Jess Schooley is seen on the extreme right
Jess Schooley was born in 1924 in Moosic, Pa.(between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre), graduated from Moosic High School and moved to Philadelphia after a stint in the Marine Corps. Working in a Philco Televison factory gave Jess the itch to be in the other side of the TV business.
He had a long and award-winning career as a stage manager at WCAU-TV, beginning in 1950 as a "roustabout" for the Big Top circus program which originated from Philadelphia and broadcast live on the CBS Television Network.
Jess participated in virtually every type of network and local broadcast to originate from the Philadelphia television station up until his retirement in 1988, from the live daily western Action in the Afternoon, to countless newscasts and Eagles games.
The late Frank L. Rizzo, when he was mayor of Philadelphia, gave Schooley an award for his work in covering the Bicentennial celebration events in 1976. TV personality Bill Boggs, film director Richard Lester and TV sports producer Tony Verna are among many distinguished WCAU alumni who launched their careers cuing performers and constructing sets under his supervision.
After he retired, Jess was a volunteer driver for the Meals on Wheels program and was active with the Bristol Township Senior Citizens; his wife served as president of that group.
An avid golfer, Schooley sometimes hit the links with WCAU-TV news personality Gene Crane. "He was one of the early pioneers in this business," Crane said. "He was here in the late '40s and early '50s when WCAU was doing network feeds for CBS with programs like Big Top and Action in the Afternoon. As for golfing, he was a very pleasant man to be with.”
He became one of the first residents of a “new” housing development called “Levittown” living there for four decades. Jess Schooley passed away in August of 1993.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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