Lunch With Casey

Remembering Casey Jones and his pal Roundhouse

Memories of Lunch with Casey 1

Craig Lang visits the set…

That was a very long time ago and I was extremely young; five, I think. I remember going to the Calhoun Beach Hotel, where the studios were at that time. Dad had some kind of “in” there and in later years would, on many occasions, get us studio tickets to see All Star Wrestling with Vern Gagne. On entering the studio, I wondered where his train was. It was just a plywood box with a bench inside and a mounted stick. The dials were painted on. My illusions of TV magic were forever shattered. It was rather like finding out there was no Santa Claus. (Hey, I was extremely young.) I also found out that Casey was NOT a member of the clean plate club. He only took a couple of bites of his own sandwich. I distinctly recall, on leaving the building, seeing a train on a set of tracks nearby and asking if it was Casey’s. My parents confirmed it was his. Ah, now it started to make sense; the train didn’t fit in the studio, so he parked it outside and used the box while he was on TV.

Mark Luebker remembers Casey

I’ve often wondered why Roger Awsumb or some of the folks from the old WTCN don’t put together a tape (or better yet, a series of tapes) from the show, and market it to people like us, who grew up having lunch with Casey (“everyday, Monday through Saturday at Noo-oon!”) and would like to wallow in a little nostalgia from time to time.

As I recall, Casey tried to make a go of it over on Channel 9 (KMSP) for a while, but he never really caught on there.

He ought to explore the nostalgia market a little. I bet there are a lot of folks like us who have fond memories of the guy and would still like to meet him. And I think he could find a small market for videos of his old shows, particularly the lip-synched musical bits, assuming he could clear the rights to use them.

I remember some of them–can you add to this list?

  • “Onions”
  • “On Top of Spaghetti”
  • “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh” (Camp Grenada)
  • “Walkin’ in my Winter Underwear”
  • “The Wonderful Toy” (I think that’s the title, but I’m not sure. It had the lyric, “It went ‘zing’ when it moved, ‘bop’ when it stopped, ‘whirr’ when it stood still; I never knew just what it was, and I guess I never will.”)

Then there was the Roundhouse Jimmy Durante imitation, the Casey, Jr. puppet, and “Oswald” (Roundhouse’s upside-down face character).

I met him once when I was in my teens (I can’t even remember where, although it must have been out in Stillwater somewhere) and I got a couple of postcards with photos of Casey and Roundhouse, which I still have stashed in one of my boxes of memorabilia somewhere.

The first show that I remember Casey doing in the early sixties, maybe even before the lunch show. It also had a studio audience, was on in the afternoon, and had an electric train set-up somewhere on the set. If I’m remembering right, it disappeared when the lunch show started.

John Bittner remembers Casey:

I used to watch Casey. I would run home from school every day for lunch and watch. I would have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and potato chips and drink cool-aid and finish it off with a cookie.

I remember he had a grandma that only served one dish which was beans, and no matter what they did, they could not get her to serve anything but beans. Wasn’t her name “Granny Lumpit”?

The morning show was called “Wake up with Casey and Roundhouse”. I remember that a mouse use to come out and wake up and with some difficulty roll up a window shade to start the show. It was very cute!

I remember that Roundhouse Rodney actually lived in a round house. He was very much into physical fitness and also pushed “Wheat Germ” which he would put onto his peanut butter sandwiches. Every time I see it in the grocery store I think of him. He also use to push Mountain Dew soda pop. He used to yell “Yaaaaaaaaahooooooo Mountain Dew!” Roundhouse Rodney made his hat by forming it over a football I remember he showed that one time.

I remember once there was a movie premiere at the Bloomington SouthTown theater for “The Wrestlers” or something like that, mostly I remember the crusher and Verne Gange, but I remember that Mel Jass hosted it and some of the “stars” were screaming that they wanted to dedicate the movie to Roundhouse Rodney because he promoted good health and physical fitness for a sound body, sound mind.

It would be nice if someone would put up the lyrics to those songs. “I don’t like shoes that pinch your toes, or people who would squirt you with the garden hose , but oooooooh, I Love Onions!”

I remember when I was 6 our cubscout troop went to actually be on the Popeye and Pete show. Some of the scouts put their scarfs up and Pete would pull on them like they were a pony tail. That was funny! It was my birthday so I got a toy. It was some kind of game where you hop these little cages around a board and if you land on an animal you turn the cage and the animal pops into the air, and I think you were supposed to catch it, but that is all I can recall of that.

Frank Andrews remembers Casey

Back when I was in grade school I would run the three blocks from Van Buren Elementary to my house to have lunch with Casey and Roundhouse. I would impatiently sit through the last ten minutes of so of “The Galloping Gourmet” and then settle down with my cheese sandwich and cup of Campbell’s Tomato Soup as Lunch With Casey began.

Summer vacation was even better ( but of course! ) Not only did I make sure to be indoors every week day to share lunch with my favorite engineer but I always made sure to stay tuned for the Mel Jass Matinee Movie in the hopes they’d be showing a MONSTER MOVIE!!

Five or six years ago at Title Wave Music and Video I came across a video of The Best of Casey Jones. I seem to remember it was an hour long, contained a lot of classic bits– including “Winter Underwear” and cost something like ten bucks. Unfortunately I never picked it up– a decision I’m kicking myself over to this day. Title Wave went out of business and I’ve never seen the tape anywhere else. I’m always looking, though!

M. Lundeen remembers Casey

I always watched Casey and Roundhouse every day “Monday Through Saturday at Noon…”. Once Casey and Roundhouse came to our school to entertain. Kids had the choice of going to the science fair or going to the gym to watch the show. Guess where 95% of the student body went? It was so odd to see them in “color” as they only existed in a black and white TV world at that time. Then they started broadcasting their cartoons in color and they followed soon with an all color show.

I remember many of the products they endorsed ended up in our toy chest or our kitchen. Beep juice drink and Mickey Banana Flips spring to mind. Superballs and Schwinn bicycles were also very popular thanks to their selling zeal. Some of the songs I remember them doing on the show were “The Yellow Rose of Texas” (with Casey playing drums in a pig mask), “Catch a Falling Star and Put it in Your Pocket” by the irrepressibly bad Mrs. Miller, and “I Can’t Dance” by Alan Sherman.

Casey and Roundhouse didn’t have a lot of merchandising attached to them, personally. They did have some joke books published. We used to have one but I’m sure it fell by the wayside many years ago. (Drat!) I remember it had a big selection of elephant jokes.

Whenever I want to recreate the that time in my life when I ran home from school to watch Lunch with Casey or Grandma Lumpitt’s Boarding House (she used to take the dusty old book from the dusty old book shelf) all I have to do is make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a bowl of chicken noodle soup and watch a Herman and Catnip cartoon. It was a wonderful show with wonderful folks who had a great sense of humor. (Does anybody else recall some of the odd names that used to pop up on the birthday list from time to time?)

Thanks Casey for all the fun!

Colleen (Freundschuh) Ziwicki’s fond memories:

I enjoyed Lunch with Casey, as did my 6 brothers and sisters, growing up in the 50s and 60s. It was open faced peanut butter sandwiches and milk, and mom let us sit in front of the old black and white Magnavox to watch Lunch With Casey.

I had the privilege of interviewing Casey (Roger Awsumb) a few years ago for the newspaper I work for. He was a DJ at WLKS Radio in Peqout Lakes in the afternoon time slot. He looked older, but still had that famous wide smile. It was kind of neat to meet my childhood hero so many years (too may years) later. He told me about a video of Best of Lunch With Casey. I picked it up, and its got quite a few original clips.

I also remember Hank Meadows who would bring Casey his lunch, Oswald (the scary upside down puppet) and Roundhouse in the pumpkin. Meadows later opened a restaurant, which flopped. I loved “Catch a Falling Star,” and “Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda, Here I am in Camp Granada.” Joe the Cook was his first partner, and then Roundhouse (Dwyer) joined him – he used to be an Icecapade star. They also advertised Yoohoo, a chocolate drink. I remember Felix The Cat cartoons, and Roundhouse playing Lippy Lois, the wind up doll that says 100 Different Things. He always ended by saying So Long, gang!!

Please send us your memories about the Casey Jones show

Updated: March 26, 2013 — 10:31 pm
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