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Song Details
Rank this week: 7 (↑27)
Duration: 2:11 
Release Date: 1952  (sfjpk30) 
Lyrics By: Lee Penny/John Novick (BidoLitos) 
Music By: Lee Penny/John Novick (BidoLitos) 
Produced By:
Released By: Imperial (Stavro Arrgolus) 
Published By: EMI Unart Catalog Inc. (Stavro Arrgolus) 
Licensing: BMI  #836826 (Stavro Arrgolus) 
Song Lyrics:
John Rovick might be better known to countless fans that grew up in the Los Angeles area as KTTV's Sheriff John might. For eighteen years, "Sheriff John" Rovick captured the hearts of many LA youngsters.

"Sheriff John's Lunch Brigade" and his afternoon show "Sheriff John's Cartoon Time" premiered in 1952 on KTTV and both were highly successful. The afternoon show being extremely popular, that it attracted more viewers than all the other programs during the same time period added together. The same year (1952) he won an Emmy Award for Best Children's Program and five other nominations. Not to mention a host of other awards from the Los Angeles Police and Fire Departments, City and County schools, and the Office of the Mayor among others.

1998 found Sheriff John back at the Emmy awards. Introduced by Michael Richards (Kramer of "Seinfeld" fame) as one of his young influences as a kid. He gave a touching speech that spoke of a true Sheriff John fan (complete with his own badge!).

There are several staples to the Sheriff John experience and not just the "Crusader Rabbit" and "Porky Pig" cartoons that were shown. In between cartoons, Sheriff John impressed upon the minds of his young viewers the importance of brushing their teeth, never talking to or excepting rides from strangers, and minding their parents. He spoke a warm fatherly manner, without a condescending tone spoken to his young audience. Kid's would send in the tips and pointers, along with their photos to be put up on Sheriff John's bulletin board. Later, Mr. Rovick would say that he remembered watching the kids grow up, as they would send in their picture year after year.

Probably one of the best remembered things about "Sheriff John's Lunch Brigade" would be the carousel cake that would spin around as Sheriff John asked you to sing the "Birthday Cake Polka". If you joined his club or attended his show you would likely receive your own Sheriff John badge.

According to an early KTTV press release, Sheriff John's Fun Brigade was "dedicated to chasing gloom and creating happy, smiling youngsters all over Southern California" with contests and prizes and his theme song "Laugh and Be Happy".

On the 1984 television show "Weekday Heroes" Sheriff John told a particularly moving story about a young fan that was dying. The mother wrote in several months after the death of her child to tell him what a comfort he was to her son in his last days. The little boy was in a lot of pain, the boy would ask them not to be sad and that they should sing "Laugh and Be Happy" which they would do. The mother said that he got so much joy from Sheriff John that they played "Laugh and Be Happy" at her son's funeral. (Tears well up for Mr. Rovick as he retells this touching story).

Look for a quickie Sheriff John mention on an episode of "Gilligan's Island", where Mary Ann's on shore boyfriend dumps her for a mainland mainstay (another girl) and the guys on the island try to comfort her. It's just a short mention with Gilligan calling the Skipper "Sheriff John". But it just goes to show how widely his show was watched in the Los Angeles area! I've had the pleasure to meet with Sheriff John both in letter and in person, and he is just what you saw everyday on TV, very likable, kind and considerate man, something that should come as no surprise to any of his fans.

Current Rating 9.0 (2 votes)
Messages about the song: "Laugh And Be Happy"
LanceThruster   Offline  -  Member  -  08-12-09 12:41 PM  -  13 years ago

I remember one New Year's Day seeing a special on LA children's programming personalities (Hobo Kelly, Engineer Bill,...) and John Rovick told a very touching story about a letter written by a mom of a child with leukemia. The mom was bathing her son and started to cry because she could see his body wasting away. The boy told his mom not to cry and that she should "laugh and be happy" like the Sheriff John song said, and he sang it with her there in the tub. He died shortly after but the mom wrote Sheriff John to thank him and tell him how much joy he brought her child during his too short life.

Yeah, his cartoons were pretty awful (though a novelty in and of themselves for that reason), but he had the ability to connect with children in a way that seems pretty much a lost art today. It is similar to a story Mr. Rogers told where an adult approach him to thank him for being his friend. He grew up in an abusive household, feeling alone and unloved, and it meant a lot to him to have Fred Rogers say he was his friend and to stell him "I like you just the way you are."

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