Saturday, January 2, 2016

Suggestion Unboxed - Local Television Programming You Loved

Doug: Back in October we ran a post requesting ideas from our readers. We promised to run all of those suggestions at some point. While we've covered many of them, it's been a while since some of those thoughts graced our blog. Here's another one:

Martinex1 said: I am curious about local television, favorite local programming, and local shows from our childhood?


david_b said...

We didn't have that much for memorable local programming, we did have 'Nightmare Theatre' on Saturday nights in Milwaukee after the news. Just your typical monster movies.

I always enjoyed watching local wrestling and female roller derby with my grandpa on Sunday mornings.

Redartz said...

Hmmm, local programming? First thing that comes to mind is, like david_b, "Nightmare Theater". It was shown on Indy channel 4, on Friday nights. It featured, of course, old horror/science fiction films, but the host was the real draw: "Sammy Terry" (a ghoulish figure dressed in a red cloak with a pet spider and a penchant for macabre puns).

Channel 4 was also the source for other local programming memories: "Popeye and Janie" was the afterschool cartoon show, presenting (obviously) vintage Popeye cartoons. First saw those great old Max Fleisher films there. Then, at lunchtime, there was "Cowboy Bob" who also hosted a cartoon show. Seems like his offerings were Hanna Barbera fare such as Wally Gator, Yogi Bear and the like. Being of school age, I didn't see much of Cowboy Bob, only on 'sick days' at home; usually accompanied by a bowl of soup and some comic books...

The other 3 stations we could pick up were the network affiliates, and I don't recall that much local programming from them. Well, there was "Harlowe Hickenlooper" who showed 3 Stooges films on Saturday mornings. Only in Indiana would you find such a name...

Martinex1 said...

It seems similarity to your "Nightmare Theater" we had "Son of Svengoolie" here in Chicago. Svengoolie was /is a comic ghoul who did all kinds of comedy bits and parody songs interspersed during old horror or monster movies. There were a lot of rubber chickens, talking skulls, and jokes about a suburb Berwyn. Svengoolie hosted a 3D showing of the Creature from the Black Lagoon on TV; that was a big deal that Summer as we had to get the 3D glasses at 7-11 (and it gave me a chance to snag some comic books). The 3D from what I remember was really bad, but it definitely was a great memory.

Here we has WGN and WFLD and the local PBS station that all had some local programming, WGN had by far the most with Bozo, Ray Rayner, and Garfield Goose. The Bozo Show had a lot of skits and audience interaction and games. A buddy won a bike on the Bozo Bucket game. These shows also ran Hanna Barbera and other cartoons. Garfield Goose would show Clutch Cargo, that strange cartoon that had the animated characters with real human lips doing the talking.

There was a kiddy show called Romper Room for the preschool and kindergarten set. My brother and sisters were actually on that show as some of the rotating students and we go to go to the studio.

The Groovy Agent said...

Cincy had some good stuff. Uncle Al on WCPO Channel 9 (CBS wanted Al to go national, but WCPO wouldn't let him go, so CBS had to settle for Captain Kangaroo, instead!) and Skipper Ryle on WKRC Channel 12. They were the classic kids shows with kids, songs, puppets, cartoons, and sometimes guests.

But the best was WXIX Channel 19. From 1969-1973, it was pretty much a kid's dream (wasn't bad after that, either, but more grown-up/classic TV a la the original TV Land). Dennis the Menace; Larry Smith and His Puppets (Hattie the Witch, Hanna-Barbera, Marvel Super-Heroes, Rocket Robin Hood cartoons); Adventures of Superman; Batman; Prince Planet; 8th Man; Ultraman; Twilight Zone; Popeye, the Flintstones, Star Trek--every afternoon/evening from around 2:30-7:00. On the weekends we got Tarzan Theatre, Scream-In (Featuring the Cool Ghoul presenting horror flicks), Lassie, Marine Boy, Cool McCool (co-created by Bob Kane), Hoppity Hooper, Tennessee I said, a kid's dream...

J.A. Morris said...

When I lived in Wyoming, we got Denver station KMGH. Every weekday morning, I watched the Noell and Andy show. Noell was the human who introduced the cartoons, Andy the dragon was a sock puppet she operated. In addition to cartoons like Mighty Mouse and Casper, this show also featured a classic serial Zorro's Fighting Legion, where Zorro battled Don Del Oro:

Fans of local tv shows like that should check out this book:

Redartz said...

Martinex1- by the mid 70's, we had cable, and WGN was one of the stations the cable provider offered in the package. I recall Ray Rayner and Bozo, but mainly remember being excited because they showed the 1967 Spiderman cartoon on weekday afternoons. First time I'd seen those episodes since the original broadcasts, and it was great!

Groove- That WXIX sounds like a kid's dream. Liked your mention of "Cool McCool"; watched that as a youth as well. Actually watched an episode of that show on youtube recently; it reeeeallly took me back. "Danger is my business"...

William said...

Not of lot of local programming when I was growing up (besides the News). The only thing I can remember was a "Creature Feature" on Friday and Saturday late nights that was hosted by a character called "Dr. Paul Bearer". They would mostly show old monster movies like Godzilla, and The Wolfman, and Frankenstein, etc. Much like what David B described in the first post.

On a side note: My next door neighbor (who was in high-school) interviewed Dr. Paul Bearer for his school newspaper and invited my mother, my sister, and myself along for the ride. So, I got to meet the big local celebrity. Unfortunately he turned out to be kind of a jerk who even at that young age (around 7 or 8) I could tell didn't really care for children. LOL

Edo Bosnar said...

I grew up about 30 miles south of Portland, OR, and I don't recall much locally produced kids programming, except for a show that aired on the local ABC affiliate on Sunday mornings called "Bumpity" (the titular character/host was sort of a sock-puppet muppet that was supposed to be a bump on the lawn - seriously). Apparently it was popular enough, as it was on the air the entire time my family lived in Oregon, but I hardly ever watched it - honestly, I found it kind of boring, as the format was kind of like a talk show, with local guests of interest, often kids, coming in to the studio to talk to Bumpity and other muppets. And there were no cartoons.
The only other one I remember, which was pretty popular, was the Ramblin' Rod Show. It went on weekday mornings, and there were cartoons, plus an in-studio audience of little kids. I usually only watched it during summer vacation, though, as it aired right about when I had to get up and get ready for school.
Ramblin' Rod was aired on a station called KPTV (Channel 12) which was apparently kind of the Portland version of Groove's WXIX back in the '70s and '80s: all afternoon and into the evening (i.e., about the time school got out), it aired Warner Brothers cartoons, the Flintstones, and then stuff like Gilligan's Island, Batman, the Brady Bunch, Star Trek, etc., etc. On weekend afternoons, it aired classic horror and Japanese monster (Godzilla, Gamera, etc.) movies.
Later, about when I hit my teens, two UHF stations, one out of Portland and one out of Salem, started up, and they often aired a lot of other cool syndicated programming like Twilight Zone and Outer Limits.

The Prowler said...

A favorite of mine, though not a local program, was the New Zoo Reveu! Loved that show.

More germaine to our area was The Don Mahoney And Jeana Claire show. It was a talent show for kids. After a while it moved to public access. Ran into them in town one time when I was in High School and it was a memory that will last a lifetime!!!

Another local show, though not a kids show, was Dialing For Dollars. There was a big wheel and a jackpot. You had to know the current number and the direction of the spin and the jackpot. The wheel could be spun by pulling down or pushing it up. So it wasn't just Three, it was Three from the Bottom or Three from the Top. And the host would just randomly call numbers out of the phone book!!! I think it ran during the 70s? Good time, good times........

(The floods is threat'ning
My very life today
Gimme, gimme shelter
Or I'm gonna fade away
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away).

dbutler16 said...

Here in Rochester, NY, we had the Buckaroo Club hosted by Ranger Bob. He had humor skits, hand puppets, and introduced cartoons. Ah, the good old day. Apparently, he's now a reverend in Florida.

Brown Bag Comics said...

There was a show in Atlanta that showed comic book pages and with some people doing the voices or just orchestral music playing while each panel was given an appropriate amount of time to be read. It featured almost exclusively Silver-Age DC comics including Adam Strange, and other sci-fi characters. It was the only way to get access to these amazing stories without putting out big dollars. Heck, it even made Space Cabbie and Space Museum seem cool!
Anyone else remember it?

Anonymous said...

If you grew up in the 80s in the Wilmington Delaware area.....

CAPTAIN NOAH, out of Philly (send your pictures, children!)

COMMANDER USA (late Night Flight host, on USA channel)

Chief Half-town

Sondeen, the Magical Clown

the CB Joe show (super low budget infomercial show)

Anyone remember those?

William Preston said...


"Sven" is still on; I don't whether WGN still carries him, but he's on MeTV, the retro station, every Saturday at 10 p.m. (The actor is the second one to play this role.)

Anonymous mentioned Captain Noah and His Magical Ark, which was out of Philly. Growing up near Philly, we additionally had:

Wee Willy Webber (Three Stooges and Ultra Man and cartoons every day after school; Webber was a well known local broadcast personality who showed up at fairs and other events)

Gene London (a strange show: Gene was a young man who lived above and worked in a general store; nearby was haunted Quigley Manor; Gene would tell stories to kids, have little adventures, show some cartoons; in the last episodes I saw, he'd somehow discovered a submarine, and for weeks, his little story failed to advance as he showed fish swimming by the viewscreen; I think the show ended shortly thereafter)

Doctor Shock (Saturday afternoon; old horror and SF movies on one of the UHF stations; he started off scary, then pulled it back, softening his touch, even bringing along his young daughter, Bubbles, to sit on his counter as he hosted the show)

I watched too much TV.


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