from my class. I wore a yellow sweatshirt
that said "I'm the Boss," and when John asked me, the boss of what, I got
so tongue tied, I don't remember now if I actually said anything or not!
(from Guestbook 25) Elizabeth Chick said:
I remember Dad doing a live commercial for Cathey's Furniture where he was
standing on top of the table, showing its strength and durability. After
hopping on it a few times the table broke in 2 and Dad fell to the ground.
Stunned but with his wonderful wit managed to save the reputation of himself
and the Furniture Store.
(from Guestbook 1) Mike Bruchas in Alexandria, VA said:
Just to add more about Wayne Johnson aka Tuffy at one time on Mr. Zing &
Tuffy. He was a good studio cameraman who became one of the most laid back
directors at KTUL - no disaster fazed him.
And now, let's hear from the tiger, er, man himself!
(from Guestbook 7) Wayne "Tuffy" Johnson said:
Favorite Tulsa TV show: Mr. Zing and Tuffy, of course
Favorite Tulsa TV personality: Myself
Stupidest local commercial: The Rib Crib starring Tuffy
I am alive and well, still working at Channel 8 in production. Also, Shaggy
Dog (Tom Ledbetter) is alive and well, living the retired life in Canyon
Wayne "Homer" Johnson, taken 5/17/99,
courtesy of Kevin King, KTUL
(and from Guestbook 16) Wayne "Tuffy" Johnson added:
I joined KTUL in 1961 as a cameraman and was promoted to director in 1963.
I did the "Mr. Zing and Tuffy" show for it's entire 7-year run. I was later
promoted to KTUL's production manager. I directed many specials for the station,
including half hour programs on the Dallas Cowboys and James Brown. In 1968,
I received an award of merit for a half-hour traffic safety film, "Learn
to Live", sponsored by the Oklahoma Highway Department. I also worked with
the ABC Network on two "Wide World of Sports" programs.
Wayne "Tuffy" Johnson on KTUL's "Good Day Tulsa", 3/22/2007. Tuffy remembers
working on the show with John Chick and Tom Ledbetter. Color footage of the
show is seen during this interview with D.C. Roberts. DVD courtesy of Jody
McIntyre, executive producer. And now, heerrreeee's Tuffy!
(from GroupBlog 263) Jim Hill said:
Our beloved "Tuffy" is gone.
Wayne Johnson died tonight at Southcrest Hospital in Tulsa, where he had
been in intensive care for several weeks following surgery for colon cancer.
His wife Betty and children were with him.
(from Guestbook 11) Mitch Schauer of L.A.
"Tuffy's a sweet ol' tiger,
he's as sweet as sweet can beeeeeee...
He love little toys
and loves girls and boys
Tuffy's the tiger for meeeeee."
I remember watching Mr. Zing and Tuffy running around during one of their
routines and a small girl wandered out onto the stage. Tuffy accidentally
bumped into the zoo cage mock up and the top fell off, hitting the little
They went to cartoon.
Also, Mr. Zing and Shaggy Dog were wrestling around on one show. Finishing
the skit and heated up from all that activity under the hot lights, Mr. Zing
casually asked, "Boy, it's hot isn't it Shaggy?" I heard a very muffled,
"It sure is."
(from Guestbook 71 ) Jon Glazer said:
I celebrated my 4th birthday on the "Mr. Zing and Tuffy Show", and
COULDN'T have been happier about it! Free school cafeteria-style cups of
ice cream, and, of course, John Chick himself! What could be better?!
About 15 years later, I had the privilege of appearing on "The John Chick
Show". Unfortunately, John had already contracted his disease (MS or
MD, I believe), and another nice gentleman named Jonathan something was hosting
in his place. The FUNNY part was, being an irresponsible 19-year-old musician,
I almost FORGOT the booking!
It was after midnight the DAY OF my scheduled appearance; I was playing
"PONG" (!) at my friend Mark's (a
then-drummer) house with he and bassist Kevin. Suddenly, and thankfully,
my memory jarred me, and I exclaimed aloud "Holy **** - I'M `SPOSED TO BE
ON JOHN CHICK'S SHOW IN 6 HOURS!!!" With Kevin, Mark and our friend Pat on
guitar, (and NO sleep!) we performed JAZZ on the show; I remember "This
Masquerade", George Benson style, "Green Dolphin Street", and our weak effort
at simulating/satirizing country music, the Stones' "Faraway Eyes". The guys
saved my rear at the last minute, and I NEVER forgot the time I ALMOST missed
my appearance on the famous "John Chick Show"!
(from Guestbook 26) Lee Bayley said:
I just saw the picture of John Chick (left) and it reminded me of
what a sweet guy he was. I grew up in Springdale, Arkansas and KRMG was
marginally listenable to us. I remember hearing John (and Joe Knight, Lynn
Higby and others) thinking what a big deal they were (I was 12 and 13). A
couple years later..after I had already started doing part-time teen radio
I was in Tulsa and went to the KRMG studios in the old ballroom building...and
stood in the lobby peering in through the glass. After a few minutes the
announcer came out to say hello and invite me in to the studio....I was literally
blown away....and I spent over an hour in the control room while the announcer
did his show...even explaining to me why he used Kleenex instead of hankies.
I will never forget that time because it really had an effect on me and my
attitude about how to deal with young people interested in radio....I will
always take time for young people. Of course, the KRMG announcer was John
Chick. Years later when I went to work for KAKC one of the first things I
did was call John..then at Channel 8...and we became good friends. Mr. Zing,
I know you are entertaining angels
(from Guestbook 5) Hurst Swiggart said:
John Chick was the creator and producer of Zing and Tuffy and wrote such
endearing songs as "Don't Ever Leave the Yard without Telling Mother". Truly
one of the GREAT talents...Sad that he died so early..he was a really great
(from Guestbook 24) Betty Boyd said:
Even though John Chick has not physically been with us for many years, I
almost never go anywhere that someone doesn't ask about, or comment about,
John Chick. Quite a tribute, I think as most of us are put in folks' short-term
memory box once we are off the tube. But John will be "forever" I am sure.
Tuffy and Shaggy at the Stilwell Strawberry Festival, courtesy of Darrell
"Hello, hello, hello...goodbye, goodbye, goodbye...
we'll see you all tomorrow just as sure as pumpkin pie!
"We love to say hello. We hate to say good-bye.
And so we say hello. When we mean good-bye."
(Mr. Zing and Tuffy's closing theme)
"The In Sound From Way Out" by French composers/performers Gershon
Kingsley and Jean-Jacques Perrey was the electronic music used on "Mr.
Zing and Tuffy" and "Uncle Zeb's Cartoon Camp". Click the album
cover to hear RealPlayer samples of the music. The song, "Barnyard in Orbit",
is one I particularly remember.
(Also see the Gift Shop for a compilation, "The
Essential Kingsley and Perrey" which contains this music, plus another album
for the same price.)