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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Your Guide to DC Children's TV Show

I was looking for something about DC kids' TV shows and found this post from 2008 and decided to put it up again. This may be one more sign of this blogs creeping senescence; soon every post will be about how great something was that happened on the blog two years ago.

Though I was born in Baltimore, I grew up in and around DC. And one of the things that struck me as a child about the Capital of the Free World was the number and complexity of local TV kid's shows. These are the ones I remember best, though I'm sure I'm leaving some off the list (hello, Pick Temple).

The local TV newsman/broadcasting-personality who puts on a silly costume and stands in front of a cardboard set to introduce ancient cartoons and Three Stooges shorts is something kids today just don't have access to and I think they're the poorer for it. These shows were central to our daily routine and the local stations put a lot of love and work into them. Well, some. When you only have six or so channels available on your TV then each one has a more distinict personality, and these shows were a large part of it.

When I was about seven I got to be on Ranger Hal (I was wearing a kilt; long story) and, instantly if briefly, my status in the neighborhood shot up. I remember one kid asking me if I got to meet Felix the Cat, whose cartoons were a fixture on Ranger Hal, and I had to let him down gently as to Felix the Cat's incorporeality. I don't think he believed me.

And I think appearing on these shows probably did the TV newsman/broadcasting-persornality a lot of good too. If someone like say, I don't know, Bill O'Reilly had a half-dozen seasons in a clown wig and giant bowtie back early in his career he might be more grounded today.

14 comments:

Gregg said...

Thanks for that, Richard. My sister was on the Pick Temple show once. He asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. She said "A ghost!"
(Well, it was around Halloween.) Those were great shows.

SilberBook-Blog said...

Great cartoon, Richard! Brought me back to my New England days racing home from school to watch "The Uncle Gus Show" show those Dick Tracy cartoons and play games with the live audience. "Willie Whistle", "Boomtown" and the local "Bozo" were also faves of my mispent youth!

Chris said...

So what was the answer to the Bozo question at the end?

joe said...

I was on Bozo only ONCE, I swear, and it was probably my brother anyway who was sitting next to me and got WAY more air time than I did.

David Hagen said...

Ah!
Who could forget Professor Kool and his Fun School? Captain Chesapeake?
P.W. Doodle? Pete the Pirate?

David Hagen said...

I found a clip!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4HTgHHU2yM

richardcthompson said...

The answer to the Bozo question-

Here's the story as it was told to me by more than one source; kids from the old live Bozo Show audience were up onstage playing a game, I think it was tossinsg pingpong balls into a bucket. One little kid kept missing and said, Aw sh-t, and his comment made it on air. Bozo took him by the shoulder and said (as you found), That's a Bozo no-no. The kid said, Cram it, Clownie. The kid was escorted off-stage and maybe off-set. I hope it's true.

mike flugennock said...

Hot damn, Richard. I didn't think there was anybody left alive around here who remembered any of those people.

Ranger Hal and Captain Tug kind of bored me, though I may have already been a bit too old for them. I mainly watched Captain Tug for the Three Stooges shorts. The Cap'n couldn've have been on at a better time; I fondly remember many an hour spent decompressing from school watching Curly having a tire iron bashed over his head with no effect.

I think you may have forgotten one: Daphne The Witch, an early morning hostess on Channel 5, who hosted ancient Bugs Bunny cartoons and sent me off to school with a decent attitude.

Technically, though, Count Gore DeVol and Sir Graves Ghastly were adolescent memories for me, as I first saw Sir Graves in late '70, and Count Gore around '71 or '72. I always loved Count Gore's obvious pride in the fact that almost every movie he ever showed was some nasty old Grade B turkey. He was taken off around '79ish, but due to popular demand he was brought back for a few years around '86 or '87 -- and yes, there I was, all of thirty years old, hunkering over the TV with a beer, watching the Count Gore DeVol Show.

richardcthompson said...

I did that too. I saw the Count, aka Dick Dyzel, from a distance in 09 at the SDCC but I was too in awe to approach him. Also he was scary looking.

Mini-Curso said...

That's your obscenity? In a kid's show in Brazil in the 80's (or late 70's) a little girl felt like telling the host a joke. It went a little like that: "What's the difference among a turtle, a ship and a bamboo?"

The answer is that a turtle has it shell (casco) up, and a ship has its hull (casco) down.

"What about the bamboo?" said the host.

"Shove it up your asshole," said the sweet girl (and bamboo and asshole rhyme!).

richardcthompson said...

I've got to find a way to work this stuff into a strip.

Woodrowfan said...

There is a website dedicated to these shows. I used to love "Uncle Orrie" on Dayton, Ohio's WHIO.

http://www.captainerniesshowboat.com/kidsshowhost.html

Potato Queen and Mulch Boy said...

Captain 20!!! The man who brought me Ultraman and Speed Racer. Ah, those were the days...

bozoette said...

I was on Ranger Hal when I was 9! I was one of the prize winners who got to pick a toy from the Toy Mountain - but Ranger Hal almost forgot to give me my turn. Since I was the last kid to pick, all of the toys I really wanted (the doll, the rock collection set, the cool games) were already gone. I didn't think we could fit the huge swing set into the car, so I chose a lame toy adding machine. It broke within a week. I was on Bozo too - the Willard Scott days. Just before Bozo came over to start the show, he walked by the parents seats and said, "This is a hell of a way to make a living." Yay Bozo! My sister and I also watched a lot of Countdown Carnival with Bill Gormley - another souce for the Stooges and Rocky/Bullwinkle cartoons.