The day someone said Cheebye on radio

I only ever listen to the radio while driving, or when one of our friends is hosting a radio show. But this year, the stations (except the lonely non-Mediacorp ones) have been constantly reminding listeners that radio in Singapore is 75 years old.

They’ve been airing radio DJs talking about their favourite radio moments, and one of these clips has Maggie of The Gold Breakfast Show reminiscing about a program for kids in the late 70s and early 80s called “Happy Talk”.

Happy Talk was hosted by ventriloquist Victor Khoo and his puppet Charlee, and every Saturday, thousands of kids tuned in, suspending belief, thinking that Victor Khoo actually bothered to put his hand up Charlee to manipulate him when no one could see him anyway.

They even had a live call-in segment, where kids could win prizes if they answered a simple question correctly. There was no pre-screening of the call-in, and everything was ‘live’.

So on that fateful Saturday, Victor (or Charlee, I don’t remember), asked a six year old boy the question, “What is the female equivalent of a rooster?”

The boy didn’t seem to know the answer, and was umming and ahhing a bit, so Charlee (or Victor) rephrased the question, “If the male chicken called is a cock, what is the female chicken called?”

The boy’s answer was the most triumphant Cheebye I had ever heard. Victor was gobsmacked, and if he had really been operating/manipulating Charlee, the puppet must’ve been slack-jawed in horror.

Happy 75th, Radio Singapore.

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10 thoughts on “The day someone said Cheebye on radio”

  1. I remember the show and listening to “Uncle” Victor and Charlie and I’ve always heard this story about a kid saying cheebye on the air. Pretty sure Bill Cosby got his show idea from that episode.

    Hey remember Romper Room? Yeeeah.

    1. I was always fascinated by the idea of a radio ventriloquist. Uncle Victor right channel, Charlee left channel.

      Just a couple of notches below a Marcel Marceau Radio Show.

  2. I was a huge fan of the show as a kid and always wanted to call in. This is the first time I have heard this story! Hilarious!

  3. I am sure you all know by now that ‘live’ Radio shows then and even now has that 3 seconds delay setup. In other words, what was uttered ‘live’ if unsuitable, could and can be censored. Try calling 91.3FM for a live call in today….whilst you listen to the broadcaster talk through your phone, leave your radio set on 91.3FM as well and listen to both simultaneously. You will know what I mean by that 3 second delay.

    Nonetheless, I thought the story circulating is very unique and boy, it sure did help to increase listenership because, everyone was hoping to hear another such similar repeat.

    Guess Victor and Charlee got even more famous because of the story.

  4. R.I.P. victor & Charlie – your “what is the female of a cock” is infamous! This was in the days without the minute delay system.

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