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When I was in college, I met a gal who had been in the audience for Girl Scouts and was surprised to feel a wave of jealousy 15 years after the fact!
I began this trip down memory lane because on Thursday, September 28, 2006, NBC aired "Out of the Vault: A Gene London Flashback" where Gene interviewed Ben Franklin (played by Joe Earley), originally aired in 1975.
Although it was a special show and therefore didn't include the theme song, to see Gene London's smiling face, hear his gentle and expressive voice see his art was a fantastic trip in the way back machine! I was so pleased to see how well the show held its value over so long a time.
As a special, the format was different... Gene began by setting the stage times by telling of differences in colonial times (three sets of clothes, turning up cuffs not for fashion but so elder brother's clothes would now fit, etc.) with previously drawn illustrations. I got chills when I saw the art, as I remember how I used to marvel at the shading and skill as pictures came to life before my very eyes!
Thank heavens for TiVo - I'm keeping it forever and will lobby NBC 10 to release more!
- Joy W
Back in the 50's, my favorite show was Gene London's Cartoon Corners General Store. My parents knew a couple who lived down the street that were in Vaudeville, and they arranged to have me and their daughter on the show!!!
I remember having such a crush on Gene! I wore about 8 crinolin slips that flared my dress out so much...you could see my underwear!!! I don't remember the story, but at some point Gene handed me a chewed piece of gum...I must've saved it for about 2 years!!! I would love to be able to get my hands on the tape, I can see my buck-toothed image like it was yesterday!!!
- Shelley M. Laskin
Gene London's show was originally called Cartoon Corners General Store. The scenario had London working in this store which was next to a confetti factory. He was paid 8 1/2 cents a week by Mr. Quigley. He would draw pictures that were too hard for Pete Boyle. There were Deputy Dawg cartoons and often sneak peeks at the latest Disney offering. (WCAU-Channel 10 / CBS)
- Dennis Bingham
An earlier comment stated that Gene London was employed by Mr. Quigley. I think he is referring to Quigley Mansion, the haunted House next to the General Store. His employer was Mr. Dibley and he had a crush on Mr. Dibley's daughter, Debby. I've heard that Gene is now a dress designer in New York is this true?
I believe Gene London is operating two studios in New York. He's a fashion show coordinator I believe. I actually called him about ten years ago in connection with a project on which I was working and when I told him about how much I had loved his show as a kid, the was very grateful and said I made his day.
Gene London's departure from Philly TV was, according to stories I have heard, not a pleasant one. He was apparently forced out after it was discovered that he (you'll have to guess). He worked as a window dresser for some time and later opened up the studios in New York.
It's ironic that he was screwed by the big boss just like his character on the show was treated like crap by Mr. Dibley?
- Ari G
This is so weird for me to see this website. If you remember Gene, then some of you may remember me. My name is Randy Brenner and I was a regular on Gene's show from around 1963 through 1968/69.
I was around eight years old when I started and did record Pantomimes to Spike Jones and Danny Kaye and then became Gene's sidekick. I was on the show every day, Monday through Sunday. We had many adventures in Quiggley Mansion, acted out old radio shows like The Shadow that seemed to go on forever, and I also would sit down and draw with him on many occasions.
I'm still in touch with Gene. Yes, he runs a costume type warehouse in New York. At one point he bought up many of the materials in bulk that were used to make clothing for movies at various studios. So, today, if anyone needs an original dress for the 30's, Gene's place will have the material.
I am 43 years old and currently a director of Theatre and Television in Los Angeles, who sometimes still does some acting. I just did a film for Disney Called "Geppetto". I remember for my Birthday how Gene arranged for me to have a private tour if Disneyland (he knew Walt), when I was 10 years old and visiting California with my parents. It has been fun reminiscing.
Thanks, Randy Brenner
PS. I remembered a story that took place around 15 years ago in New York. I was doing a play off-Broadway with...Kevin Bacon ( no degrees of separation ). At our first rehearsal, he took me aside and said " I have a strange question to ask you. Were you on the Gene London Show as a kid?" I almost fell over. Kevin grew up in Philly and said he used to watch me every morning before he went to school. And added..."You haven't changed much". I 'm still hoping that was a compliment.
I remember tuning into the Cartoon Corner's General Store each week. I was fortunate to be on your show once (but never saw the taping of that episode) when I visited the TV station with my Girl Scout Brownie troup in 1963.
I think you, Jane Norman and Sally Starr were some of the most gifted and talented performers on TV for kids in those days. TV Programming has never been quite the same. Gene you are an exceptionally talented storyteller and artist.
Your creativity, humor and originality and the wonderful role model that you were on that show not only inspired many young people of my generation, but provided us with quality programming and important life lessons to live by.
With fond memories, Stella (Sonntag) Baldev
I grew up in New Jersey, and watched Gene London nearly every day. Then we moved to California in 1968, and I never saw him again.
It was a lot of fun to discover this page and share other people's memories. However, everyone is leaving a couple of lines out of the theme song. Here's the complete lyrics:
right on in to the general store
lots of stories and songs that you know
Those last two lines are the ones everyone leaves out. On the word "ring," he'd hit the cash register and make it ring.
Then, while the music was still playing, he'd talk to the kids and tell them what was going to be on today's show. He'd also do the bit with the boxes, picking up cardboard boxes with cartoon character's faces on them, and tossing them to the kids in the studio audience for them to catch.
Then, he'd stand in the middle of the floor and finish the song:
And BOOM! the box with his face on it would fall on his head, and confetti would fall all over the floor, and all the kids, in the studio and at home, would laugh hysterically.
I laughed, but I also felt sorry for him. Week after week, I kept hoping that this time the box wouldn't fall on him, and that he wouldn't get in trouble with Mr. Dibley for getting confetti all over the floor. And of course, every week it would happen again, and I'd feel bad. It wasn't until I was older that I figured out that he was an actor playing a part, and he wasn't really getting in trouble with Mr. Dibley. I felt better then.
- Grinnell Almy
mother never had a better babysitter than Gene London!"
I was on the Gene London Show when I was in the Brownies. I got to feed the puppies. I was never so happy to be able to sit next to Gene.
I remember the song that he would sing for the Land of Lets Pretend,
Lets pretend that it is story time,
and I'll sing a song to you,
I'll sing you a story of make believe,
and all your wishes come true,
and when the story's over,
and when we reach the end,
we'll live happily ever after where........
in the land of lets pretend.
I, too, loved Pixanne. I saw her not too long ago. She looks wonderful. Thanks for the memories, and thanks to Gene.
absolutely ADORED him when I was a kid. I love watching him do the drawings.
He did it so easily and quickly. I can still picture him feigning surprise
at something, with eyes wide, mouth open, I don’t remember a lot
about the show itself because I was fascinated with the way he reacted
to things and people. I was quite taken with him. I guess you could
say he was my first crush.
Gene London made a personal apperance at a Boscov's dept. store in Reading, Pa. quite some time ago and I was 11 years old at the time and asked my Mother to take me to the store to see him. The Auditorium was filled with kids including me right in the center of it all.
They announced him and out he walked as I sat there in awe cause I only ever saw him on TV before and now he was right there before me. He had an Easel on stage and proceeded to draw the most awesome pictures of cartoon characters or super heros and then asked the kids in the audience to scream as loud as they could and he would pick the loudest to award the picture to. Needless to say the noise was deafining.
Well, he drew a picture of Zorro on the easel and asked the kids to scream once more to see who would get the picture and me and my BIG MOUTH let out a heck of a scream and he picked me. I walked up on stage as he tore the picture from the easel and handed it to me as I shook his hand and told him I watched him all the time. It was a neat day back then and ya know that Zorro picture is still in one of my storage rooms - ha ha! Don't ya wish you could go back to those day's one more time?
- Bill Esterly
and appeared on the Gene London Show in 1967...He was a wonderful mentor
and advised me on my performance. I appeared on the show, producing
a large silk handkercheif and a rabbit. (My then kid brother was in
the audience group.)
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John Baker tells us about a once in a lifetime event: Gene London is planning a fan event in the area tentatively for April, 2010... a stage presentation,screenings of some episodes of the show, a tour of the Reading museum where he is currently showcasing pieces from his Hollywood collection. Aso quite possibly a luncheon... and meet and greet and Judy Bell the actress that played Gene's girlfriend on the show is participating.
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