TV Icon Benny Carle dies at 89
Carle, broadcasting pioneer and popular TV entertainer, passed away on October 2nd
at his home in Florence, Alabama after a brief illness. He was 89.
a career that spanned eight decades, Carle helped shape the radio and television
industry during its “Golden Era”, then remained active in ownership until
his retirement a few years ago.
in the late 40s, Carle began on radio, then moved to TV, hosting many shows
including Western Theater, Circle Six Ranch, and The Benny Carle
Show, which ran
uninterrupted for 30 years. He
hosted a live children’s TV show each afternoon from 1948 -65 on Birmingham
Channels 13 and 6 and from 1965 -75 on Channels 23, 31 and 48 in Decatur and
the early days when TV was all live, Carle
gained notoriety as the first to perform on live camera, and the first to
entertain large groups of children each day as live guests on the shows,
totalling over 400,000. Benny’s obvious love for children won him the
admiration and loyalty of thousands of Alabama families.
As his popularity grew throughout the South his method and style were
copied by TV stations all over America. Among his acting credits- an early
60’s Hollywood role as the telegraph operator in TV’s The Rifleman
series starring Chuck Connors. A tireless fundraiser, he helped raise millions
for Cerebral Palsy and other diseases by hosting live broadcast telethons
annually, and he travelled the state doing public appearances, Golden Flake
Auctions, Benny Bucks Auctions, and Coo Coo Pon Caravan
campaigns to help children in need.
1965 Benny became part owner and manager of TV23 in Decatur, changed the Channel
to 48 and moved the station to Huntsville. He sold that facility and moved to
Florence in 1977 to begin WBCF-AM/FM/TV. The family-owned facilities are
operated by his son, Benji Carle.
was a World War Two veteran of the US Merchant Marines and held combat ribbons
for both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres of hostilities, including the D-Day
Invasion of Normandy and the VJ-Day surrender of Japan.
He was born, raised and educated in Birmingham, Alabama. He attended
Ullman and Glen Iris grade schools, Ramsay High school and Birmingham Southern
College. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Patricia and three sons, Benji, Jay and Jim.
Thanks for the memories!
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