Talk Back: Remembering 'Sheriff John' Rovick
"Come on now, laugh and be happy and the world will laugh with you," “Sheriff John" Rovick would sing at the beginning of his children’s TV show, which aired in Los Angeles throughout the 1950s and ‘60s.
Rovick would then lead his young viewers in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
The beloved TV show host, who donned a sheriff’s hat, khaki uniform and badge to play Sheriff John on “Cartoon Time,” died Saturday morning in Boise, Idaho. He was 93.
A Toledo, Ohio, native who launched his broadcasting career in radio, Rovick was a newly hired staff announcer at KTTV-TV Channel 11 when the Los Angeles station first went on the air in 1949.
In 1952, after KTTV acquired a batch of old cartoons and was searching for someone to host a daily cartoon show for children at 5:30 p.m., Rovick came up with a novel idea: Sheriff John.
Rovick knew longtime Los Angeles County Sheriff Gene Biscailuz, "and I had been an honorary sheriff before I started the show because I was interested in law enforcement work," he told The Times in 2008.
"Cartoon Time" with Sheriff John became an immediate hit with young viewers, earning an Emmy Award in 1953 for children's program.
"We talked a lot about safety, courtesy, manners and things like that," Rovick told the Idaho Statesman in 2005. "We often had firemen or police officers as guests, and I'd warn the kids not to do things like play in the street or get into refrigerators or play with matches."
From the start, Rovick received encouraging mail from parents, who extended their gratitude for his lessons in manners, safety and patriotism.
"The kids always came first," he said in the 2005 interview. "To some of them, I was a father figure. That was the best thing about being Sheriff John. A lot of those kids loved me."
— Dennis McLellan
Photo Credit: Rothschild Photo / KTTV