The recent death of Captain Bob Cottle has prompted me and two Boston-raised friends to share memories of locally-produced TV shows. Some things we recall quite clearly, others less so.
Anyone out there have any recollections of WNAC-TV Ch. 7's triple-threat Edward T. McDonnell, who hosted the Three Stooges every weekday as Major Mudd, science fiction movies on Monday (later Saturday) nights as Feep on FANTASMIC FEATURES, and hosted jungle movies Saturday afternoons as Lord Bumblebrook?
How about Captain Bob (THE MAGIC WINDOW and THE NATURE WORLD OF CAPTAIN BOB), "Big Brother" Bob Emory (his own self-titled show or CLUBHOUSE FOUR) or Rex Trailer, Pablo and Sgt. Billy (of BOOMTOWN)?
Anybody have any audio tapes, photos or - dare I hope - videotapes on any of these guys? The Chicago archives are plentiful, but Boston, which has a rich heritage of local broadcasting, is all but invisible.
As Major Mudd used to say when signing off for the day: "I'll be blasting you!"
- Bob Deveau, Boston, MA
"Capt. Bob" Cottle not only hosted his own kids TV shows in the Boston, Ma. viewing area, he also served as the second and the last host/performer of NBC TV's "Ruff N' Ready Show!".
Actor/singer/storyteller and mimic Jimmy Blaine had hosted "R&R' on NBC TV from Saturday Morning December 12, 1957 to October, 1960. "Capt. Bob"began hosting "Ruff N' Ready" on Saturday, September 29, 1962. Unlike the first "R&R Show", where Mr. Blaine engaged The Rufus Rose/Bobby Nicholson puppets in comedic banter and songs songs in between the cartoons, "Capt. Bob"and his little imaginations "Jasper", "Gramps", "Mr. Answer The Magic Talking Question Box" went out on adventures to solve some problems about nature or to foil some villains at the request of The U.S. Government.
These adventures were done with "Capt. Bob's Drawings", with his puppets and with the acting and storytelling talents of Bob and his assistants: "Efram Q. Judd" (played by comic actor, mimic, singer and musician Andy Bader) and by another gentleman who played "Capt. Bob's" Arch enemy: "Barnacle Bill The Pirate".
These shows were created to help improve kids TV at the insistence of The FCC Commissioner (at the time) Mr. Newton Minow, who wanted kids television to be more informative but also fun. Bob and his crew were able to do that with a show that entertained and informed kids without preaching or boring them.
"Capt. Bob" even had his own drawing contest on the show. My brother Paul & I sent in our own drawings. Only one photo of "Capt. Bob" was sent to us and we spent the week arguing over who owned that photo.
Bob's "R&R Show" became a top ratings hit for NBC TV and was highly praised by the network, the critics, parents, educators and by kids too. The show even beat out CBS TV's "Captain Kangaroo"in the Nielsens.
Towards the end of the series' run on NBC, "Capt. Bob" had kids in the studio where the little Imaginations Puppets performed skits (most of them based on events in American history.)
The show finally went off the air in September, 1964. "Capt. Bob" continued to host his local kids TV shows in Boston, Ma., Hartford, CT, and in Florida into the 1990's. His last nationally known TV appearance was at the 1964 Macy 's Thanksgiving Day Parade which aired on NBC & CBS TV
In regards to the whereabouts of the performer who hosted 'Marilyn & The Calcite Donkey' on WHDH TV Ch. 5 in Boston, her name was Marilyn Patch.
She went onto play 'Happy Harmony, The Singing School Teacher' on 'The New Howdy Doody Show' Which was seen in national syndication and locally on WNEW TV Ch. 5 in NYC weekday afternoons from Monday, September 7, 1976 to Friday October, 15, 1976.
'The New Howdy Doody Show' returned to the Ch. 5 airways weekday mornings from Monday January, 17, 1977 until WNEW TV Ch. 5 closed down the Doodyo TV Studios on Friday, March 17, 1977.
- Kevin S. Butler
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