Chubby Checker’s Philly past

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    Chubby Checker visits WHYY studios to speak with NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller. (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

    Chubby Checker visits WHYY studios to speak with NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller. (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

    Fifty-five years after his cover of the Hank Ballard tune, “The Twist” went to number one, Chubby checker is still making music, still touring, and still calls the Philadelphia area home. Chubby joined Dave Heller on Newsworks Tonight to talk about it all. 

    Turns out the Chubby in Chubby Checker comes straight from Philadelphia’s 9th Street Market. While working at a produce stand as a kid, Chubby Checker, then Ernest Evans, was gifted the name by his boss.

    “He wanted to call me Chubby. I said my name is Ernset, and he said, ‘You wanna work here?’ I looked at him and my little eyes popped open and said ‘Yes, sir.’ I said, ‘My name is Chubby, thank you.”

    And the Checker? Straight from Dick Clark’s wife, who compared Chubby’s name to the Fats in Fats Domino, and gave him his own board game inspired surname.

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