1950’s television

Some of my earliest memories are from TV in the 1950’s. I’m sure that I was not the only one who believed the characters we would watch actually resided inside the television set. Yes, they would have to be really small, yet they were so lifelike! How do they do it!


Today I learned that Annette Funicello died. She was an older Mouseketeer on the Micky Mouse Club, but she was beyond cool. She was always the ultimate good girl, which my generation ultimately disdained, what with our innate sense of rebellion in full swing. But as an early role model, Annette was wonderful . . .  warm and kind and pretty. She always got the guy, and did exactly what her parent’s told her to do.

Annette’s death got me thinking about some of the other childhood stars that made an impression on me. Locally in the Washington DC area we had quite a few TV stars: Pick Temple,Image seen here in his totally cool clubhouse, decorated with huge bales of hay, playing his guitar. He also had a horse, but I don’t remember the horse’s name. I really wanted to go on his show, because there were games and contests going on along with the chance to meet Pick. I remember the egg race, with raw eggs balanced on spoons, held by kids trying to be first across the finish line. Never got on.


Sally Star was hosting a similar kids program of cartoons in Philadelphia. Check this great outfit! Who would not love Sally?


Her’s another shot of her. Even as a kid, I sensed that Sally Star was really flirting with the cameramen, or at least having a laugh at our expense. There was just a certain quality about her that seemed insincere. I only watched her when visiting my grandparent’s in New Jersey, so I never explored the Sally myth completely. Philadelphia had some great local TV guys like Larry Ferrei, at his organ again! And Mike Douglas. My grandmother watched both of these shows. Imagine an entire show of some guy playing contemporary favorites on the organ? It was really bad, and yet they gave the man a show! Not exactly Summertime at the Pier.

Back in Washington our local cartoon host was Captain Tugg who lived on his tugboat, the Channel Queen.



Captain Tugg had a mascot, Fantail the Parrot, who would sometimes be kidnapped, so the entertainment was not limited the Popeye cartoons that were shown every weekday.

Baltimore also had a nautical host, Captain Chesapeake.


I never watched this program, but I’m guessing that the shows were similar.

Ranger Hal was another kid show host in Washington:


As you can see, he was on channel 9. I think he had a helicopter, but I could be confusing him with Sky King, the ultimate cool guy who flew around with his niece, Penny, fighting crime.



Finally there is Goulardi, who hosted a friday night Fright Night movie in Cleveland:



This guy pulled out all the stops on his shows & they were terrifically funny and creative. Did you have a local favorite kid show host? Tell me about them.


2 thoughts on “1950’s television

  1. Do you remember a circus show that featured Sealtest San the muscle Man and the beautiful blonde majorette, Mary Heartline? I can’t remember the ringmaster and I don’t know how local it was. But it must have been a least a little local, what with the Sealtest connection.
    My brother got on Pick Temple. I was so jealous. No one would tell me how he finagled that.

    1. The seal sounds sort of familiar, did he balance a ball on his nose? I really wanted to balance things on my fingertips & be a juggler, so seals with balancing tricks would have naturally appealed to me. That is really cool that your brother was on Pick Temple. I was just listening to Fresh Air w/ Annette’s interview. Terry Gross asked about the mouse ears. i had them & a Davy Crockett coonskin cap! I neglected to mention Ronald McDonald who was a local guy, the weather man who later was on the Today show. Willard Scott.

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