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:
- “Little Bear”
- “Harold and the Purple Crayon”
- “Avatar: The Last Airbender”
- “The Backyardigans”
- “Blues Clues”
- “The PowerPuff Girls”
- “Clifford the Big Red Dog”
- “Rolie Polie Olie”
- “Postman Pat”
- “Charlie and Lola”
- “George Shrinks”
- “Pingu” and “Miffy”
- “Between the Lions”
- “Thomas the Tank Engine”
- “Word Girl”
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:
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “Schoolhouse Rock”. Again — an innovative way to teach and learn… with some remarkable artists, including Ahrens and Flaherty, who went on to Broadway.
- “Dustys Treehouse”. Another local show, one that I remember more for its gentleness than anything else.
- “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.
- “Rocky and Bullwinkle”. Low budget animation, but inspired humor aimed at all ages. Anything from Jay Ward studios was excellent.
- “Beany and Cecil”. The animated version; I’m too young to remember the live action one with Stan Freberg. Still, inspired writing.
- “Magic Schoolbus”. A more modern show, but one that did an excellent job of integrating science into things.
- “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.
- “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….
- “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.