Though he’s now a realtor in Palm Beach, Florida; many feel that Clubhouse 22, located in Dayton is Malcolm MacLeod’s most valuable property.
Created by MacLeod, Clubhouse 22 was visited by viewers of all ages while airing as an afternoon children’s show on WKEF-TV (channel 22). MacLeod served as host of the show, which featured stand-up comedy, cartoons, celebrity guests and more, from 1970 to 1974.
MacLeod was not only the main face of Clubhouse 22, but he was involved in every aspect of the show and fully responsible for it reaching the airwaves. “When I started Clubhouse 22 I was the only one in the studio. TV-22 was a small station with an even smaller budget, so I didn’t even have a cameraman in the studio originally. Prior to going on the air I would sweep the floors, light the lights, and lock down two camera shots: a close-up and a wide shot. I would then go stand in front of the cameras. When the red light came on next to the studio monitor I knew that I was on the air,” said MacLeod.
The development of Clubhouse 22 was an emergency when towards the end of 1969, WKEF became aware that effective on January 1 they would be losing their affiliation with the ABC network and would have to develop their own programming as independent TV station. MacLeod, an anchor on the network, formed a plan for a children’s show. Before cable, WKEF was a UHF station up again two VHF stations and another UHF. UHF stations had weaker signals than the VHF. “My thought was that children would watch a poor signal as long as they liked the programming. And since it was my idea and we didn’t have much time to put a show together, I became the host. In the first rating books in the Spring of 1970, based upon the success of our children’s programming, we became the #1 rated independent UHF television station in the country,” he said.
Fans of Clubhouse 22 will also remember Duffy the Dog. Duffy was the result of a suggestion from Ray George, a TV 22 salesman, to include a costumed character for Malcolm to have someone to play off of. It had to be a costumed character because there wasn’t a budget for another cast member. “By getting a costumed character that didn’t speak I could use different people at the TV station to play Duffy the Dog. I would use whoever at the studio I could talk into playing Duffy each day. That’s why Duffy the Dog would be five feet tall one day and six feet tall the next. But kids didn’t notice the height difference. At least I don’t think they did. Eventually, I was able to hire a full-time assistant who also played Duffy the Dog,” said MacLeod.
Another popular character was Stan the Man, a puppet played by Kurt McGlocklin. Stan always wore a hockey jersey because McGlocklin loved to play hockey, which was just one example of how much they reflected one another. “The voice, the humor, the crazy antics of Stan the Man were all just an extension of Kurt. You never knew what to expect with Stan the Man because you never knew what to expect from Kurt,” said MacLeod. McGlocklin passed away in January of 2014.
Out of all the famous guests that visited Clubhouse 22, MacLeod named Soupy Sales as among his favorite, for three reasons. “Number one, he got the show; Number two, he was very funny, and Number 3, he was a very nice guy. What do I mean by, “He got the show?” Soupy understood that a show like Clubhouse 22 reached all kinds of people, kindergarten kids, grade-school kids, high school kids, college kids, factory workers, moms and more. And, he understood the positive impact we could have on our viewers by bringing some sunshine into their lives every afternoon.”
In 1974, MacLeod accepted a position with WHIO-TV which caused him to leave Clubhouse 22, which was taken over by Joe Smith. MacLeod would go on to host some shows in Chicago and New York for ABC, but declined the opportunity to advance into a career in broadcasting. He instead chose to finish law school and pursue other interests. “My TV experiences in Dayton were just that, experiences. And, I felt that there were lots of other things to experience in life, and I have,” he said. “Some people obviously find it hard to leave the ‘lights, camera, action,’ but for me it was easy.”
A chief interest was real estate, which MacLeod worked in Ohio and Philadelphia, before moving to Florida. He enjoys the freedom to set his own goals, schedule, and location.
In addition to having some friends and family in Dayton, MacLeod is on the Board of the Packard Museum so comes back at least once a year for the Annual Packard Winter Weekend event. He’s a big fan of University of Dayton basketball and follows the team. MacLeod’s high school basketball coach was the former Athletic Director of UD, Tom Frericks and his high school freshman basketball coach was former UD coach Don Donoher. Whenever MacLeod is back in town, he likes to try and eat at the Coldwater Café in Tipp City and at The Pine Club in Dayton.
Like to its former viewers, Clubhouse 22 brings back many warm memories to MacLeod, and is always flattered to hear from those who enjoyed the show. “My fifteen minutes of fame seems to have stood the test of time, and for that I am grateful,” he said.
Visit MacLeod's website: "Once upon a time in the land of television".
Mike Woody is a life long resident of Dayton, and has a passion for writing, which is good because he doesn't excel at much of anything else, except eating.