The son of a jazz bandleader and arranger, Val McCann, comic actor Chuck McCann began his show business career as a child actor on a New York City based radio show. He would later appear on radio show re-creations that were written, produced and recorded by actor/scriptwriter and radio/TV historian, Ron Lackman. The radio show re-creations were done for local NYC high schools.
During the late 1940's and into the 1950's, he performed a stand up act consisting of pantomimes, impressions, songs and jokes at numerous New York City, Long Island and New Jersey nightclubs. He would also perform his act on many well-known TV variety shows. McCann took a brief hiatus from nightclub and TV work to study drama stage and theater craft with The Pasadena Playhouse. He appeared in many well-known Shakespearean plays, including a memorable performance in Twelfth Night
as Sir Toby Belch. He returned to New York City where he continued to perform in the clubs and on TV variety shows.
In 1950 he met puppeteer, Paul Ashley
, who hired McCann as his assistant. From 1950 to 1967, McCann and Ashley performed with their puppets on several TV shows. McCann also hosted the following local TV comedy/variety puppet shows:
- The Puppet Hotel
for WNTA TV Ch. 13 in Newark, New Jersey/New York City,
- Laurel & Hardy & Chuck!"
- Let's Have Fun!"
for WPIX TV Ch. 11 in New York City,
- The Chuck McCann Show
for WPIX TV Ch. 11 and WNEW TV Ch. 5 in New York City,
- The Great Bombo's Magic Cartoon Circus Lunchtime Show
- Chuck McCann's Laurel & Hardy Show
for WNEW TV Ch. 5 in New York City,
- LBS Children's Theater (syndicated) and
- Chuck McCann's Fun Stuff!
for KHJ TV Ch. 9 in Hollywood, California.
McCann would also do character parts on numerous TV series and movies without the puppets and do voiceovers for radio/TV commercials and for movie and TV cartoon series. He provided a serious acting performance in the movie, Heart is a Lonely Hunter
(1968). In 1971 he collaborated with his friend, Harry Hurwitz
, in the movie, The Projectionist
. McCann has appeared in many TV commercials impersonating comic legend, Oliver Hardy
. He also cut two comedy recordings, The First Family
with Vaughn Meader
and the late Bob McFadden
and Sing Along With Jack
In 1964, McCann, along with Orson Bean
, film/theater historians, John McCabe and Al Kilgore, and L&H buff, John Municino, founded "The Sons Of The Desert", a Laurel & Hardy Film Appreciation club that screened and honored the work of the beloved movie comedy team. He would appear at the early meetings of the club and perform at two of the organization’s conventions, first in Los Angeles, California in 1980 and again at The Sons Convention in New York City in 1994.
McCann continues to do voiceovers for cartoons and commercials and he has recently appeared in a two-man stage show with Tim Conway.