1 9 5 4 – 1 9 5 5 (USA)
26 x 30 minute episodes
Based upon the comic strip character created by Hammond E. “Ham” Fisher in 1921, the very moral, honest, kind-hearted, somewhat naive boxing champion Joe Palooka briefly came to television in this very low-budget syndicated comedy/drama series during the 1954-1955 season.
Joe Palooka was portrayed by an actor named Joe Kirkwood Jr who also co-produced the series. Kirkwood was already very familiar with the character as he had portrayed Palooka in a series of films beginning in 1946.
Joe had a patient, understanding society girlfriend – the lovely Ann Howe (Cathy Downs) – and a manager named “Knobby” Walsh (Sid Tomack in the first 13 episodes, and Luis Van Rooten in the rest).
Joe’s trainer, Clyde, was played by boxing great “Slapsie” Maxie Rosenbloom.
A young Charles Bronson (still using his real name Charles Buchinski) appeared in a few episodes as Eddie Crane.
Joe Palooka was one of the most popular comic strip characters of the day and this led to a series of Palooka products such as watches, board games, and lunchboxes.
Joe Kirkwood received a special award from the Honor League of New York’s Police Department for his portrayal of Joe Palooka on television, for which a special unaired segment of the show was filmed.
Joe Kirkwood Jr
Sid Tomack (1)
Luis Van Rooten (2)
“Slapsie” Maxie Rosenbloom
Charles Buchinski (Bronson)