Before Bob McAllister hosted Wonderama, he did a local TV show in Baltimore called The Bob McAllister Show, which was produced in the mid sixties on station WJZ. Is there any one besides myself that remembers this show? I had the pleasure of being on it back in 1966. I have written WJZ in Baltimore, and of course, nobody there had ever heard of the show. I would be interested in hearing from anyone.
Thanks, Joe Rizzo.
I have a sister much older than I am, with kids who are my age. When we were little, my sister and her husband used toget up earlier than they had to on weekdays to watch a kiddie show called The Bob McAllister Show out of Baltimore, MD. This was prior to Bob's days on Wonderama.
He did a number of characters on the show, even transforming himself from a geeky character into the mighty Mike Fury. He would duck behind furniture on the set and throw his clothes up in the air, then appear with the Mike Fury outfit on.
Eventually, they ran out of changing places on the set and expanded out of it. Once he was changing behind a car in the studio parking lot and a guy came out and drove the car away. The last time I remember him doing the character he changed in a telephone booth near the entrance of a store in downtown Baltimore and was chased down the street by hundreds of kids.
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I noticed the dearth of information about Wonderama on your site. I, too, used to watch it regularly as a child. There was lots of music. One song in particular stood out, it was "The Aardvark song" and went something like this, "Does anybody here have an aardvark? Does anybody here have an aardvark? Everyone here has a right and left ear, but does anybody here have an aardvark?"
I have an LP by Bob McAllister called "Kids Are People Too". The copyright date is 1971 and it was on Roulette Records. One of the comments on the back says that all the songs are written by "Susan & Robin McAllister's daddy: Bob"
The list of songs include: Kids Are People Too, "Fingleheimer stomp", "I wish, I wish (the animal song)", Exercise, "Abracadabra (instrumental)", "Heavy, heavy", "(have you heard any) Good News", "The no, no song (eh-eh- eh)", "The make-up song", and "Ecology".
- Randy Ralston
I grew up in Washington, DC in the early 60's and watched Bob McAllister's show on WJZ TV 13 from Baltimore. I remember his characters Thurman, Prof. Fingleheimer (Fingleheimer song: "the more you fingle, the less you heimer"). Mike Fury was a super hero character who proclaimed that he was "courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, friendly, brave and a goody".
When Bob left for Wonderama, WJZ did a final show in which Bob talked about the Mike Fury character. In order to make him fly, they strapped him to the top of a Westinghouse van and drove around the Baltimore beltway. Supposedly the van was only available once a year so all flying was taped on that day.
The Baltimore show was fun and I felt that Bob lost something when he moved to Wonderama in New York. There was no real mention of his death in the Baltimore Sun other than a few short lines and then no mention of his work on WJZ.
The Washington Post, in an article surprisingly larger than the Baltimore Sun, mentioned his role on Wonderama, as well as work in Baltimore and Norfolk.
My parents sent in a ticket request when I was eight years old. I got my ticket and went on the show when I was 14. I felt like an idiot sitting in the middle of the audience with kids whose requests must have been put in when they were still in the womb. I have to admit though that I had a great time. Until I had to go back to high school the next day and face my friends who had seen me on the show waving my hands back and forth at the opening of the show like I was trying to guide a 747 to the runway.
I'm 38 years old now, I went to my 20 year class reunion this past November and guess what the first topic of conversation was when I got there. And I've still never seen an aardvark.
- Tom Larkin
I grew up in the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC, where, on the few television channels we received, was the local Metromedia affiliate that carried "Wonderama." Always a big fan of Bob McAllister, Wonderama was the only kids' program to watch on Sunday morning, other than the claymation religious cartoon, "Davey and Goliath."
In early 1967, while getting ready for school, I tuned in a Baltimore, MD, station that was broadcasting a weekday children's show featuring Bob McAllister. Tuning in the fuzzy Baltimore stations from Northern Virginia was difficult at best, but, back then, another city's programming was so mysterious and exciting, it was like I was viewing Mars.
On this particular day, McAllister was romping through the streets of Baltimore in his "Mike Fury" costume. At the time, anything "remote" or out-of-the-studio broadcasts was rare for local programming. It was so entrancing to a eight year old, that to this day I haven't forgotten it...
I can still recall the Mike Fury song, "Are you a goodie? Mike Fury is a goodie." Mike Fury, I'll miss you...
- Michael Jordan
When I was a kid in the mid 1960's, my father worked at WJZ TV in Baltimore and got me on 'The Bob McAllister Show' when I was about three. On my own appearance I followed him around and asked him so many questions he could hardly do the show. My father told me that he once ran into McAllister after a taping and McAllister described that day's group of kids this way: "They weren't just shitting in their own pants, they were shitting in EACH OTHER'S pants..."
- a reader
I too remember Bob from his morning shows on WJZ in Baltimore in the 60's. His Mike Fury bit was a fav in my school. I think he even showed "Diver Dan" shorts on the show. I'm sure he showed those goofy Mighty Hercules cartoons ("Herc, Herc! Wait for me! said the centaur).
Bob also hosted an afternoon adult program called People Are Talking while at WJZ. It was your basic man on the street interview show filmed at Lexington Market and other local places. Kind of like talk radio today. It was the coolest show on when I was in seventh grade. Bob would occasionally sing his song, "I Want To Take a Bath in Bath, New York, the Cleanest City in the State." :-)
Bob was a great magician, and you could run into him on Saturday afternoons at Phil Thomas's Yogi's Magic Mart on Charles Street. I was also way into performing magic tricks in seventh grade too. Bob created some very cool tricks. One I remember buying from Phil and performing was a color changing scarf trick in a spotted can. You'd have to see it, but it was a funny trick. We would watch Wonderama after he went to NY, but those shows never quite clicked with my Junior High crowd.
Baltimore television of the 50's and 60's was pretty good. We had the Buddy Dean dance show after school (I dated one of the dancers, Faith Worschofsky. She wore long, blonde hair that was ironed straight! And VERY short skirts!) John Waters immortalized the show in Hairspray, changing the name to The Corny Collins Show. And then there was that strange little 15 minute show after the news on WBAL with these really clever puppets. It was called Sam & Friends brought to you by Eskay. The puppeteer behind the show's name was Jim Henson-- I wonder what ever became of him?
- Mark Salditch
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