Koo koo kids lookin' for koo koo kicks
March 2, 2004 1:57 PM   Subscribe

Local Kid Show Hosts. For many of us kids from the 70s, national shows like Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and Zoom! were staples of our "boob tube" saturated lives. But what about the local kids shows? In Seattle, we had some amazing local kiddie shows, from the delightfully subversive JP Patches who lived in the city dump with his transvestite pal Gertrude, to the sugary sweet "Boomerang" hosted by Marni "The Voice of Hollywood" Nixon. Going even further back, we had Stan Boreson, "The King of Scandahoovian Humor" hosting the loopy "King's Klubhouse" in the 50s, the eerie "Wunda Wunda Show" hosted by Ruth Prins (not much out there about her), and Captain Puget with his sidekick Salty, played by local eccentric businessman Ivar Haglund. Who were your local kids show hosts and how whacked out were they?
posted by evilcupcakes (44 comments total)
Hey, if you're talking about Seattle local kid show hosts, how could you forget Ranger Charlie and Rosco, the kinda dumb looking racoon?

Remember, too, that for some strange reason Ranger Charlie changed from a fat middle age guy to a 20-something woman towards the end.
posted by Captain_Tenille at 2:10 PM on March 2, 2004

Dnever's own Blinky the Clown, baby. Happy Birfday, dear chilladren!
posted by scody at 2:28 PM on March 2, 2004

I got to be on Buckskin Bill in Baton Rouge once. Not very whacky though.
posted by turbodog at 2:28 PM on March 2, 2004

Denver's own. Ack.
posted by scody at 2:29 PM on March 2, 2004

I grew up (and still live) in the Niagara area of Ontario in the 70's. I have fond memories of Commander Tom and Rocketship 7, both from WKBW in nearby Buffalo. Now, Uncle Bobby from Toronto was a different matter. He seemed nice enough, but there was a weird vibe coming off that dude.
posted by davebush at 2:33 PM on March 2, 2004

DC had Captain Twenty, on WDCA, channel 20. He hosted the afternoon cartoons and gave out prizes from the bridge of a spacecraft. Guests included Chef Combo and others.
posted by bug138 at 2:34 PM on March 2, 2004

Captain Noah and his Magical Ark on WPVI (ABC) in philly. He had a bunch of puppets and was yes, on a boat with his wife.

"Red and yellow and pink and green, orange and purple and blue. You can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too"

more on Capt. noah

He was on from 1967 through 1994

There was a show I was on when I was like, 3, with Lorenzo (a clown, Jerry Wheeler). Lorenzo would begin the show by speaking to the audience while he applied his makeup and costume.

There was also Wee Willie Webber (no real memories).

Chief Halftown (guess: yes, that's right an Indian, with a Teepee) In late 1950, he began his show at then-WFIL -TV, channel 6, airing cartoons, and teaching lessons and crafts from his Seneca customs and folklore. His show ran until late 1999. During summer weekends, the Chief appeared at Dutch Wonderland until 2001. He was also widely known as an excellent bowler.
Chief Halftown passed away on July 5, 2003 in Absecon, New Jersey, at the age of 86. He and his wife, Margaret, were married for over 50 yea
posted by filmgeek at 2:35 PM on March 2, 2004

When I was growing up in Chicago, Bozo was IT. At one point there was a 10 year waiting list to get tickets. I did go to the show once but did not get lucky enough to get on the Grand Prize Game, alas.

Here's a great page about Chicago Children's Television.
posted by SisterHavana at 2:39 PM on March 2, 2004

In New York it was Wonderama and yes, I did get on the show once. (Still a fond memory, even 30 years later!)

Also, see this prior thread on the subject.
posted by neurodoc at 2:45 PM on March 2, 2004

Patches and Pockets (Toledo area) rocked. They were adult sized rag dolls.

Superhost (Cleveland) - I saw a lot of great monster/horror/sci-fi films thanks to his show.

Now where's the thread on local TV high school quiz shows?
posted by gluechunk at 2:51 PM on March 2, 2004

Be somebody important. Be yourself! I once got on the list of "crew member" birthdays Capt. C would read out.
posted by transient at 2:58 PM on March 2, 2004

"Red and yellow and pink and green, orange and purple and blue. You can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too"

I've found this to be a perfect shibboleth - if you start singing this, anyone who sings along grew up in Philadelphia and its environs. Everyone else looks at you like you're nuts.
posted by jkilg at 3:12 PM on March 2, 2004

Hey, if you're talking about Seattle local kid show hosts, how could you forget Ranger Charlie and Roscoe

OMG! I COMPLETELY forgot Ranger Charlie and Roscoe!!! That show was HI-larious!!!
posted by evilcupcakes at 3:37 PM on March 2, 2004

Philadelphia area: Uncle Floyd. Chief Halftown. Captain Noah and his Magical Ark.
posted by moonbird at 3:47 PM on March 2, 2004

The Sacramento area had, during my youth, Cap'n Mitch. (My mother's generation had Captain Sacto.)
posted by Guy Smiley at 3:48 PM on March 2, 2004

D.B's delight, St. Louis, Missouri. Alas, Google shows no trace of this extremely low production value puppet-hosted game show.
posted by Mid at 3:50 PM on March 2, 2004

Aw, even David Bowie loves Uncle Floyd.
posted by scody at 3:50 PM on March 2, 2004

We had Cannonball and Harvey. They were always giving away cool shit like Swing Bikes.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:51 PM on March 2, 2004

turbodog: I was also on the Buckskin Bill show. He had a puppet called "What's His Name."

Buckskin Bill collected pennies from the kids of Baton Rouge to buy elephants from the zoo. He raised 650,000 pennies (or $6500) to buy both of them.
posted by ColdChef at 4:45 PM on March 2, 2004

The best part about Buckskin Bill was when he would take a day off and the third-string weatherman would fill in. My first introduction to grown-up self-consciousness was when the sub had to do the Monday Morning March in an empty studio (I don't think they did live audiences on the days when Bill was out.)
posted by shecky57 at 5:11 PM on March 2, 2004

Indianapolis: Cowboy Bob and Janie. Janie had some puppet friends. I don't remember any puppets on Cowboy Bob, but he had a real horse and dog. Cowboy Bob always signed off with "Remember, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Even though they've been off the air for years, they're still mentioned several times in the station's FAQ.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:12 PM on March 2, 2004

neurodoc--i'm so envious! my brothers and I had a paper shopping bag full of stuff like egg beaters--just in case we ever got to be on wonderama. Did you get to play Guess Your Best? : >
posted by amberglow at 5:15 PM on March 2, 2004

Is it just me, or is the title link going to a lavishly illustrated but actual-content-thin ad for a subscription website?

On the subject: I gave up on Romper Room when it became brutally apparent that none of those hosts were ever gonna see me in that magic mirror.

My favorite kids show host, in Detroit, was Gary Ed Mach, a lanky, red-haired man in a white shirt and sweater who enthusiastically narrated science experiments on WDIV (channel 4)'s "Kidbits" back in the late 70s, early 80s. He also pulled double duty as a featured player on "Double Dip Sunday," same station. Occasionally, he was accompanied by Warner Bros. cartoons, but usually the experiments were broken up by public service announcements for the Boy Scouts [to this day I have never seen a "bicycle rodeo"] and these peculiar NBC-produced spots about the smart way to watch TV. Several of those ads can be heard at the bottom of this page.

One of my elementary school classmates' dad was an executive at WDIV who hooked us up with a tour, but we didn't get to meet ol' Gary Ed Mach. The dad is now VP/GM and presents the station's editorials during the newscasts.
posted by britain at 5:21 PM on March 2, 2004 [1 favorite]

It was national but my Dad told me that when he was a kid, him and his older brother, my Uncle Mike, were gonna be in the peanut gallery on Howdy Doody. Uncle Mike started bawling about something, so they hauled both of 'em out. Dad said they made them sit in a back room and watch the show on TV. He was a little pissed since he could've done that at home, he said.
posted by jonmc at 5:30 PM on March 2, 2004

Phoenix, Arizona, late 60s/early 70s: The Wallace & Ladmo Show". I got to be in the audience once and got a grab-bag of sugary goodness. I have very, very few memories of my childhood, but the name "Wallace and Ladmo" has always stayed with me.
posted by davidmsc at 5:33 PM on March 2, 2004

Greensboro, NC: The Old Rebel. This was in the '60s. Today, maybe not...
posted by Buckley at 5:41 PM on March 2, 2004

I grew up in Hawaii in the late 60's and we had The Checkers & Pogo Show. It was silly and fun, and just what this 'Haole' boy loved.
posted by BlueScreen at 5:44 PM on March 2, 2004

Is it just me, or is the title link going to a lavishly illustrated but actual-content-thin ad for a subscription website?

Sorry, I wasn't trying to sell you anything, I just thought that page might jostle some memories.
posted by evilcupcakes at 5:46 PM on March 2, 2004

Neurodoc, I was in the audience one wonderful Saturday morning too, back in '67 or '68.

And hey, Uncle Floyd was a Jersey guy, I knew him back in the day! Philly area my a55.
posted by billsaysthis at 6:08 PM on March 2, 2004

maybe it's a different Uncle Floyd? (the jersey one was definitely not for kids)

How did all you guys get on Wonderama? (i feel like my childhood was sadly lacking)
posted by amberglow at 6:13 PM on March 2, 2004

Here's another who was on the Buckskin Bill show. He is now on the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, btw, and I recently emailed him thanking him for his show and got a very pleasant reply back (made my day).

Oh, and this is the third or fourth thread on this topic in the last two years or so (I looked 'em up and linked 'em last time a month or so ago, too lazy today).
posted by rushmc at 6:42 PM on March 2, 2004

I got on the L.A. edition of Bozo and got eliminated in the first round of a kind of chairless musical chairs game, but my mother won a door prize of a prehistoric sandwich press thingy.

Of course Los Angeles had Sheriff John and his "Birthday Club Polka" (audio link on that page), Engineer Bill and his "Red Light Green Light" milk-drinking game (appropriated by every fraternity at UCLA for beer-drinking), and a host of others.

And let us not forget the L.A.-produced "Winchell Mahoney Time!"

penicillin-resistant nostalgia...
posted by wendell at 6:50 PM on March 2, 2004

Mmmmm. . . Kitirick!

Every little boy's dream -- fishnet hose, catsuit, heels. . .

Hostess of KTRK Channel 13's afternoon children's show.
posted by gjjohnson at 6:50 PM on March 2, 2004

Ok, Here's the link:

posted by gjjohnson at 6:52 PM on March 2, 2004

Uncle Floyd. Definitely Uncle Floyd.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:04 PM on March 2, 2004

the kitrik costume looks more like fetish gear to me. it's that whole catsuit + fishnets thing.

not knocking it, just saying...
posted by pxe2000 at 8:10 PM on March 2, 2004

Here's a thread about kids' shows, complete with my Uncle Bobby story.
posted by orange swan at 8:32 PM on March 2, 2004

Amberglow, moonbiter's Floyd is definitely the man I was referring to, he was Jersey all the way and had one of the earliest cable access shows I can remember back in the '70s. And I got on Wonderama through a neighborhood friend's connected dad.
posted by billsaysthis at 9:10 PM on March 2, 2004

Evilcupcakes...you forgot Brakeman Bill!
posted by black8 at 11:50 PM on March 2, 2004

In Columbus, Ohio it was Luci's Toyshop.

My scary-smart brother was on that show and caused all sorts of trouble by announcing about Mr. Tree, "Hey! There's a man in that tree!"

An embarrassing memory: there was a "chinaman" puppet named "Chan Ten" (it was on channel 10...).
posted by jpburns at 4:12 AM on March 3, 2004

As a kid in Jesup, Iowa we had cartoons with Dr. Max & Mombo; Green Bay's Ned the Dead was better for us in high school.
posted by mimi at 8:46 AM on March 3, 2004

Any ideas on why there used to be so many locally produced kids shows? It isn't as if there weren't syndicated shows that the broadcasters could use. That would seem to me cheaper than paying some guy to work the puppets.

Could there have been some sort of FCC license requirement re: "educational" programming? Maybe a subsidy?
posted by Mid at 11:58 AM on March 3, 2004

Thanks for this thread! I didn't realize that "Boomerang" was a local Seattle show. I grew up watching it, and can still sing the theme song from heart! A boomerang, a boomerang...What does it do? (What does it do?) It comes back to you! Like a boomerang, boomerang! Brilliance.

Brief aside: according to an archived story from the Seattle Times, one of Boomerang's lead puppets, Norbert, was purchased for $2 at a garage sale. I'm sure there's a "Behind the Music" in there somewhere. (update: that's not quite right)
posted by arielmeadow at 3:12 PM on March 3, 2004

In northeastern Indiana, we had "Happy's Place" featuring a really bad clown named "Happy" and a talking frog puppet named "Froggy" every afternoon on "Super 55 FOX". It had a tiny budget and even less imagination. Mostly they just introduced Thundercats cartoons. There was a segment, though, where all the kids on the show lined up and each one got to say their name and shake Happy's hand. We were all SO. JEALOUS. of those kids.

If anybody's from the area, we had a "Where are they now?" discussion on my blog a while back. Happy ended up running FortuneCookiesOnline.com but it seems to be dead now. We also successfully solved the mystery of who provided Froggy's voice.
posted by web-goddess at 4:15 PM on March 3, 2004

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