Published Date: July 9, 2016

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Finland Calling



A lively autobiography by the host of television’s longest-running variety program.

For many, Carl Pellonpaa has been an icon in both America and Finland as the host of the 50-year-old “Finland Calling” television program.

But there are other facts of Carl’s life that his fans will find fascinating. Born on the onset of the Great Depression in Ishpeming, a hard scrabble iron mining town in Upper Michigan, Carl shared close quarters in a drafty old house with his parents and three siblings. As a youngster, sports were his passion. He became an accomplished ski jumper, and his fastball was so extraordinary that in his teens he attracted the attention of the major league Boston Braves. Fresh out of high school, 17-year-old Carl got a job as a radio announcer, often struggling with words he had never seen or heard before. Before and after his military stint in Korea in the early 50’s, he labored underground in local iron mines. In 1961 he landed a job in television. Like radio, early television was live, and on-air mistakes weren’t accecptable.

But blunders happened, and over the years Carl experienced them all – some embarrassing, some hilarious. In March, 1962, Carl and Eugene Sinervo, the TV station’s marketing director, were tasked to come up with a Finnish Language variety program for television. The two decided to call the program “Finland Calling.” The rest is history.

The book is the story of Carl Pellonpaa’s life. But it should be mentioned that he’s not through with it yet.


“One of Michigan’s all-time favorite personalities is a fascinating story-teller as well-from his Great Depression boyhood to his major league baseball prospects, to his career on television, Don’t miss this one!”

-Larry Chabot, author of “The U.P. Goes to War” and “Saving Our Sons.”

“In this book we’ve learned the story of “Finland Calling,” but also the story of great man-a real friendship ambassador between Finland and the United States. Thank you, Carl!”

-Markuu Kauppinen, Finnish Ambassador


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