Hello, everyone. Today I will be writing about a television celebrity that wasn’t human but did endear our hearts in the Chicagoland area. Cuddly Dudley was a stuffed cocker spaniel animal doll. It was used as a promotional subscription sales item for The Chicago Tribune in the mid-1960s. When you subscribed to the newspaper for a certain amount of time, you would have received the doll for free. It was a tremendous success, and it lasted for a few years.
Cuddly Dudley was a beautiful toy for children in the Chicagoland area.
The dog came equipped with a cardboard dog house, automobile, locomotive, and Super Jet in box form. The instructions for assembling the toys were on the boxes, with Cuddly Dudley’s name on them. They were very colorful and eye-catching. It was a perfect Christmas gift for thousands of children in Chicago. I never own one because I only remembered him from The Ray Rayner Show, which aired Monday through Friday on WGN-TV Channel 9.
The first time I saw Cuddly Dudley was, of course, on The Ray Rayner Show. Ray Rayner and Cuddly Dudley appear in a segment weekly on Fridays near the end of the show, for the last 10–15 minutes. Ray would begin singing “The Cuddly Dudley Song” (to the music of “The Whistler and His Dog” by Arthur Pryor) and walk over to Cuddly’s doghouse and rang his doorbell. Cuddly answered the door, say hello to Ray, and would tell him recent events in his life. They were humorous at times. Next, Cuddly would proceed to read jokes and display artwork submitted by local Chicago children. The big draw was getting one’s name mentioned on-air, as Cuddly would always namedrop each submitter’s name before the joke/artwork was read/shown. Knock-knock jokes were a recurring theme and, Ray would give a forced laugh with Cuddly Dudley with each one on the show. That was the funniest thing I ever saw on the show. I loved it!
Here are the lyrics to the Cuddly Dudley song:
We’re off to Cuddly Dudley’s house he’s cute as he can be. With his fur of gold and his nose so cold, he’s cuddly as can be. He’s got riddles and jokes, and the fun that he pokes is never aimed at me. Here’s the place that he lives, and the name that he gives is Cuddly.
Roy Brown, who performed as Cooky The Clown on Bozo’s Circus, was the voice and puppeteer of Cuddly Dudley. Cuddly also had a girlfriend named Clairese. I don’t remember seeing her on the show, but a stuffed animal doll of Clairese was available to the public. Those are very rare. There were two stories published in The Chicago Tribune Newspaper in 1967 and 1968 that featured Cuddy Dudley. The first one was How Cuddly Dudley Saved The Runaway Christmas Train. The second one was How Cuddly Dudley Rescued Santa Claus. They were extremely popular during the holiday season. The puppet and his doghouse are part of the collection of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.
Cuddly Dudley was such a lovable character. When we were children, we genuinely enjoyed the countless hours of entertainment he gave us. We are very fortunate to have him in our lives that he’s still fondly remembered today. Thank you. Pete Kastanes. Admin for Vanished Chicagoland Facebook Page.