Discovering Rootie Kazootie

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In 1974 I was working as a production assistant on the first Death Wish movie starring Charles Bronson when I had my first Rootie Kazootie experience. I was in search of a warehouse to rent in New York’s Greenwich Village area to build sets for the film. I walked into a large empty storage facility that had just been cleaned up. All that remained in the space was a garbage can filled with trash, pieces of wood and plaster, but stuck on top of the pile like a star on a Christmas tree was a thirty minute metal 16mm film reel. 

 

What was it? I knew if you let out some of the film leader that right before the countdown begins there will be the name of the show scratched onto the celluloid. When I reached the point my heart did skipped a boomer beat, because there was the name of The Rootie Kazootie Club. The last time I remember watching the Rootie Kazootie show was when I was three or four years old and now I’m twenty four.

There wasn’t much I did remember about the show or characters other than having a set of Rootie Kazootie Playing cards, Golden Books, Comics and memories. When I held the first image to the light, well there he was I recognized the puppet character it was Rootie Kazootie himself holding a Powerhouse candy bar candy bar in his hand.

​I questioned the person renting the space figuring it might have been a storage facility for films. Wouldn’t that be great, but it wasn’t.  All I know was that print was coming home with me.

 

It was the first time I experienced a live uncut children’s show I only remembered as an image in my mind of the lead characters.  Rootie was a typical early children's series with games, songs, prize contests, and a resident troupe of hand puppets.

 

This was one of the first of many 16mm kinescopes of television shows and commercials I uncovered and brought to the Paley Center for Media to be transferred to video during the analog era.