The Pennsylvania native attended Columbia College in Chicago and Gary College in Gary., Ind. Molchan was working as a bookkeeper at Pepsi Cola in 1951 when his friend, “Wizard of Oz” munchkin actor Meinhardt Raabe, persuaded him to audition for the role of Little Oscar the Chef. The character was created in the 1930s by Oscar Mayer to help market the company’s products.
Molchan landed the part and played the meat processor’s spokesman for 36 years. His duties included traveling around the country in the company’s 27-foot-long Wienermobile and appearing in parades. He played Little Oscar in the Town Square Café at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., for a decade before retiring in 1987.
Friends and family commemorated Molchan’s life by playing music on small, hotdog-shaped Wienerwhistles and singing a chorus of the jingle “Oh, I Wish I Were an Oscar Mayer Wiener” during his funeral service. The Wienermobile, which was parked near his grave in Merrillville, Ind., also drew smiles from mourners.