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In a recent column, we mentioned some facts related to 1950s and 1960s television shows that included some medium-difficulty trivia questions.
A reader contacted me and said he enjoyed the article, although I had not gone deep enough and had omitted lots of good stuff on a subject he knew plenty about.
To correct my error and try to please everyone, allow me to try again with more early TV trivia.
Instead of handling this as a straightforward trivia quiz, let’s do things differently by simply listing a few trivial facts from several shows of that era.
We will concentrate only on Saturday morning TV shows.
Among the main Saturday morning shows I watched were “Sealtest Big Top,” sponsored by Sealtest dairy products that included Ed the Clown, who I found out many years later was talk show host Johnny Carson’s sidekick, Ed McMahon.
Another favorite was “Circus Boy,” a show centered on a young boy named Corky whose parents had been killed in a trapeze accident and he had hung on with the circus.
Corky, who had a pet elephant named Bimbo, was played by Micky Dolenz, then known as Micky Braddock, who was later to become one of The Monkees singing group.
“Circus Boy” was sponsored by Campbell’s Soup Co. with one of the ads being the one that went “Mmm, mmm, good, mmm, mmm good, that’s what Campbell’s soups are, mmm, mmm, good.”
The circus was named Burke and Walsh Circus and it was owned by Big Tim Champion.
Another main character on the show was Joey the Clown played by Noah Beery Jr.
Probably my absolute favorite Saturday morning offering was “Superman,” which opened with the following narration:
“Kellogg’s, the greatest name in cereals, presents the “Adventures of Superman!
“Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
“Look, up in the sky — it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superman.
“Superman, the strange visitor from another planet, who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way.”
I’m almost ashamed something like this has remained stuck in my brain, but I guess it’s like that song you hear on the morning radio and you can’t get it out of your mind for the rest of the day.
The name of the newspaper where Superman/Clark Kent worked was the Daily Planet and the editor was Perry White.
The imaginary city where the show took place was Metropolis.
“Sky King,” another Saturday morning program, was about an Arizona rancher named Schuyler, pronounced Skyler, King who owned a small twin-engine airplane named “Songbird.”
King had a niece named Penny and a nephew named Clipper.
The show was sponsored by Nabisco and included the ad: “You darn tootin’, we like Fig Newtons.”
“Howdy Doody” was a Saturday morning show that starred Howdy Doody, a wooden marionette puppet, and the show’s host, Buffalo Bob Smith, who opened each episode by asking the crowd of children in the viewing audience, known as the peanut gallery, “Hey kids, what time is it?”
Now, for some trivia:
a. In what imaginary town did “Howdy Doody” take place?
b. Who played the character of Clarabell the Clown?
c. Who were sponsors of the show?
d. What was the name of the Indian princess?
e. What was the phrase often muttered by Chief Thundercloud?
Answers; a. Doodyville b. Bob Keeshan, who later played Captain Kangaroo, also on Saturday morning. c. Several, including Wonder Bread and Kellogg’s Rice Krispies. d. SummerFall WinterSpring. e. “Kowa Bunga.”
Keith Barnes, a Wilson storyteller and author, is news editor of the Kenly News, where this column originally appeared.