LIVE KID SHOWS FROM THE 1950's
All the memories of the kid shows I grew up on in the fifties watching were just that--- memories of names of shows and vague images of characters. There was no way in the seventies to watch the programs; even with the start of the video tape revolution in the 80’s. The networks who might have owned some of the ‘live’ kid & adult shows never saw a market to make it worth spending the money to transfer it to video.
My goal was to find the shows and toys I remembered like Howdy Doody, Foodini the Great, Shari Lewis, Rootie Kazootie, Kukla Fran & Ollie, The Paul Winchell Show and Andy’s Gang among others.
The programs usually aired in the weekday mornings before school or afternoons after school as well as on weekends. Most shows were locally produced and had a friendly host who assumed the identity such as a cowboy/cowgirl, captain/skipper/commodore/ admiral, jungle explorer, astronaut, king, princess, clown, sheriff/deputy/trooper, cop, firefighter, hobo/tramp, railroad engineer, magician, mailman, “cousin", "grandfather" or "uncle"
Learn about Rootie Kazootie, and watch more shows. 16mm Kinescopes are from the shows creator Steve Carlin.
Watch a rare one-of-kind 16mm Kinescope of The Rootie Kazootie show, 30 minutes.from the Steve Carlin collection.
The basic format for all these kid shows had the jovial host who sings songs with the kids, quiz contests to win prizes from local toy companies and showing cartoons. But it was still time consuming for producers, writers, actors and puppeteers to come up with a daily comedy routine for the hosts to interplay with the puppets. Sometimes the puppets had their own ten-minute spot to fill without the live hosts.”
Watch Diver Dan television shows
Ten Complete episodes of Andy's Gang , Toys and stories about the show.
Complete episode of Andy's Gang
"The Sloth Bear" 1955.
By 1947 ventriloquists and their dummies, puppets and their real flesh and blood hosts were becoming the biggest celebrities in America next to movie stars. Edgar Bergen and his dummies Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd were household names since before the Second World War.
But it was a young Paul Winchell with his dummy Jerry Mahoney as summer replacements for Captain Video that captured the hearts of us boomers and became another big hit for Dumont with Winchell and Mahoney, who later reached fame moving to NBC.
The Paul Winchell Show 30 minutes with commercials
starring Claude Kirchner & Mary Hartline 1989
Interview with Sody Clampett with Ira Gallen talking about her husband Robert Clampett's animation work and creating Beany & Cecil
Every classification of children's and youth programming seemed to find its way onto the home screen, and despite widespread misconceptions many series proved that it was possible to produce entertaining programming while at the same time adding elements that would be beneficial to the young viewers.
Most of the shows catered to keeping the kids busy while mom got dinner ready.
We were also creating our own television idol’s as young fans like me made heroes of a Mardi Gras of puppets, clowns, spacemen, swashbucklers, comedians, and cowboys creating instant demigods, stars of stupendous magnitude, enduring cult figures, among our now memory flashes to our past.
Watch Eight Complete Episodes of
Super Circus, Toys and other
Ira Gallen, Claude Kirchner & sister Rona
SUPER CIRCUS host Claude Kirchner
with Ira H. Gallen 1989
SUPER CIRCUS 1956 show with 3 Musketeers candy commercials, 30 minutes
The first of the shows to hit the airwaves was when Allen DuMont on his DuMont channel created The Small Fry Club hosted by Big Brother Bob Emory and a few months later Birthday Party hosted by deejay Ted Brown which both originated from what would be known as Channel 5 in New York.
The first commercially sponsored show over at NBC for kids was Jack Barry’s problem solving quiz show Juvenile Jury.
WONDERAMA with Sonny Fox on Metro-Media
As a kid, I would watch on channel 5, Metro-media a local children's show called WONDERAMA hosted by Sonny Fox every Sunday morning. Today it is virtually impossible to find any of these programs. I have a half dozen 16mm Kinescopes, made up of Negative Picture, negative audio tracks that need to restored.
The show was dedicated to the children of Korea. Featuring Korean performers dancing and playing music, this is an uncharacteristically ethnic show for this period.
Juvenile Jury 30 minutes
Foodini the Great 30 minutes
Ding Dong School
Howdy Doody Canada
The Billy Johnson Show 1957
This is the only existing 16mm negative picture & negative audio track of this one hour children show on the Dumont Network starring guitarist/singer Billy Johnson and a group of puppets, including one Teddy Bear.
The major purpose of these programs, other than to run advertisements, was as a wraparound for inexpensive programming like the black-and-white Looney Tunes from Guild Films, Betty Boop and Koko the Klown cartoons. Alas, there's no Koko or Betty here, but there are a set of uncensored Looney Tunes featuring Bosco and his dog Bruno ("Bosco and Bruno"), odd Porky Pig shorts ("Porky's Tire Trouble"), Buddy the dog ("Buddy the Woodsman," 1934).
Lots of plugs for Cocoa Marsh ("Name the Lion" contest), among other products. Johnson sings in a pleasing baritone, in a solid country-and-western mode ("Close Your Sleepy Eyes, Little Buckaroo," "Over the Rainbow" on guitar), and the reproduction quality is amazingly good considering the age of the material (Dumont went out of existence in 1955-56), but what really makes this show interesting is the interruptions--several of the Looney Tunes are broken up by in-house promos for other Dumont shows, including Grandpa's Place (see above), with host Lee Reynolds stepping out of character, and Jean Ramsay explaining her Weather Wheel spot.
Apparently the BILLY JOHNSON SHOW was sent out as a live feed, and this was inter-cut with promo spots to sponsors, with the hosts making pitches to potential advertisers, who were supposed to see this version of the show privately. Commercials include M&M's candies, Nabisco cereal (with moon men watching a baseball game), One-A-Day Vitamins, Uncle Ben's Converted Rice, the Glen Echo Pool. Two of the puppets sing "Bibbity Bibbity Boo."THE WEATHER WHEEL was an early marketing gimmick to "sell" the weather, ages before such ideas as The Weather Channel, with a national forecast broken down into regions.
Channel-17-Peanut-Gallery- A picture of Bill Webber doing live Good & Plenty candy commercial with his audience youngsters looking on.
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