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CBS Sitcom Star Billy Gardell Takes Over Kennywood


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Sunrise at Kennywood. The park won't open for three more hours, which leaves the grounds wide open for 50 fans of theme park fashion. The 25 matched sets are winners of WDVE Radio's "Billy Gardell Takes Over Kennywood" contest.

Earlier this year, WDVE asked pairs of fans to take pictures of themselves in their best Kennywood outfits. The staff picked the best sets, and the winners were invited to spend some time with Billy Gardell, co-star of CBS' "Mike and Molly" and Swissvale native, before the park opened to the public Thursday morning.

"That's the Phantom's Revenge right there," Gardell said to the crowd of fans. "That's the one they were talking about. And it's called the Revenge because the first one would rip your neck off."

Gardell may have missed his calling as a tour guide.

"Noah's Ark," he pointed out. "Classic at Kennywood."

He and his family live in Los Angeles. But when he returns to Pittsurgh, he says, "I land at the airport, and then it gets worse and worse. And then I'm full yinzer when I hit the 'Burgh."

The boy from Swissvale is more Kennywood than Hollywood.

"Pittsburgh's one of the last cities on earth that has its own identity, and it has its own pride about its identity," he said. "We know who we are, and we don't try to change that, we don't put on airs. We don't make it different, we just are who we are, and we're proud of that."

Now, he introduces his wife and son to those Kennywood memories of childhood.

"Outside my house is Los Angeles," he adds. "Inside my house is Swissvale. That's it."

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