Fondly Remembered Children’s Shows

As folks have probably figured out by now, I have in interest in children’s television, more particular children’s television in my era: the era of kid show hosts, saturday morning cartoons, and non-educational programs. Thus, I read with interest Tim Goodman’s column in the San Francisco Chronicle where he talks about the “Best Kids Shows Ever”. His list, if you haven’t read the article, is:

  1. “Little Bear”
  2. “Harold and the Purple Crayon”
  3. “Maisy”
  4. “Avatar: The Last Airbender”
  5. “Arthur”
  6. “The Backyardigans”
  7. “Blues Clues”
  8. “The PowerPuff Girls”
  9. “Clifford the Big Red Dog”
  10. “Rolie Polie Olie”
  11. “Postman Pat”
  12. “Charlie and Lola”
  13. “George Shrinks”
  14. “Pingu” and “Miffy”
  15. “Between the Lions”
  16. “Thomas the Tank Engine”
  17. “Rugrats”
  18. “Word Girl”
  19. “Franklin”
  20. “Jakers!”

Now, I only know a few shows on this list. But it got me thinking….

What are your most fondly remembered Children’s Television Shows?

Here’s my list. I’d love to see yours:

  1. Sheriff John’s Lunch Brigade”. I have very fond memories of this show — not of the cartoons, but of the host (John Roveck), his warmth and honesty that came across. His credos really became a philosophy.
  2. Hobo Kelly”. Another kid’s host of the 1970s, Hobo Kelly (Sally Baker) just explored imagination in such a creative way — one that in many ways was ahead of her time.
  3. Pee-Wees Playhouse”. No, I didn’t watch this as a kid, and at times it was even annoying. But is was creative and innovative and explored what made kids kids — in a way that shows really don’t do today.
  4. Electric Company”. I was too old to get into Sesame Street, but I did admire and remember the Electric Company. Innovative graphics, catchy songs, all doing learning in a fun way.
  5. Schoolhouse Rock”. Again — an innovative way to teach and learn… with some remarkable artists, including Ahrens and Flaherty, who went on to Broadway.
  6. Dustys Treehouse”. Another local show, one that I remember more for its gentleness than anything else.
  7. Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney”. Paul Winchell was a ventriloquist, inventor, … you name it (he actually invented what became the artificial heart). He had a puppet show on KABC (although at points it was national) that was my generation’s Charlie McCarthy. Very, very good.
  8. Rocky and Bullwinkle”. Low budget animation, but inspired humor aimed at all ages. Anything from Jay Ward studios was excellent.
  9. Beany and Cecil”. The animated version; I’m too young to remember the live action one with Stan Freberg. Still, inspired writing.
  10. Magic Schoolbus”. A more modern show, but one that did an excellent job of integrating science into things.
  11. Rugrats”. Rugrats had its moments, but what I remember most about it, before it became over-popular, was that it was about the only show that thought to do specials regarding the Jewish holidays.
  12. Shari Lewis and Lambchop”. Most folks will only remember the last incarnation (with the song that never ends), but the original was excellent, and had great humor. I don’t have as fond memories of Kukla, Fran, and Ollie. But Shari Lewis….
  13. Soupy Sales”. Again, just inspired silliness. And puns, you mustn’t forget the puns.

There are other shows I remember, but more for the schlock than anything else. These would be shows like “Shazam”/“Isis”, almost anything from Sid and Marty Krofft (e.g., “H.R. Pufnstuf”, “Liddsville”), the horrible Gilligan’s ripoffs (“Far Out Space Nuts”), and of course, the various modern day equivalents.