Gus was a grizzly, lovable oldster who drank moonshine while hosting Miner Mike cartoons from a mineshaft. His show ran from 1959 to 1967 and became must-see TV for a whole generation. His cohorts, “Needles,” a smiling syringe, and “Grumbles The Cop,” who always to catch him, lent Graphite Gus a provocative tone and kept him fighting with censors for most of his career.
But the censors usually won. In 1965 he was cited for suggesting kids should drop out of school and “work in the mines.” A year later he was suspended for offering shots of Jim Beam to his pre-teen audience.. And in September of 1967, prompting rumors his brain had gone wet, he unbuttoned his trousers and urinated into his signature Mason jar.
That was the end of Gus’ television career. He tried desperately to mount a comeback, playing stand-up for several years in long-shuttered dives like Rangoon’s in Watersbad and Jake’s Flank in Rilesville, but to no avail. His drinking became worse and in 1971 he was committed to the Poor Farm. He died alone in a straw bed, still clutching his Mason jar.
It was thought, until recently, that FBC destroyed all the Graphite Gus recordings. But they were discovered last year in an empty storeroom at the Poor Farm Family Fun Park behind the Python Toss. And staring July 7th, KRAK will present all – or most – of the series as it was originally aired fifty years ago. But, beware, say KRAK execs. Gus is still as provocative as ever!
Watch Graphite Gus, Tuesdays at 6pm starting July 7th.