"Welcome to my home!" —Boneless Chuck
C huck has received letters from people around the world for over 30 years. I am constantly amazed at the effect he has and how people relate to him. These letters always make me cry and be proud.
Read them and you'll see why Chuck is my proudest creation.
LETTER 1. "I Want My Boneless Chuck!"
"Dear Mr. Sale, I can't possibly thank you enough for your enchanting offer to send me one of your very own Boneless Chucks. I have relentlessly scoured New York City for him, and although I have gone virtually everywhere and would pay virtually anything to get him—but it's been to no avail. All that's happened is that I'm now aware of many odd, campy, or kitschy places I would've otherwise ignored unto death. But, no Chuck -- none. So you can imagine how eagerly I am hanging on to the daily mail delivery, which any moment now will yield up my heart's desire.
I don't have to explain to you why a middle-aged woman in possession of most of her marbles is so determined on a bean bag doll. But, to call Chuck a bean bag doll is like calling Charles Manson and irritable person. Oh, Chuck -- so huggable, so endearing, such a little soother of ruffled feelings and inspirer of parental, protective, love. He vaguely reminds me, vaguely, of my second son when he was small, who looked like a sweet goofus and melted all hearts, including mine. But he grew up, and now I look forward to having a Boneless of my own. Thanks to you." —Judith Dumford, NY, NY.
LETTER 2. "You Saved My Family!"
In response to the previous letter from Judith's daughter, Hilary. (NY Times Magazine Editor)
"Mr. Sale, I can't possibly thank you enough for giving my mother one of the few remaining existent Boneless Chucks. This is more generous than you know. You are upgrading my life immeasurably, which has been unbearable ever since my mother started mercilessly pleading with me for mine.
Now I understand that she is getting on inyears (as they say) and that to denyher hearts desire in her Sunset Years
(as they say) and that to deny her hearts desire in her Sunset Yeas (as the saying also goes) may put me on the psychiatrist's couch in times to come. Still, I refuse to part with my Boneless.I myself had so snivel and whine for years at the New York Times, where I work before I could coax him from a colleague. Why then should the whining, pleading, wheelding, blandishing, and cajoling of my mother have any effect on me? And why indeed would I part with my dear, darling Boneless, who is so charming and lovable, who sits so reassuringly on my computer at the Times, whom I take down to stroke and croon to when the pressures of daily journalism get too great?
Why aren't they in stores anymore? This problem could have been solved long ago if I could have (gladly) bought her one. And not only for my mother—but for the many people who stop by my desk to ask a question and wind up trying to kidnap Boneless. He is, alas, irresistible. No one can keep his hands off Boneless, including my Mama.
He is, alas, irresistible. No one can keep their hands off Boneless, including my mama.I like my mother or did before all this started. Now you will make it possible for me to like her again, as I presume that having a Boneless of her own will make her cease and desist bugging me for mine." —Yours gratefully, Hilary Shanahan, Editor of NY Times Magazine Section
LETTER 3: "In Memory of Michelle."
This letter began Chuck's comeback...
"You have NO IDEA how happy my family and I were to find Chuck again! I've copied my family. Just knowing that we will have Chuck in our hands and lives again has caused such a frenzy in our little group!
While in college, my daughter, Michelle, found Chuck in a shop sitting on a shelf with his little pink legs dangling and she fell in love with him immediately. It was the beginning of Boneless Chuck's and Michelle's love affair, travels, and photoshoots. She brought him everywhere including sleepovers and trips with her friends. I have photos of Boneless on the beach, propped up in sand dunes, and at the mountains, as well as at their college house.
We lost Michelle to cancer on October 28, 1996. Chuck was by her side every step of the way during her treatments. As you can probably imagine, she was a very determined, upbeat, funny, and talented young woman. But, when I brought her home from Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC, Chuck was sadly left behind. We have often wondered where he is now and who has him. But we suspect he is still here spreading his love in our home and in photo albums. Now he is sharing in someone else's life.
Recently, Mary, Michelle's dear friend, and a Chuck-lover expressed that she absolutely NEEDED to find Boneless Chuck. And when she googled “Boneless Chuck doll,” she found HIM! She couldn't believe her eyes! The excitement this created is beyond words. Emails were flying. Alison, Mary's sister has such big plans for Chuck. She is a speech pathologist and is going to use him in her lesson plans! Michelle's siblings are also anxiously awaiting his delivery. Of course, I had to order a Boneless for each and every one of them!
We will be marking the tenth anniversary of Michelle's passing and Caryl Ann is planning on taking Boneless to the memorial bench we have in Michelle's memory right on the boardwalk in Long Beach, NY. He will be a reminder to all of us of the companionship and laughter that he gave Michelle, and she in turn shared with others. We are very hopeful that he will be able to attend. If you can do anything to ensure his delivery in time for our "thank you brunch," we would certainly appreciate it. We have plans on making a T-shirt with our smiley logo for Chuck, and I'm sure his wardrobe will grow from there! Well, that's the story of Michelle and Boneless Chuck! You created LOVE, Graham, and we thank you! I ordered 7."—xoxo Carol ONeil —Michelle's Foundation raises over $100,000 a year to help children with cancer and special needs. To learn more visit: Www.monfoundataion.org.
A Detective's Story
"I'm a detective who uses Chuckin interviews with children who have been sexually abused. One of my goals in interviewing children is to make them feel comfortable enough to speak with me about their abuse.
I keep Chuck in the room where I speak with these children in case they feel the need to hold him while they discuss their abuse. I've noticed that children are drawn to his color first then want to play with his flexible arms and legs as well as his cuteness and open, non-threatening appearance.
Many children ask if they can take Chuck home, but I tell them that Chuck lives in my office for all the children that come in to speak with me. They all seem good with my response, squeeze Chuck one more time than hand him back to me when we're done. It's obvious the children are comforted by Chuck and that makes my job easier. Braham, I can't thank you enough for creating him and bringing him back."
—Detective Toni L., (last name withheld for legal reasons)
Lynn & Chuck
"I’ve so missed my Boneless Chuck. I owned him years ago and I fell in love with him immediately.
He was so adorable, squishy, and sensitive. My son was born with trouble hearing. I bought Chuck thinking he’d help us communicate better. But I was in an abusive relationship and his father was livid that I’d give him something pink (God forbid!).
So I kept Chuck myself. He became my secret friend and bed-buddy. On nights when I was particularly hurting and feeling unsafe I felt like I had a friend. That may sound strange—but it’s true. Many nights, I lay there crying, hurt and sometimes bleeding, but there was Chuck… not spineless, not weak! He was everything the opposite. To me, Chuck was someone to talk to, someone that would protect me. Oh, the things we went through! What a wonderful comfort he was for me.
So, what happened to Chuck? He was destroyed in a raging tirade by my husband. I felt like a piece of me had been destroyed.
I’ve often wondered where my stories and secrets went. Did they get trashed with him? But instead of being sad and a total victim,
I grew a spine! I decided to stop hiding and found help to get out!
Now I’m strong-willed and have learned to trust again. I continue to nurture my five sons on my own and know I’ll be OK no matter what life throws at me. I’ve been rich. I’ve been poor. I’ve been healthy. I have cancer. I’ve been hopeless and now I am hopeful.
In Oct., I’m planning to walk the 3-Day 60-mile Breast Cancer Walk in Philadelphia and Chuck will walk with me! I apologize for not taking care of Chuck. But neither of us were a match for that monster. I’m so happy to be with Chuck once again - I ordered three! Thank you for creating Chuck, Graham." —Love, Lynn
With James in England
"The day Boneless Chuck (or "Gary" as James calls him) arrived here in England James introduced him to all his other toys. He has been given the job of guarding Jame's juice at night, which is a very important job. I can tell you this did not go down well with Neil the Rhino. Chuck accompanies James to chemo and is loved by the nurses and staff. James frequently offers him to sit with other patients when they're feeling low. He seems comfort as he does James and they love to put him in silly poses! Next month Chuck will be walking with our family to raise money to fight cancer. You've really created something special, Graham and you should be pleased to know he is loved across the Pond!" —Brian, James' Dad
Wings for Jenn
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"Boneless Chuck may have no spine—but his stitches of love, support, friendship, hope, imagination, life, and living it with meaning are what holds him together Graham. Chuck is a gift. A gift born out of creativity, imagination, humor, and the love and understanding of people, that YOU possess. While every good thing in life starts with an idea, every great thing in life comes from something else...something bigger. Some people call it passion. Some people call it compassion. I call it love. To me, that is what Boneless Chuck represents, Graham: pure, uninhibited, unconditional love. Chuck walked with me in October for the Susan Koman Cancer Run... Actually, two Chucks did. They were both strung on my back like Angel Wings...
Every step I took was magical. They were steps that were gifted to me because I should not have been able to do that walk.
There was a time not long ago that I was writing my last will and my family was preparing funeral arrangements. But, it was Love, Hope, Support...all of the unconditional kind that brought me to that race, that day in October. And you and Chuck were right there with me, sharing that experience.
My wish for Boneless Chuck, and for You, Graham, is to be able to get Boneless Chuck and ALL of his messages out there, in this great big world of ours, to share in those same feelings of Love, Support and Hope. Chuck is an inspiration. I wish I could buy 1000 Chucks and give them out to those who could use a little love and hope in their life. You and Chuck BOTH are valued and valid to me. You are BOTH loved and appreciated. My gratitude for you both is forever... And I Thank You." —Love, Jenn
Chuck Made My Day!
I was introduced to Boneless Chuck at the City of Hope, Walk of Hope in Los Angeles, I was so moved by him, I couldn't even talk and was in tears. I immediately fell in love with Boneless Chuck. I get him. I get the Message. I am the message. I was very spiritually dead when I arrived at the walk and didn't want to go. But after meeting you and Chuck I had a story and a message to share just by being there. as it turned out the whole experience was awesome for me, but meeting Boneless was the best. And to read the stories of hope he has brought to people's lives, wow!
There was a time I needed Boneless Chuck because I had no spine. Instead, I had a stuffed monkey I called Man. That's how shallow and desperate I was thinking that I needed a man to fix me. But, he gave me hope and comfort just as Boneless Chuck does to so many countless others. It's interesting that Chuck's birth year is the year I joined AA and quit drinking, a life-changing event for me. Thank you again, it was so wonderful meeting you and Chuck. I just ordered 10!" —Love, Julie Smith
Ehlers Danos Syndrome
"I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. "Ehlers what?" you say. It's EDS for short, an invisible illness that profoundly afflicts something more like 1 in 20,000 - 50,000 people. Everything about me is loose and threatening to disconnect - my joints, my heart, my brain, etc..
Being genetic, I've had it since birth, but it only began to affect me greatly in the past year. I am soon to have my 6th surgery in just over a year (including 2 brain surgeries). I spend my days wincing and hobbling around in tremendous pain. Around two weeks ago, I began to fantasize about having no bones and how nice it would be to be boneless for a while.
So I googled "boneless human" and found Boneless Chuck. I knew I had to have him. He is my constant companion as I travel this journey. He's both what I want to be and a comfort to me with each new test, procedure or surgery I must endure. There's something special about my little man Chuck and I'm glad he's mine forever. Thanks for my new little buddy. He means so very much to me."
—Love Lesa Rhoton
Chuck At The Olympics
"I’m so glad Chuck is back! We had the absolute best time with the boneless wonder during our family trip to the Olympics (Atlanta 1996) and Panama City the same year. Our girls were 16 and 13 and Chuck became part of the family; a brother to the girls and a prominent (if not the most prominent) family member in the photo album! Chuck watched the Olympic Marathon in Atlanta and I remember him doing the “Macarena” during a beach party. That guy had rhythm! He was the best traveling companion for our daughters. I hope other folks have as much fun with him as we did!"—Cindy Landacre, Illinois
Surgery With Raven
"Chuck is awesome! He has been a member of our family for many years. My father drove a truck across the country and found Chuck in a small shop and sat him on his dashboard for company At age 5 I began having major surgeries on my ankle. Dad said Chuck always brought him luck on the road and felt he'd bring me some comfort and calm my nerves so he gave me Chuck to go into the operating room with me. The nurses even dressed him up. Chuck looks great in scrubs. Hee, hee. I've taken Chuck with me on all my road trips and have tons of photos I'll send you.
In two weeks I'll be 24yrs. Complications with my leg have continued over the years, and I'm having my entire leg amputated. Bummer, I know. But, I'm counting on Chuck being there with me in surgery again and during my recuperation. Thank you so much for creating him Graham he means so much to me."
—Love, Raven Goodell
Boney Is Not A Toy
"I'm a BIG admirer and fan of Boney. Yes, he is cute, pink, and adorable. But it is his endeavors to make the world a better place and his compassion to those who suffer is what I really value. Boneless isn't just a little doll. In fact, I don't consider him a toy or a doll, I think of him as an angel, a guardian angel. His "B The Message" campaign is wonderful. He comforts those with disease and is a friend to those who suffer from
loneliness. Boney is my friend and when I feel sad or distressed I just look at his cute little face and his big old nose and he makes me smile and gives me hope that there will be someone special in my life. He doesn't help pay the mortgage, but he doesn't talk back either!
Chuck's messages are infinite, but love is always on his agenda. He comforts people all over the world. One of his friends is a darling little boy who was shaken and is brain dead. Chuck sits on his shoulder under his wing like a guardian angel. He truly is 'Being the Message'. Boney Rocks!" —Lolly Shields
Psychological Institutes of Michigan
"Many years ago a patient of mine gave me a Boneless (as I refer to him). He has been a special attraction to my young patients. There is a 9-year-old boy that I see and he LOVES Boneless. He has made tremendous strides in his treatment and he wanted a one. So I googled Boneless Chuck and lo and behold there you were. Thanks for the great service and thanks for Boneless, Graham."
—Carol J. Schwartz Ph.D., Psychological Institutes of Michigan, Franklin, MI 48025
Chuck Down Under
"I am in such a hurry for my pink pal. I can only get two Chucks right now, as much as I would love to have a whole bunch! My family members are going to love him, and be jealous! I met Chuck about 6 years ago on the top of someone’s bedpost and I fell in love with him straight away. I "borrowed" him and took him everywhere with me - even in my shopping in my bag with his head popping out! Everyone I met just had to kiss him. Unfortunately, a few years later I had to give Chuck back to his owner - never to see him again. Until the other day when I thought to look for him on the Internet!
I can't believe I found YOU and CHUCK! I'm as much in love with him now as the first day I lay eyes on him. In fact, I'm waiting so anxiously for them to arrive! I can’t believe I have lived so many years without him in my life. Thank you so much for helping to deliver my Love to me as soon as possible. Make sure he has something to eat and a sweater for the long trip over here.
I've read the BC stories from others - they are much more inspirational than mine. I can’t believe how you could create something that millions of people love. You must feel so proud of your little man. People need him and depend on him to help them through tough times in life. He is a message in himself to teach people to love and care and to stand up for themselves. You are so lucky to be surrounded so many Chuck's every day and to know that when you send them out how much love you are sending to people’s lives.
I have been looking at BC's website every day since I found it and I can’t wait until he is here." —Rachelle Kitchener, Australia
My Husband, Wally, Needs Help!
"Graham, help! My husband, Wally is in the hospital. He had a heart attack. He needs cheering up. Please send Boneless Chuck, quick!" —Deborah Lindquist
After receiving Chuck, Wally wrote this thoughtful letter.
"I was in the hospital recently, recovering from another heart attack, when my wife introduced me to this cool little pink dude, named Boneless Chuck. She showed me his newsletter and told me how he affected other people. Very cool. I'm a therapist at a boy’s placement facility in Los Angeles, with a caseload of boys, ages 12 to 17. I began thinking about ways to incorporate BC in my profession. I surprised myself when after a couple of weeks laying there recovering I suddenly found myself talking to “my little pink shrink!" I had a lot on my mind. All I can say is we became friends and I began running things by him. Weird, I know, but true.
Soon the ideas were flowing and I was feeling better and more alert. When I began to focus my attention on the power source for the little pink dude, I rediscovered a wonderful old concept. One we've all heard many times, in many forms. The power source behind my little pink buddy...is me. The power source behind your little pink buddy...is you. And that’s the beauty of Chuck—he really does become whatever it is you need. A friend, a Shrink, a confidante - I mean look at him—who is he gonna tell? A Lawyer, a night watchman, a sounding board, a chance to look at an issue twice, or three times.
The message is clear, BECOME THE MESSAGE! At least that’s how I see it, harness your intentions, and put them into action; at least talk to someone about it, preferably someone pink!!! For anyone reading this, don’t forget to listen to yourself and have a little hope for the hopeless!! Thanks for creating this little pink dude, Graham he’s really great." —Love, Wally High
PS - I also play piano in an upscale restaurant every Saturday night. I’m going to take Chuck to work and set him up on the piano. I know he will enjoy it, I play requests so, I guess I better learn some Pink Floyd. If the crowd is sparse, I’ll just sing to Chuck (He has to listen).
What a Surprise! Thank You!
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I want to thank you for your incredible thoughtfulness and tell you how much it has meant to my daughter and me. Most of us go our whole lives without getting to do anything heroic for another person. So, I wanted to tell you that you are a hero to two women you have never met. My daughter Lauren discovered Boneless Chuck when she was 7 on a visit to her grandparents at Christmas. He belonged to my mother who thought he was the funniest thing she had ever seen and was fiercely attached to him. My father's name is Chuck.
From the moment Lauren laid eyes on him, she thought Boneless Chuck was the most wonderful thing she
had ever seen and latched onto him like a barnacle. The struggle over Chuck lasted that entire Christmas holiday. My mother let Lauren play with him, but wasn't about to surrender custody. After dropping lots of hints, Lauren finally asked directly if she could have Chuck. It was the first “No” she ever received from her grandmother. But, as we pulled out of the driveway, my mother ran out and presented Lauren with Chuck!
For seven years all was bliss until tragedy struck and Chuck was stolen from a playground in Las Vegas. Lauren and her friends conducted their own Amber Alert and an exhaustive search and rescue operation – but Boneless was never heard from again. We phoned my parents in Virginia and asked them to check the store where they got Chuck, but to no avail; Boneless Chuck was no longer available anywhere, at any price. Lauren cried most of the way home and mourned for him as though she had lost a family member. My mother wasn’t all that happy about it either.
Lauren is now 19. Her toys have mostly been replaced by make-up, cell phone, and boys, but she has always mentioned Boneless Chuck - especially when she is sad or going through a difficult time. At these times I’ve googled and Ebayed Boneless Chuck, but have never found any reference to him until a week ago! Lauren was about to undergo major surgery; she was very frightened and in pain.
I sat up with her night after night helplessly watching and wishing I could do something to cheer her. At 3:00 am on a particularly bad night when she finally fell asleep from exhaustion rather than the absence of pain, I sat down and, in desperation more than hope, once again googled Boneless Chuck. You cannot imagine my surprise and delight when saw a listing for the Official Boneless Chuck website!
I was so excited that I didn’t read anything; I just saw the picture of our dear friend and a button that said “Buy Chuck Now” and ordered him. If I had read the homepage, I would have known that I was only pre-ordering Chuck since he'd been out of production for many years and you were trying to bring him back on your own due to the response you’d received from fans like us. But I missed all that. So, when I did not see an express shipping option, I included a note asking you to ship him as soon as possible, explaining that I desperately wanted Boneless Chuck to be waiting for Lauren at the hospital when she woke up from the anesthesia. She was very frightened and I couldn’t think of anything that would lift her spirits more than being reunited with her old friend.
Instead of a brief email explanation, which you could so easily have sent, I am still awed that you went to the unbelievable effort of searching for me on the internet until you were able to locate a phone number to go with my name and address and then called personally to tell me that Chuck was still several months away from production, but that you sent one of your own autographed Boneless Chucks to be there for Lauren when she woke up. And then you were kind enough to call and inquire about her the day after her procedure, which touched us both.
Thankfully, Lauren’s surgery went well. I wish you had been there to see the look on her face when she opened your box. It is a moment that I will always cherish; open-mouthed astonishment followed by laughter and tears…truly gifts beyond price, given to us with no thought of return by a man we have never met. I’ve enclosed photos of that wonderful moment for you. We have been Boneless Chuck fans for many years, but we want you to know that we’re now Graham Sale fans as well! Thank you so very much for your incredible thoughtfulness and generosity." —Love, gratitude, and best wishes from Utah, Jacqueline, and Lauren Lee
Chuck in the Classroom.
"I was given a Chuck from a friend (who had received him from a friend, too - but neither of them really appreciated him - hence the adoption by me). I love him and so do my students. I teach 4th grade and he's in my classroom hanging around and will show up on someone's desk if s/he is having a bad day. The only time he's really out of reach is when my dog, Gleason, spends the day with the class. He likes Chuck, too - but for playful and potentially destructive reasons!
I had a student who was transferring to another school, and I sent my Chuck with her when she went for a tour of the school.
I ordered the "new" BC from you to give to her on her last day, so she could have a familiar face with her at her new school.
I've ordered several Chuck's over the years. Thanks for creating him - he's great!" —David Canfield, Vancouver, Canada
I Can't Believe I Found You, Chuck!
"Girls, I warn you I dance like I've got no bones! And I've got no curfew!"
I love shopping with pretty girls!
"Girls, I warn you I dance like I've got no bones! And I've got no curfew!"
Going to the Prom with my daughter!
CHUCK! I FOUND YOU! On Sunday I came downstairs to see that my husband was already up and reading the morning paper. Not being much of a morning person I sat down quietly and stared up at the TV. Then it happened...I looked down at the table and a familiar face caught my eye. I was screaming in a blink of an eye. "OH, MY GOD, BONELESS CHUCK!!!" My husband, who had just read an article about Chuck in the paper, but had previously never heard of him, looked at me in disbelief over my excitement.
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For Chuck and me it was a casual meeting at a local dept. store in Elmira, NY. I was browsing up and down the aisles and suddenly made eye contact with this short bald man. I looked away but was compelled to look back in his direction. Yes, he was still looking at me with his little black peepers. I got up the nerve to go over to him and just smile. As it turns out Chuck came home with me.
Chuck became a true friend to me. He went everywhere with me. While riding in the car he would help me by keeping the kids entertained. He would sing and dance and do funny poses. The thing that made us laugh the most was while stopped in traffic he would just wave to everyone. He received many waves and smiles in return. After years of understanding and lots of listening to my woes something awful happened - Chuck disappeared. It was during one of the hardest times in my life. I was going through a divorce and he was gone when I needed his friendship the most. To this day I still suspect foul play but could never prove it.
So you see, the fact that I have found Boneless Chuck again is just wonderful! He will be returning to me very soon and I can hardly wait to see him again. Of course, time has past and the kids have grown but we will be able to pick up right where we left off. I work for a dentist's office and I plan to bring him int to comfort our patients. My daughter and best friend say they will be taking him to their prom! Chuck always a dancin' fool! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for all the laughs that you gave to me and my family."
—Michele Staple, Elmira, NY