Re: Captain Satellite, Mayor Art and other kid's TV hosts06/04/06
posted by Gary Meyer
Captain Fortune was played by John Gagny (spelling) and one of the things I most remember was him letting the kids draw a squiggle and then offer to make it into whatever thing the "artist" requested. I used to try it too. His opening had him stepping off a 3 masted ship at Fisherman's Wharf and onto a Cable Car to ride to the studio. I have also read that a local artist/author named Peter Abenheim may have also played the character.
Capt. Satellite (Bob March) was preceded by Skipper Sedley (Bruce Sedley also was King Fuddle)at KTVU. I remember the Space Ship play structure "built by Capt. Satellite" at the north end of Lake Merritt near the current freeway. We begged our parents to drive us from Napa to play on it.
BROTHER BUZZ was another local show that had some national impact. It had rough animation intro and marionettes. You can actually watch a clip at: http://firstname.lastname@example.org. It was an educational show that captured our imagination. Brother Buzz actually has been the spokesperson for the Latham Foundation since 1927. http://www.latham.org/history.html
Mayor Art was very hip.At some point I think he also looney Tunes. He was even more impressive when he started the daily, pre-Far Side, comic panels for "Art's Gallery" in the Chronicle. They were off-beat and funny.
George Lemont played Fireman Frank and I think that show had Scat the Cat, Robbie the Robot and Carl the Carrot (a real carrot with eyes and mouht stuck on), odd puppets operated by Skinny hiding in a pit.
How about King Norman. The show was from his Toy Store on Clement Street and there was nothing more appealing than the possibility of having your birthday party with his Kingdom. He also show Flash Gordon serials. They were amazing for a little kid to watch.
Marshall J ("I'm lonesome but happy, rich but I'm broke, and the good Lord knows the reason, I'm just a cowpoke" was popular.
Around Christmas there was an inane show where Happy Holly brought on Santa Clause and every weeklday he sat there for 30 minutes and read off names of kids and what they wanted to Christmas. And we sat transfixed hoping we'd be mentioned.
There was a also a Skipper Stu, Bosum Bill (Bill Rase), Cap'n Delta Mitch Agruss followed by Charlie Duncan) and Capt. Sacto (Fred Wade and Harry Martin) in Sacramento (I think every city must have had some kind o Captain hosting a local kid's show). Mitch Agruss also was Cap'n Mitch.
A little later was Captain Cosmic on KTVU playted by Bob Wilkins (Creature Features).
And the first cartoons ever made for TV originated here when Jay Ward (then a Berkeley realtor) got hit by a car. While laid up in the hospital his friend Bill Scott worked with him to create CRUSADER RABBIT (and Ragland D. Tiger). Ward later created ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE, UNDERDOG, GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE,etc. Lucille Bliss was the voice of Crusader.
Few women were Kid show hosts but ROMPER ROOM (with version around the country) was long hosted by Miss Nancy (Besst). And there was a PRINCESS PAT show.
Most of this I remember but some actual names came from : http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:OcWwi9hpQykJ:www.tvparty.com/lostSF.html+captain+sacto&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=13
Some wonderful memories about KPIX hosts and shows at: http://cbs5.com/classic/local_story_034194439.html
Bay Area Puppeteers site http://www.sfbapg.org/history.html also notes:
Television also provided work in the '50s for puppeteers: Ralph Chesse's Willie & the Baron was one of the first live local television shows - on KGO-TV, followed by his Brother Buzz on KPIX. Wolo & Aloysius performed for Red Goose Shoes on KPIX, followed by a spot on KPIX's Morning Show. Lettie Connell was puppeteer on The Looking Glass Lady Show for KRON-TV, as well as Happy Holly commercials for the old White House Department Store. Later Connell inherited Wolo's spot on The Morning Show when Wolo won the Westinghouse Coast Network's competition and went to Hollywood to appear on the Panorama Pacific. Connell's characters were Twinkle & George. Lewis Mahlmann appeared on Hop, Skip & Dance on KQED. Ventriloquist Bruce Sedley appeared on TV with King Fuddle as well as performing regularly at Fairyland. The late John Gilkerson and Denys Adida performed on the local tv show "Buster & Me" with Robin Goodrow, a quality children's program sorely missed when it left the air.
I especially remember Wolo (real name Wolf George Anton Erhardt Trutzschler von Falkenstein). He drew the huge Hippo on the Hippo Hamburger place on Van Ness. Now that is another topic of discussion. What a menu!
Another local host did a Sunday afternoon pop culture show called POW! on KPIX. Rolfe Peterson became a good friend and his Jr. Thunderider to the Rescue club (inspired by the weekly chapter from Gene Autry's PHANTOM EMPIRE) was very popular for several years. Strangely, a google search comes up empty.