Kid’s TV Hosts from the 50’s and 60’s.   8 comments

TV SetToday I just wanted to remember the forgotten hosts of the shows we all watched as kids.
I guess I should start with “Hey kids, what time is it?” When we hear that we all know the answer, “Its Howdy Doody time.” Buffalo Bob Smith and Clarabell along with a Howdy, other puppets and the kids in the Peanut Gallery would invite us all to spend some time in Doodyville. Captain Kangaroo had Mr. Green Jeans and his own puppets. His show lasted almost forty years. He entertained some kids whose parents and grandparents had watched him as children. Let’s not forget “The Mickey Mouse Club” the host was Jimmy Dodd a very talented and under rated man but we all really watched it because everyone had a crush on Annette.
They were great, but right now I want to talk about the smaller shows. The hosts that don’t come right to mind but will I hope be remembered with a smile. Remember “Andy’s Gang” with Andy Devine and Froggy. “Plunk your magic twanger, Froggy” was funny to us as little kids and became even funnier as teenagers. Let’s not forget Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop. She was spun off from Captain Kangaroo and found her own place with us.
We also had the uniformed hosts. There was Claude Kirschner and Clowny. Claude was the ringmaster of Terry-toon circus in New York for ten years. Claude was always hampered by bean counting TV execs and low budgets but he made his shows entertaining and informative for kids despite them.
We had the “Merry Mailman” Ray Heatherton. Ray had been an accomplished Broadway actor serving with the Marines in WWII. When he returned he began hosting early television talk shows. This only lasted until his last TV show ended in 1988.
Officer Joe Bolton’s time in broadcasting went from 1927 until 1975. His beat on the kid’s shows started with the Little Rascals. When the station lost those rights he hosted the Three Stooges. He seemed to really care about the kids who watched his show.
Cap’n Jack McCarthy not only hosted Popeye cartoons he became New York institution hosting the St. Patrick’s Day Parade for 42 years.
I can’t end this without mentioning Wonderama with Sandy Becker and then Sonny Fox. Funny men no matter what you age. I think most kids in New York appeared on the show at one time or another.
Anyway that’s all I have to say today. This was a different blog but I just wanted to mention these hosts that helped shape a generation of New York kids. They are gone now but will not truly be forgotten as long as we are around.

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8 responses to “Kid’s TV Hosts from the 50’s and 60’s.

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  1. I remember watching all these shows. It takes us back in time to when we had to get up to change the channel, and we would be hearing our mother cooking, cleaning or talking in the background. They were innocent times that the next generation will never know.

  2. I remember two more hosts. “Uncle Fred “had a show on channel 13 Mon-Fri @ 5 PM. He showed old “Farmer Gray” B & W cartoons as well as serials like Flash Gordon ,Tim Tyler’s Luck, Zorro and Don Winslow. Another memory is of a man named Ray Forrest . He was on NBC channel 4 0n Saturday Mornings @ 9 AM . Ibelieve it was called The Children’s Theater”. Showed mostly cartoons. These shows were on in the early 50’s . Anybody else remember them?

    • Harry, I couldn’t mention them all. Soupy Sales should be in there and I should have also added Zacherley. He was an unusual host and romper room with so many different hosts. I am glad you mentioned more. Question for those reading this. Who was your favorite.

  3. I still have an autographed photo of Jack McCarthy, but all the shows were great.

  4. We had alot of great kids tv hosts/performers..who really knew how to entertain,inform and educate the
    kids..who watched the shows at home and..more often than not..those programs that also had a studio
    audience. These local NYC based kids tv mc’s never talked down to or acted phony to their viewers..they
    really knew how to treat us right,to entertain and inform us and to instill good values. It was a time that was
    really special and sadly..one that we will never see again..because..no one is doing those type of local kids
    tv shows..now.

    • I think they respected their audience. They treated us as kids but not stupid kids. The shows were personal and friendly. The kids shows today are mass produced and sterile. I feel the old hosts cared about the kids who were watching. The new shows are for ratings only.

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