Best Local Boy Gone to Heaven (2006)

Charles "Skipper Chuck" Zink

This past December, when Chuck Zink quietly entered a nursing home after a major stroke, native South Floridians spread the news that our good friend was dying. To call The Skipper Chuck Show popular would be an understatement. From 1957 to 1979, every youngster in town wanted to appear on it. The production seemed a cheery reprieve from the often scary and confusing world that adults inhabited -- when Zink bravely ordered desegregation, it became a bellwether. No right-minded kid could forget the cheery Popeye's Playhouse at the end of a maze of dark hallways in that giant box where WTVJ shot the show. During his long career, Zink was also an announcer for The Jackie Gleason Show and the Miss Universe Pageant. His day jobs included weatherman and radio personality, and he earned a bronze star for bravery during World War II, but it was as host of a seemingly simple kiddie show that he made a lasting and positive impression on the world. When he passed away this past January, fans found it easy to lift their hands in the Skipper's trademark three-fingered gesture and wish Zink "peace, love, and happiness" one last time.


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