The Ramblin' Rod Show

Ramblin' Rod Anders (November 26, 1933 – May 11, 2002), born Rodney Carl Andersen, was the host of The Ramblin' Rod Show, a morning children's program, from 1964 until his retirement on August 8, 1997. The Portland, Oregon KPTV host was well known locally for his iconic, button-covered sweater, which he wore on air. He is also said to have been a source of inspiration for Krusty the Clown, a character on the long-running, animated sitcom The Simpsons.

Anders grew up in Multnomah County, Oregon. He began his career in radio broadcasting in the 1950s, singing and playing music on Saturday mornings for Tillamook radio station KTIL. He stayed with KTIL until he was drafted into the armed forces, where he served as a radio repairman. When his tenure was up, he returned to radio, filling on-air positions at KFLW, KXL, and KPOJ.

While working for KPOJ, Anders heard of an opening for a children's show called Popeye's Pier 12 on KPTV. He replaced Bob Adkins (better known as "Addie Bobkins") in Popeye's Pier 12. In the early 1970s Popeye's Pier 12 was renamed the Ramblin' Rod Show.

By the late 1970s Anders had begun to put message buttons on his cardigan, all of which were given to him by adoring fans. Within a few years, most of his cardigan was covered in buttons. Over the years, he collected these buttons, and stored them in a hanger. At the time of his death, Anders had collected over 25,000 buttons from his guests.

Each year, Anders helped anchor the KPTV local coverage of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon and the Easter Seals Telethon. He also was the in-house studio announcer for KPTV for many years.

In his retirement, Anders enjoyed flying and spending time with his family. He died in May 2002 of a stroke, suffered while making a personal appearance at a Portland store. Years after his death, his fanbase continues to pay tribute to him in the form of websites, blog posts and a Facebook page. In autumn of 2011, the Fizz Soda and Candy Shop, located in Portland, added a "shrine" to Anders.

The show highlighted Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera and Popeye cartoons and also hosted a "smile contest," featuring the grade school audience as contestants. Anders began each show by arriving on the set on a mobile tug-boat prop. The series, originally entitled "Popeye's Pier 12", had several marine-themed characters but they were phased out over time.

The set of "The Ramblin' Rod Show" remained simple throughout its tenure. Anders introduced each guest, spoke with them, celebrated birthdays, played old cartoons, and hosted smile contests. In the early years, he played guitar and had a skunk puppet named Petunia, which he phased out in later years.

Smile contest winners and children celebrating their birthdays were entitled to free Pop Shoppe soda.

Krusty the Clown Inspiration
A decades-old rumor claims that Anders inspired Matt Groening to create the character Krusty the Clown, the bitter host of a fictional children's program on The Simpsons. Groening, who grew up in Portland, was likely aware of Anders' show on KPTV. Although, in interviews, Groening has mentioned that Anders' predecessor on KPTV, a clown named Rusty Nails, was the muse for Krusty.