IF YOU grew up in Southern California as a Baby Boomer, or on the very tail of that designation, you’ll remember Sheriff John. The kindly be-starred fellow who led the “Lunch Brigade” on KTTV Channel 11 and who would, if you were lucky enough, sing his signature celebratory song “Put Another Candle on My Birthday Cake” and embroider your name within it.
All of us hoped he’d mention us on our big day and even if he didn’t, it felt like he would have if he had had enough time — L.A. was such a big place with so many folks to remember . . .
We had a host of television hosts in the Southland — from Hobo Kelley to Miss Mary Ann on Romper Room — but there was something straight-forward about Sheriff John that was different and he was there until the last round-up in 1970 when the called him in, cancelled the show.
And though Rovick years later moved to Phoenix, the Sheriff and the show lived on. Natives from around these parts sing lines from the birthday song as some sort of verfication — we were here, that existed, and it seemed to be a simpler place to navigate — but “careful when you crossed.”
The Sheriff would like that.
Kevin Roderick over at L.A. Observed has a lovely remembrance of “the Sheriff”
And below you’ll find a tribute video that Kevin also posted that gives you a sense of the show — from cartoons to civics lessons with a smattering of safety rules.
Bye for now, Sheriff John….
And below, another signature song: “Laugh and Be Happy”
** and this in — Robert Lloyd’s eloquent remembrance in the L.A. Times