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Hi There, Boys And Tim Hollis
Mon Sep 21, 2009 09:15

‘Hi There, Boys And Girls’
America’s Local Children’s TV Shows
By Tim Hollis

I’ve got a bone to pick with this book. Google Books has provided a PDF file for an opportunity to read researched material for the fore mentioned book of local TV hosts of children’s programs from around the country from the late 40s to the early 70s when local television hosts met their doom. I had a particular interest in looking for programming in the central San Joaquin Valley area, namely, Fresno. I wish they would have talked to me as I discovered two major errors and one big mistake or omission. And that was excluding ‘Mr. Radio & Television Personality’ Al Radka. How on God’s green earth could they have neglected him? But first things first.

A reference was made to ‘Uncle Bob Curtis’ on KMJ-Channel 24 who hosted reruns of the original ‘Mickey Mouse Club’ and ‘The Adventures of Superman’ from 4:00 to 5:00 pm. Well, his name was ‘Bill Curtis.’ I know because I was on that show in the summer of 1964 and ‘Uncle Bill’ gave us a personal tour of the studio. He also hosted shows like ‘Rocky & His Friends’ ‘Huckleberry Hound’ ‘Quick Draw McGraw’ and ‘Yogi Bear.’

From the mid 50s to early 60s KJEO-Channel 47 hosted ‘Webster Webfoot & Uncle Jimmy Weldon. Jimmy Weldon flew his own personal plane to do shows throughout the San Joaquin Valley and up in Salinas, California. Channel 47 also hosted a show with ‘The Old 49er’ played by former western side kick, ‘Arkansas Slim’ Andrews. Another error mentioned in the book was ‘Flippo The Clown.’ He was on Channel 30, not 47. ‘Flippo had a ten year run from 1959-69 and mostly showed ‘Popeye’ cartoons. In the mid 60s he changed his name to ‘Marvo.’ His real name was Marv Harrison. My fifth grade class was on his show. I couldn’t go due to illness, but I know they went to 733 L. Street where the old station was located.

Why this book failed to mention ‘Al Radka’ is beyond me. Al was an icon and gave a face and a voice to early television in Fresno. Multiplied thousand of Valley kids rushed home after school to watch ‘Al Radka & The Three Stooges’ from 3:00 to 4:00 pm. As I mentioned in another post, he brought ‘The Stooges’ to Fresno in the early 60s at the opening of a new home community, ‘College Green Homes.’ It was a huge success. He also hosted children’s programs like, ‘Fun Time With Al ‘The Early Show’ and ‘The Children’s Showcase Network.’ I don’t have time to mention all the other targeted age programs.

One of the best and simplest quotes I’ve heard from a Fresno native is, “I doubt if I ever would have a had a childhood without Al.”

Al Radka, Webster Webfoot & Jimmy Weldon

Al Radka on 'The Early Show' with Webster Webfoot & Uncle Jimmy Weldon. Photo: Courtesy of Gary Cocola of 'Cocola Broadcasting Company.'


    • The Uncle Bill ShowRashell Williams, Mon Sep 17 00:19
      I was so excited to find this message board! I am the granddaughter of Bill Curtis and have been looking for anyone who can give me some more information about his life and work, especially relating... more
    • DisappointmentDettman, Mon Sep 21 09:40
      Carl, I was excited when I first purchased and read this book a few years back. The section on kiddie shows in San Francisco, circa the 1950s, was almost all incorrect. The author had a few names... more
      • tim hollis bookthom hamilton, Mon Sep 21 19:18
        Bruce i wish i had known of this before last august, i had been looking for a good reference book, re local childrens tv, for years, so i saw this book on amazon, and bought it, i was very... more
        • I agree.craigoman8, Mon Sep 21 19:39
          Yes. My dear wife gave me this book for a birthday present. I thought, 'All right". Until I got to the Bay Area hosts I grew up with. Because of the errors, I am pretty suspect about the rest of the... more
          • Fremont HostsDettman, Mon Sep 21 20:42
            Craig, I hail from Castro Valley, your general area, but I imagine you recall a later group of hosts than I was exposed to in the 50s. Who are the ones you grew up with? bruce
            • bay area hostscraigoman8, Tue Sep 22 14:40
              Hi, Bruce. I'm probably as old as you are (probably I'm even older), but anyway, I was born in Alameda and when I was 7 years old, my family moved to Fremont, a couple of years before it incorporated ... more
              • San Francisco HostsDettman, Tue Sep 22 15:02
                Craig, This might bore everyone else. E-mail me and I'll tell you a few stories about these guys. Bruce
            • Connecticut hostsBill in CT, Tue Sep 22 01:23
              He did the Connecticut part accurately. I had Happy the Clown (Joey Russell) sign the CT page. :)
              • Re: Connecticut hostsGail, Tue Sep 22 17:45
                I was also satisfied with the NYC section On sandy becker and chuck mccann. I hope I can meet mccann someday to autograph The NYC page. Gail
              • I am glad there is some accuracy in the bookcraigoma8, Tue Sep 22 15:00
                That's good news, indeed, Bill. When I got married and my current job transferred me to the Sacramento area (we are still here), there are many that grew up in this area who talk about their local... more
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