Pioneers of Television: Season 2, Episode 4

Local Kids' TV (8 Feb. 2011)

TV Episode  |   |  Documentary
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In the early years of U.S. television, virtually every local station had a locally produced program aimed at children. For the most part, they had several things in common: they were ... See full summary »


(as Steven J. Boettcher)


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Episode credited cast:
Gordon L. Berry ...
Himself / Guest Villain on Captain Video
Himself (archive footage)
Pinto Colvig ...
Bozo the Clown (voice) (archive footage)
Herself / Sesame Street Producer
Himself / Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids
Himself / Beany and Cecil Show
Narrator (voice)
Susan Harmon ...
Himself / Kermit the Frog from The Muppets (archive footage)
Sharon Kelley ...
Herself / Director of Wally and Ladmo Show
Mary Ann King ...
Herself / Romper Room
Marlene Manderfield ...
Herself / Romper Room
Himself / Puppet Hotel


In the early years of U.S. television, virtually every local station had a locally produced program aimed at children. For the most part, they had several things in common: they were broadcast live, operated on a shoestring budget, had a central character (often a clown), included puppets and a live studio audience made up of local children. Shows such as Bozo the Clown (1959) and The Wallace and Ladmo Show (1954) ( also known as the Wallace and Ladmo Show) made celebrities of Chuck McCann, Pat McMahon and Willard Scott. By the 1960s, Jim Henson had his own take on puppets, which he called Muppets, which became nationally known with the advent of Sesame Street (1969). One major innovation was to franchise a children's show for local production. Perhaps the most successful program of this type was Romper Room and Friends (1953) which at its peak was being produced in over 100 locations. For Bill Cosby, his Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (1972) was the first platform for African-American... Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

8 February 2011 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Did You Know?


Although uncredited, this episode features footage from the local Atlanta, Ga. edition of "The Popeye Club". See more »


Features Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

A noble effort in many ways
19 February 2011 | by (NYC, United States) – See all my reviews

This show was a real blast from the past with some terrific interviews, clips, and re-enactments. It not only brought back many childhood memories, but also added some very interesting back stories. It is not easy to compress a good 25 years of anything into 60 minutes, but even still, the omissions in this program were almost glaring at times. Chicago was pretty much overlooked with no mentions of Super Circus and Claude Kirshner, nor Kukla, Fran & Ollie. Chuck McCann was unquestionably the "dean" of NYC kids (and "kidult") shows and got a fine nod here, but Sandy Becker, Sonny Fox, and Soupy Sales were passed over. Then there was no mention of icon "Miss Francis" and Ding-Dong School. A very good effort in many ways, but oddly skewed away from 2 cities where kids' TV was really born. Let's hope Ken Burns or someone else revisits this subject in a 90 - 120 minute format.

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