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Kids' TV: The First 25 Years
by Stuart Fischer

Category: Sports/Entertainment
Description: In a freshly revisited and important text, Stuart Fischer summarizes the golden age of Kids' TV with entries for every important children's television program which aired between 1947 and 1972. It's a nostalgic journey that highlights the programs of imagination and creativity which influenced the baby boom generation and their children, listing important factual information for everything from "Howdy Doody" to "Sealab 2020."
eBook Publisher: E-Reads, 2005
eBookwise Release Date: July 2005


Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [343 KB]
Words: 66286
Reading time: 189-265 min.

"Stuart Fischer's book is a must for everybody and anybody who grew up with television ... Professionals who work in the television industry as well as the millions of Americans who grew up watching shows chronicled here, will find reading KIDS' TV to be a most stimulating experience."--Bill Hanna, Hanna-Barbera Productions

"KIDS' TV takes the reader on a nostalgic trip along the byways of children's television--where all the sights are amusing or amazing, but never, ever dull."--Stan Lee, Creator of Spider-Man.

1946--1947 Season
Birthday Party

Thursday, 7:30-8:00pm; Dumont

Debut: 5/15/47; Cancellation; 6/23/49

Producer: George Schreck

Hosts: Ted Brown, Bill Slater (1947); Aunt Grace (1948)

This show offered weekly birthday parties for visiting youngsters from the audience. All the necessary ingredients were here: ice cream and cookies; games and performances by talented youngsters. And of course, a cake.

The simple stories told on the show were tailored to preschool children. Ted Brown frequently dressed as King Cole, and the show was known informally as "King Cole's Birthday Party" for that reason. Children sent in photos and information about themselves in the hope that George Schreck would pick them from the hundreds of applicants.

Surprise guests included the Mayor of New York, Vincent Impelliteri. The show evolved into the much different "Star Time". The spin-off originally aired on NBC and later went to Dumont.

George Schreck, who also produced "Star Time", was responsible for two variety series; "Doorway to Fame" and "Boardwalk". Schreck is now an artists' manager and has been involved in the careers of such people as Connie Francis, Bernadette Peters (then known as LaZare), Barry Gordon and Leslie Uggams. All had at one time appeared on "Birthday Party".

Juvenile Jury

Thursday, 8:00-8:30pm; NBC; CBS

Debut:4/3/47; Cancellation; 10/3/53 (NBC)

Return: 10/11/53; Cancellation; 9/14/54 (CBS)

Return: 1/2/55; Cancellation; 3/27/55 (NBC)

Producers: Jack Barry, Dan Enright

Host/Announcer: Jack Barry

This children's game show featured a panel of five youngsters who were asked to give opinions on how to solve a given problem. These problems would be suggested to the panel either by the studio audience or by viewers.

Jack Barry and co-producer Dan Enright developed the concept at New York radio station WOR. Barry had been active in radio, having worked for a number of stations in Chicago and Trenton, New Jersey. "Juvenile Jury" originated as a radio series in 1946 and was broadcast by the Mutual Broadcasting System. It transferred to network television in 1947 as a 16-week summer series and subsequently went on to become a prime-time success. This game show has the distinction of being the first commercially sponsored network series, with General Foods as the sponsor. It left prime-time in 1954 but continued on Sunday afternoons until 1955.

"Juvenile Jury" served as the launching pad for Barry's and Enright's television careers. They went on to create "Winky Dink and You" (1953-54) again hosted by Jack Barry. Their company, Barry & Enright Productions, has produced many successful game shows, including "Tic Tac Dough", "The Joker's Wild" and "Twenty One". Barry and Enright recently entered motion pictures with the successful "Private Lessons".

Small Fry Club

Tuesday, 7:00-8:00pm; Dumont

Debut: 3/11/47; Cancellation; 6/15/51

Producer: Bob and Kay Emery

Host: Bob Emery

In 1947 Big Brother Bob Emery moved into television from a successful radio programming career. The Dumont Network, headed by Alan B. Dumont, competed fiercely with other networks for a young audience, one that would maintain an allegiance to the fourth network as it grew to maturity.

"Movies For Small Fry" presented film classics, narrated by Emery. With the move to a daily schedule for the show's format was altered to that of a "club", participated in by a young studio audience. The program offered a diversity of entertainment, including cartoons, sketches, songs and after 1949, puppet shows. Every character or situation contributed to the upright moral stance adopted by Bob and his wife Kay. Segments dealt with manners, self-discipline, health and nutrition.

The show enjoyed widespread popularity. It was difficult to obtain spectator tickets. At the close of its network run, Emery returned to station WBZ in Boston, where he hosted "The Big Brother bob Emery Show".

Prior to joining Dumont, emery had created and hosted a radio show, "Triple B Ranch", which introduced Buffalo Bob Smith, to television. Smith went on to host the highly successful "Howdy Doody" (1947/48). Emery also hosted a local New York television show called "The Rainbow Club". This "amateur hour" introduced, among others, Vic Damone and Beverly Sills.

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