share their memories
Rex Trailer hosted "Boomtown" in Boston in the mid-to-late '50's after hosting shows in Philadelphia in the early 1950's.
Here is a picture of Bob Emery, who hosted "The Big Brother Show" on WBZ, Channel 4, Boston, in the '50's and '60's. He was a Boston radio and television celebrity for decades. He headed a club known as "The Small Fry Club".
I remember him in the '50's, having us salute the flag with a glass of milk. We would drink the milk as he played, "Hail to the Chief", and he showed a portrait of President Eisenhower. Sometimes he would gather the kids around and talk or sing... He would play a ukulele or banjo. I believe he read the comics at times.
No one has yet mentioned an old sea captain named Salty Brine, who had the show "Salty Brine's Shack" on Providence, RI television (not Boston, but as a child, I didn't make that distinction). He also doubled as a news or weather anchor in Boston.
- Sincerely, Sherrye Weinstein
THANKS FOR THE PICTURES SHERRYE!
The actor who played the Boston sea captain and "Pablo" was Richard Kilbride.
Additionally, the man who played "Pablo," the first, Mexican sidekick of Rex Trailer, also had his own show on WBZ-TV, also playing a sea captain (like "Salty Brine" did in Rhode Island), and the character's name was "Sandy Beach."
- Jim Moran
Rex Trailer apparently had a strong connection with the Massachusetts Association for Retarded Children (MARC).
Around 1961-1962, he led a wagon train across part of Massachusetts, taking parents of retarded children with him. I have a brother with Down Syndrome, so my mother made a pioneer-style costume or two and went on the wagon train. It ended in Boston, with Boomtown that Saturday being filmed OUTSIDE as the wagon train came home, entering the outdoor studio. I was on Boomtown that day, outside.
My mother got a really nice foot-and-a-half-long plastic wagon train model mounted like a trophy.
I was on Boomtown again later on, probably in 1963, in the usual indoor studio. They tested us for our voices, and my loud voice could reach the microphones, so I was chosen for sheriff.
Everything was indoors and live, with a large TV camera about five feet from my face in the sheriff's office, as I told TV land my name and town of residence (Marblehead, MA, back then).
Rex Trailer really did have a horse named Goldrush. After the "hoofbeats" song, he'd ride about 20 feet or so from behind a fake building in the studio, into an area in front of a fake outdoor backdrop. Pueblo was his partner back then. We also had Critter Corner with an older man showing us live animals.
My second time on Boomtown was quite an education in TV production. I could see the lights hanging from the metal supports near the ceiling, and the buildings that looked so real on TV but were really just indoor props. They set up the monitors knowing the children would look at the monitors, facing the way the cameramen wanted. The theme of the show was "gravity".
How fitting for me to be sheriff on a show with a scientific theme, as I'm currently a university science department chair. By the way, the deputy sheriff and I did not catch the "wanted man". But it was still fun.
- Howard Merken, Chattanooga, TN
Avuncular kid's show host and long-time Rhode Island radio and television personality Walter "Salty" Brine died at his Narragansett home at age 86.
completed his final radio show at WPRO in 1993, after more than 40
years of broadcasting. Lawmakers renamed a Narragansett State Beach
Oh, man! Growing up in Boston, Mass., in the early 60's was a fantastic place for kid's TV shows. Not only did we get to see the national shows mentioned on this website, but we also had our own "local" shows.
Major Mudd was an astronaut, that was supposed to be on a space station. He not only hosted the kid's show, he showed cartoons and had lots of games for the kids in the audience.
Rex Trailer was a cowboy, on a western set, that did pretty much the same thing. He had a sidekick called "Sgt Billy," a U.S. Cavalry Sgt, from the old west. His show was on Sunday mornings, along with the cartoons and games, he showed "Davey and Goliath" programs.
Captain Boston was a modern day fighter pilot. His sidekick was a German Shepard. He showed Hanna-Barbera cartoons and "Roger Ramjet."
Willy Whistle NEVER spoke. He whistled EVERYTHING!!! He hosted a kids afternoon show.
Bunker Hill was an old train conductor, who hosted his afternoon fair on TV 56. When he passed away, he was replaced by Bob Glover, a gifted entertainer with a new gimmick... treating kids like people. I never felt like he was ever talking down to me.
As folks have kindly expressed condolences on the death of Davis Droll Jr., I've guessed that they heard about his death via your site's "lostboston/Boston's local kid shows" page: the family is grateful for their words of sympathy.
Curiously, someone has posted on your site that Dave was Willie Whistle. Although he did work on the Willie Whistle show (along with other directing duties at Boston's channel 38, including working from the remote truck at Bruins games), he wasn't Willie.
For some period of time, his was the off-screen voice with whom Willie conversed.
My understanding is that Willie's non-clown alter-ego is Dick Beach, who is the one who, as the clown, amazingly balanced a tiny whistle on the back of his tongue as he spoke. I had also heard that these whistles would, from time to time, get swallowed, causing all kinds of curious GI issues to which I can only allude.
God bless Dick Beach wherever his is, and Dad, and hats off to the Willie Whistle Show, which brought the Boston area such anime' classics as Speed Racer, Kimba the White Lion, and Astro Boy, as well as the "American" 'toons, Avin and the Chipmunks and Clyde Crashcup (and Leonardo!). Peace, and thanks for the neat site.
-Dave Droll III
Do any of you remember a TV show that aired in Boston Mass around 1973-74. It was a kids type show that was on early Saturday and Sunday mornings.
It was called "Skiddle Alley" and it had a song that said "Skiddle Alley, Skiddle Alley etc etc." Please let me know if you remember that one. I think it was hosted by Rex Trailer from BOOM TOWN.
- Thanks, Rick Gendrolis
Picture courtesy Kevin S. Butler
I do not know if you remember The Ranger Andy Show, it aired back in the 1950's on WTIC-TV Channel 3 in Hartford, Connecticut (today it is called WFSB-TV Channel 3).
Ranger Andy produced a record which was called "The Nature Song" and also "What It Feels Like To Be A Ranger". The recording appeared on a Golden Record which was a 78 RPM back in the early days.
One of my favorites of all was Willie Whistle, back in the days of WSBK-TV Channel 38, where he would talk in a high-pitched voice. Plus also I remember Bozo The Clown with Frank Averuch which was on WHDH-TV Channel 5 in Boston (now WCVB-TV Channel 5).
I also remember Major Mudd,and his famous "IBBY - I'll Be Blasting You", which aired on WNAC-TV Channel 7 Boston in the 1960's. No longer WNAC, the station went through call letter changes from WNAC to WNEV-TV and then WHDH-TV.
I also remember Rex Trailer, and "Boom Town", which had been a fixture on WBZ-TV Channel 4 back to the old days of Boston television. All of these old shows are off the air now. Listening to the old recordings, and watching the old favorites from the days of television brings back so many wonderful memories of days gone by. I would like to see more of them and I wish you all of the very best on your site.
- Sincerely, Michael A. Daley Jr.
Sunday night on the Game Show channel I was watching an ancient "What's My Line" rerun from 1963.
A contestant was an obnoxious young lady by the name of Marilyn Patch who was a child ventriloquist that had a show called "Marilyn and Calico the Donkey" on Saturday morning in Boston at 7 AM. It was on WHDH, which was the CBS affiliate then.
I should certainly know what this show was but I have absolutely no recollection. I would like to know if you have heard of it, or if I could ask around (I live in Boston). Whatever happened to this girl, who knows? She is totally forgotten.
- Craig L.
I know Major Mudd died quite young of diabetes in the early '70s. It is agreed he was the best TV show personality regarding his relationship to the kids. He was always available for personal appearances, mostly benefits. He was my favorite and it was devastating to the Boston area when he died.
When Boomtown ended, Rex Trailer became a teacher at Emerson College (alma mater of Jay Leno and Denis Leary). He must have taught there about twenty years and has since retired. I believe he still lives in the Boston area.
Big Brother Bob Emery was on back in the fifties. I remember little of him, except he would always toast President Eisenhower with a glass of milk on every show. He was pretty old then and I am sure is long gone.
Willie Whistle had some kind of bird whistle in his mouth and you could hardly understand him. It got very irksome. His costume very much resembled Ronald McDonald.
- Sincerely, Craig L.
Here's a short audio clip of Big Brother Bob Emery doing a commercial for "Nu-Fizz" flavored bicarbonate of soda drink. Anyone who hears it will instantly remember that old cornball bit.
"I taped it myself - I was maybe 7 seven years old. And I did get my "Nu-Fizz Wiggling Whale" (the consolation prize that everyone got - a plastic wiggle picture of a spouting whale)."
- Cheers, Peter Mork
I would come home from school for lunch and from 12noon - 12:30 watch Big Brother (BOSTON). What a wholesome show, the pledge of allegiance was said and we toasted President Eisenhower then Kennedy, their pictures hung on wall. He had a song he and children would sing,
"the grass is always greener,
"in the other fellows yard,"
and showed cartoons like Hercules, Tales of the Wizard of Oz etc. Oh, to have a time machine.
- Paul Bondi, Worcester
I think the ending to the Big Brother song was:
So long small fry,
Do you have anything on the Bonny Maid Linoleum Show?
I remember the Big Brother Bob Emery show very well because, at the tender age of 6 years old in 1959, I did a live 'Cracker Jack' commercial with another little girl on the show. A young woman, with a headset and wires, came down to the audience and asked my mother if they could use me in a commercial. This was long before "release" contracts and we didn't get paid other than with the thrill of being onstage with big Brother Bob! We were both dressed up, respectively, in Cowboy and Cowgirl costumes that day and brought up on stage. He sat at his table with us standing on either side and there were 2 huge bowls and 2 huge boxes of the product standing up on the desk. Brother Bob asked us: "Do you kids like 'Cracker Jack' popcorn?" My mother told me I blurted out: "I love it!" and grabbed at the bowl and the other little girl just spoke softly: "Yes". They did a second (and final) take after they asked me to do and say the same thing and asked the girl to just say "yes" a little more louder. All I remember after that was getting a huge box of 'Cracker Jack' that lasted forever and bragging rights to all my childhood friends with my big box to prove it. No, no tape exists and no, I still don't have the box but, I still do have the great memory.
- Bill Haver
How I enjoyed finding and reading the memories of Boston area early children's TV show watchers.
Rex Trailer's original sidekick was a gentleman whose stage name was Pablo. They lived together in "The Bunkhouse" he also had a horse named "Goldrush" Pablo was notoriously lazy. In fact, they had a contest for kids to write in and suggest ways to wake Pablo up. The winning entry had Rex place a spotlight in the bunkhouse and play roaring applause and fanfare music, which woke Pablo up immediately. I believe the prize was a bobsled.
During the program, Rex would often show off his expertise with a bull whip, placing a rolled piece of newspaper in a child's mouth and whipping it, slicing the newspaper clipping to the applause of the children who were on-set witnessing the show. If such an act were performed today, Rex would have a lawsuit slapped on him in a New York Minute!!
Sergeant Billy played by actor Bill O'Brien ( now an insurance salesman in the greater Boston area ) was introduced to the program after Cactus Pete played by actor Terrance Currier 1967-1969, who replaced Pablo played by actor Dick Kilbride from 1956-1967 .
"Rex had a 45 RPM record released in the early '60's called "Hoof Beats" It was an original song and I still recall every word of it, over 40 years later.
- Larry Barter
Just a couple of memories (I don't have many,) about 60's-70's children's TV in the Boston area. I remember when I was very young, probably about six, my parents took me to the Brockton Fair. I remember seeing Rex Trailer performing there. I also remember parts of his theme song.
- Daniel Newton
I remember seeing Rex Trailer and Goldrush live at the WBZ studios one (Friday) night when they were taping the show. We were visiting Dave Maynard at WBZ and we got to go into the studio on Soldiers Field Rd. in Brighton.
Rex and Goldrush also appeared at our local High School, in Portsmouth , NH. (Hoofbeats Hoofbeats Hoofbeats, thunder cross a prairie wild....) Beaver Cleaver appeared at the High School shortly thereafter.
In 1969 we moved to Harvard, MA (and lived down the street from... Dave Maynard). A friend of ours in Harvard (Mr. Atkinson) was one of the general managers at Channel 7. Every time there was a school holiday or something, we would get to go on his new show with Ed McDonnel, "Skittle Alley."
The opening song went "Skittle Alley, Skittle Alley "come on down lot's of things to do Skittle Alley, Skittle Alley, ...."
Ed's new show ran in both 1/2 hr and 1 hour formats. You actually had to walk through Paul Benziquin's talk show area in the lobby to get to Skittle Alley. There was a state-of-the-art dance contest, there was the meet and greet where they played the song "Hello, Hello" and you got to smile and wave to the camera.
I remember Walter Stone from the Stone Zoo coming on with animals and the prizes you went home with were great! (especially those stingray bikes he gave away to the dance contest winner). I think the show was only on the air from 1972 to 1973.
Boston had awesome shows on the air during the late 60's to mid 70's. There was the famous "Jabberwocky" (I have seen this show on channel 5 sometimes in recent years at like 4:30 in the morning on a Sunday) with the puppet Dirty Frank, Carl and Trina; The Uncle Gus Show shot live every afternoon in Manchester NH, The PBS show Zoom, Major Mudd (why couldn't he ever get that cardboard space ship door to close?) You had to go "SHHHHH" and slice your hand vertically to get the thing to slide shut!) and don't forget, Dale Dorman's comments between cartoons on the UHF station 56.
There was Maggie and the Beautiful Machine with Maggie Letvin, Julie Child as the French Chef, and the Illustrious "Pixanne." We saw lots of Davy & Goliath, Gumby & Pokey, and Hercules.
I just turned 42 last week and I remember them all... my brother Steve still has the "Crossfire" game that he won on Skittle Alley while dancing to "I heard it through the Grapevine" and "Shambala." What do you think of that? :-)
- Jen Whitall
I remember living in Waltham, MA in the 1960's and going to the Easter Parade. That to me was the most exciting thing I ever went to.
Rex Trailer and Bozo were in that parade. I remember my father holding my little brother to see Bozo go by and he tried to pull off his red nose. Back at school students had to draw a picture of their favorite part of the parade. If you came in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th you got your picture hung up in the window at Grover Cronin's in Waltham. You then got to meet the Easter Bunny. The Bunny presented you with a coconut egg (yuk) and a ribbon and I was one the lucky winners when I was 7. The highlight was seeing Rex Trailer drive by. To me he was a Super Star.
- Carolyn L
Hi, I would like to help with pictures and info about a promotional appearance at WNAC - TV Channel 7 Boston.
In the 1960s Baseball legend Ted Williams and former boxing heavyweight champion Jack Sharkey appeared at TV Channel 7 to promote the Major Mudd, Superman and Batman programs.
1966 b&w promotional pictures, 7.5(w) x 8.50(h), from National Periodical Publications of Ed McDonnell as Major Mudd, George Reeves as Superman, and Adam West as Batman were distributed in limited quantity by the station to random studio audience members to obtain their autographs.
My Dad was one of the lucky few to receive all three promotional pictures.
The bottom of the Major Mudd picture reads - MAJOR MUDD Monday through Friday 4:30 P.M. Channel 7. The Bottom of the Superman picture reads - SUPERMAN Monday through Friday 5:30 P.M. Channel 7. The bottom of the Batman picture reads - BATMAN Wednesday and Thursday 7:30 P.M. Channel 7.
Ted Williams autographed all three pictures and Jack Sharkey autographed the Batman picture.
It is amazing that Channel 7 brought together the best hitter in baseball history and the only fighter in boxing history to box against both Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis to promote kid shows in Boston!
I can remember watching Romper Room with Boston's Miss Jean. I loved her. My favorite part was "Bend and Stretch", and "Magic Mirror!" And she would always say "happy birthday" to kids who had a birthday that morning.
Well, one day for my birthday, my Mom sent my name in. I didn't know. Man! When Miss Jean looked into that TV screen right at me, and said "Happy Birthday Sherry Stone!" I couldn't run fast enough behind our big gray easy chair! I was terrified, but was really excited at the same time. It meant so much to me that she wished me a Happy Birthday... I still can remember it like it was yesterday - sigh-.
Shirah ( Sherry Stone) Gantman
Anyone remember going to the Boston TV Children's festival at the Boston Garden in the late 60's? Bozo, Miss Jean, Rex Trailer, and Major Mudd were all in attendance doing a stage show.
How about Channel 7 offering huge Batman posters to kids back during the show's heyday in the '60s. It would cover the entire wall of your bedroom.
WNAC-TV also had someone dressed up as Captain America showing cartoons in the afternoon. Sadly, Uncle Gus of WMUR-TV just passed away at the age of 85 while enjoying his retirement in Hawaii.
Most New Hampshire kids appeared on his show and went home with a Bonomo's Turkish Taffy Bar. The biggest treat was to crank up the jack-in-the-box to begin another old Popeye cartoon with lines and hairs running thru the film.
What a Major Mudd blast reading the memories of Boston kids' shows from the '60s! We had only five or so watchable channels where I lived (and still do) in Worcester, Mass., 45 miles west of Boston, but we made the most of them!
OK, gang, let's sing the Major Mudd theme!
I and a B and a B and a Y
After playing the Stooges weekday afternoons in the mid-60s, MM had a two-hour weekday show on Channel 7, featuring LASSIE reruns, Looney Tunes, games and skits during the late 60s - great stuff, wish I had a VCR then!
Feep on FANTASMIC FEATURES kept my brother and I up late for our horror-movie fix - I think Ed McDonnell (the Major) may have doubled on Feep. His sign-off was similar--"I'll be Feeping you!"
Big Brother goes back earlier for me, but I do recall him and puppet dog co-star Flash singing "Small Fry, So Long" while BB pumped a player piano.
When I toured WBZ-TV on a high school trip in 1973, I saw that piano, covered with trash and ready for the Dumpster, sigh. Also saw the BOOMTOWN set, mostly painted canvas flats, hanging above the studio--no wonder that mesa looked shaky!
The BOOMTOWN format held fast--first part at the bunkhouse with Pablo, then footage of Rex riding his horse outdoors to Boomtown, then dissolve to "Howdy Kids!" "Howdy Rex" as he arrives on the indoor set. Remember the Litterbug Song? Pablo or Sgt. Billy would drop a Waleeco candy bar wrapper or similar trash on the floor, to be hit with a chorus of "YOU'RE A LITTERBUG!!!!!" and then the song, "Litterbug, Litterbug, shame on you/Look at the terrible things you do..." Anybody recall the rest?
Let's just say it made a neatnik out of me!
With all respects to Mr. Avruch's Bozo, we in Worcester had a five-star Bozo in the center ring at WSMW-TV, Channel 27, weekday afternoons during the early and mid-70s.
I was an intern at the station then and saw our court jester, Tom Matzell, warm up the kids in the grandstand ("Now don't stand up, kids, or you might fall on your bumptedy-bum-bum!") before taping and wow them on the air. And no--"Cram it, clown" never happened on our show, though some locals swear to that urban legend!
As for Willie Whistle, nuff said! So let's read YOUR memories of Boston (and, ahem, Worcester) TV, and as the Major said, "We'll take a short break but we'll be back--and when we do, we'll look for YOU!"
I know the lyrics to "Litterbug, Litterbug Shame On You!" and they went like this:
Look at the world full of beauty and art
His beautiful beaches
Does he have to go
and mess it all up?
It really makes one
You thoughtless litterbug
That was a song originally written for an installment ('The Square Peg In The Round Hole') of Walt Disney's Wonderful World Of Color family anthology series on NBC in the 1960's. On that show, Prof. Ludwig Von Drake (voiced by the brilliant Mr. Paul Frees) told the viewers about man's bad habits and how they affected our world. "The Litterbug" in question was Von Drake's nephew Donald Duck (Donald's voice was performed by Mr. Clarence Nash).
- Kevin Butler
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