Friday, February 25, 2011

Early Entertainment!

Is there anything more precious than a young child's mind? Everything is brand new! From a Jack-in-the-box to a dinosaur story, from a robin's egg to counting pennies, from a wiggly worm to falling snowflakes, the world is amazing and full of wonderful experiences.

Our writing often strives to entertain and educate, no matter what subject fills the pages. And early television for children employed this creative idea, as well. It was friendly, funny, and just plain goofy. Exactly what audiences of all ages loved. Not cartoons...but real people who demonstated various responses to all kinds of situations. Not fairy tales, but life experiences and how to react to them.

When I first taught kindergarten Sesame Street was controversial! It was too loud, too busy, full of too many characters, jumped from one scene to flashing numbers and letters. Would a child be able to keep up, make sense of it, know what was really the purpose of a particular skit?

But then the viewpoint changed. Kids loved it! The show was well written, showed children things they otherwise would not have seen, and best of all it snuck in learning! And adults found out they liked it, too! Oscar, Cookie Monster, Elmo, Big Bird and a gazillion muppet characters. Who could resist such a stellar cast?

Funny now, when you think about how fast our world and the world of kiddies today revolves with booming technology, ebooks, e picture books, and go, go, go all the time.

How well do you remember educational children's television shows that you loved? Mr. Rogers, Captain Kangaroo, Howdy Doody, Sesame Street, Ding Dong School, Kookla, Fran and Ollie, plus there were often local ones, too.

I watched Big Bill and Oomagog (a robot), and I was on The Uncle Hiram Show on the Fourth of July. I performed with another eight-year-old. We sang AND danced to I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy and You're a Grand Old Flag. We even had canes. It was way, way back, even before color TV!

Let's play TV for Tots Trivia!
1. What was the name of the postman on Mr. Rogers?
2. Who was the shop keeper who passed away on Sesame Street?
3. What was the name for the seated children on Howdy Doody?
4. Who was the most famous puppet held by Shari Lewis?
5. What was the clown's name on Howdy Doody?
6. Why did Mr. Rogers wear sweaters on his show?
7. Who wore bib overalls on Captain Kangaroo?
8. What was the name of the host on Howdy Doody?
9. What song, sang by Ernie on Sesame Street, became a hit?
10. Who was the ruler in the Mr. Rogers Neighborhood of Make-Believe?
How do you rate?
7-10 right and you love kiddy TV
3-6 right and you are probably under the age of 40
0-2 right and you are so, so much younger than I am!

1. Mr. McFeely
2. Mr. Hooper
3. The Peanut Gallery
4. Lamb Chop
5. Clarabelle
6. His mother knitted every single one.
7. Mr. Greenjeans
8. Buffalo Bob
9. Rubber Ducky
10. King Friday
Stand by and stay tuned!


  1. I loved all those shows, in spite of flunking the quiz!

    My favorite song was Ernie singing "I Don't Want to Live on the Moon"

  2. Ernie singing this song is darling. I've never seen it before and don't think I've ever seen his feet before, either. Thanks, Miriam.