Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Darling Sis left a note on my Facebook this morning to tell me that a piece of our childhood had ended. Uncle Al Lewis, a children's television icon from the 1960s and 1970s, died on February 28th.

Oh the hours spent in front of the television watching Uncle Al, Captain Wendy and the other puppets and cartoons....

While I was out trolling around for some footage and photos, I came across this website. If it weren't already so late as I post this, I would be on it for hours, I suspect. As it is, I'm going to be going back to see more of what shaped me and the way I view the world, what I find funny, etc. I'm part of the television generation. There is no doubt about it.

Most metropolitan areas big enough for a couple of television stations had local kids programming (this link has shows from all different cities). Did you watch it? What was it?

Please pass the Mama's cookies and cherry Kool-aid for dunking them. Thanks!

32 comments:

  1. AWWWWe, I feel what you are saying, I was heartbroke when Captain Kangaroo passed.
    We had a similar children's show when I was growing up and it was a sad day when he passed too.
    Rambling Rod, in Portland Oregon.
    He was the shit when I was a kid, back in the Jurassic Period.

    Yer not getting old, I am.

    I can prove it, I have a new drivers license picture.

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  2. Given we didn't come to own a TV until I was in the 5th grade and even then it got all of one channel before we put up the 300 ft antenna, I don't remember any kids shows. Too bad, I think some of them would have been fun. I can vaguely remember seeing some Romper Room at my grandparents - does that count?

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  3. I grew up watching Roddy Mac, who wore a tam-o'-shanter and huge glasses with no lenses. He sang old songs like "Old Lonesome Me", told bad jokes and introduced cartoons. A few years later, another local station showcased Mr. Mustache, a cartoonist with a big pen. No films on that show, just him drawing cartoons and teaching the kids to draw. Oh yeah, he had a big handlebar mustache too. ;-})

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  4. Bustedknuckles - I loved Captain Kangaroo, too. I was glued to the t.v. in the morning and hated it when I finally had to go to school.

    You? Old? Old is always ten years older than what you are at any given moment. That's what my AAARP people taught me back when I worked for them. Heck, my 100 year old grandma still referred to other old people as "old," but never to herself as old. Maybe it's a state of mind?

    Dan - Romper Room definitely counts! I loved that show. I even had those goofy Romper Stompers that you put your feet on and clomped around. And I would sit, rapt with attention waiting for the teacher to see me in her magic mirror.

    Barbara - I love the goofiness of the kids shows back then! Mr. Mustache? How cool that he showed you how to draw!

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  5. Captain Kangaroo, of course. Is there anyone who was a child in the 1960s who didn't watch Captain Kangaroo?

    The first afternoon show I remember is Crusader Rabbit -- 15 minutes before the incredibly short local news program, I think. Never saw any of the shows that so many of my baby boomer contemporaries babble about, like the Mickey Mouse club, Romper Room,or Howdy Doody. The one and only television station in our part of the country didn't carry any of them.

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  6. For kids in Eastern Iowa is was Dr. Max and Mombo. Watched while dunking oatmeal cookies in orange juice. I loved me some Dr. Max and I even wrote him letters.

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  7. Oh man, I completely forget about Uncle Al.

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  8. Wow, I forgot all about local programming for kids. It doesn't exist any more does it.

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  9. I though you meant Al Lewis of the Munsters who died a few years back.

    My favorite was Soupy Sales.

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  10. I actually grew up in a house without a TV. My folks thought of it as a waste of time. I thought of it as cruel and unusual punishment.

    I have since changed my tune.

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  11. this is so pathetic...i feel like i never have anything good to say on your mind jangling, remember when posts....I never watched tv...yes, i know, it's insane but if i watched tv, that meant being in the same room with my 2 little brothers and most likely mom, so i don't remember ever coming out of my room, where i ate, drew pictures of horses(POWER~ you know), arranged the furniture much to my mother's dismay, listened to my little transistor radio and kept my door locked.

    isn't that pathetic? but i'm ok now and i still don't watch tv. ;)

    xoxo

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  12. oops, fabulous banner lisa!!

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  13. I don't get the cowbell thing though...maybe you could just let me know sometime so I can keep up appearances?

    xoxo

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  14. geez, comment hog here...

    I remember ONE show I watched and that was the mickey mouse club..."who's the leader of the club that made for you and me and on and on and on...

    I think I had a crush on someone but I can't remember who.

    maybe I'll go write a post instead of monopolizing your comments?? hmm....
    I'm really leaving this time! xoxo

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  15. hey, I don't feel like the lone ranger here, as I too didn't watch much television. I was always outside playing, or in my room reading a book or daydreaming or something...

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  16. Uncle Al... OMG!! I had totally forgotten about him!! I grew up in Cincy, Lisa.... you?!

    But Captain Kangaroo was my favorite...or so my mom always said... I used to danse in the playpen, apparently....

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  17. Love the new look of the blog!

    I am constantly looking for people who saw "Dusty's Treehouse" back in the late 70s/early 80s. It was AWESOME.

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  18. We had Whizzo the Clown.

    He died a few years back. That was sad for me... I remember going up to be on his show.

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  19. I seem to be a few years younger than most of the people here because I remember different shows. I remember shows like Romper Room and Sesame Street and finally Mr. Rogers neighborhood.

    P.S.- I love the new banner.

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  20. We had Bob McAllister on "Wonderama" in on WTTG-5 in DC, and if you adjusted the rabbit ears just right we could also get "Professor Kool's Fun School on channel 45 in Baltimore.

    Thanks for unexpected the detour down memory lane! You got me to thinking about "Speed Racer," "Kimba the White Lion," and "Johnny Sokko" ! So much so that I even posted my bit of local teevee nostalgia.

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  21. Let's see, in the L.A. area we had Hobo Kelly, Sheriff John, and Billy Barty. A clown, a cop, and a midget. In retrospect, that tells you everything you need to know about me.

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  22. I grew up in s. jersey near Philadelphia. We had a number of local kids' shows. There was Captain Noah, who was a drunk reverend in real life. Sally Starr, who played a cowgirl, but let's just say girl was stretching it. She was a bitter older woman who clearly hated kids. I found her oddly mesmerizing. I think the crew hated her, because when she asked for her mail bag it seemed like they really hauled it at her. Then my favorite: The Gene London Show. The premise was that poor Gene worked for the very greedy, mean Mr. Grundy (I think that was his name) who paid him only a a quarter a day or something to work in his store. How I wished that Gene would slap Mr. Grundy around and walk out. Last I heard, the actor who played Gene moved to NYC and opened a costume store. And yes, the kids didn't know it, but he was flaming. I sometimes get the urge to find out where his store is and go in, just because.

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  23. For me it was Captain Kangaroo, but there I go again, showing my age....

    And ovaltine. We drank lots of ovaline and Vess soda was served when the Miss America pageant was on. For some reason my Mother LOVED that and we always rooted for Miss Iowa who never got anywhere near the top...

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  24. Funny, I was just have childhood TV personality nostalgia the other day and within 24 hours we had news that Miss Betty from Romper Room had passed away. Don't think you had her down in Georgia. But here in frostville, Miss Betty was it

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  25. I don't think they'd allow Captain Kangaroo and Mr Greenjeans on television anymore.

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  26. My brother dated the production assistant for the SF-based Mayor Art Show, so I was on the show a lot.

    Once a week, my bro was supposed to babysit me, and so he took me to the set and let the crew babysit me while he made out with his girlfriend. On the way there, he would tell me a joke to tell on the air (you win prizes for telling a joke). I won board games, and toy cars, and all sorts of great stuff. After a while, they told me I could not win any more prizes.

    When my brother and his girlfriend broke up, that ended my local TV career.

    Regards,

    Tengrain

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  27. As usual, late to the party.

    One day I randomly and separately ran into both Al Lewis and Fred Gwynne on the streets of Manhattan, two blocks apart.

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  28. I remember Captain Kangaroo and Sesame Street and The Electric Company . . . and The Sonny and Cher Show. (Does that count? Remember how they always had Chastity on at the end?)

    To be honest, though, I didn't really enjoy this stuff much. I preferred to read, annoying little swot that I am.

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  29. Nice new header. Someday I'm going to do that too. Just a quick note before I head out for the day. Have a terrific Thursday.

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  30. In Birmingham, we had a guy named Cousin Cliff, who as a matter of fact passed away himself not very long ago.

    In addition to television shows, he did the occasional birthday party, and showed up during the summer library program to do magic tricks for us kids.

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  31. In Cincinnati, one shouldn't forget Colin Male, and his show Colin Callin'. It was more sedate than Uncle Al. I remember his singing "Sixteen Tons", and that's about it.

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  32. office joe bolton of course! (in NYC) and i was actuallyh on Wonderama.... with Sonny Fox not the crummy Bob McAllister version ("kids are people too")

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