From a Lunch with Uncle Pete TV tray

Growing Up With Television

I hope you enjoy this page - a chronicle of growing up with television.  My dad worked for RCA, and we had a television for as long as I can remember.  Below are some of my TV memories - I'll be adding to them as time and memory permits.

Memorable TV Moments
Sgt. Preston doing a tracheotomy on someone who had diptheria in an episode called "Bad Medicine."  I actually found a copy of this on video! Our Gal Sal and Wee Willie Webber introducing us to the miracle of videotape.
Lassie having brain surgery on the kitchen table on Christmas Eve, with children singing Christmas carols outside.  (The Christmas Story, Dec. 21, 1958 Rod Brown of the Rocket Rangers visiting the sun where the natives were dancing around with their spears and headdresses.
Ramar of the Jungle using mystical powers he learned from Gurú to cure Howard Ogden. Penguins visiting Jack Benny on one of his farewell specials.
Seeing Tiny Tim for the first time on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.  I tortured people at the Ledge (the old Rutgers student center) by playing TipToe Thru the Tulips on the juke box every time I was there.  I still have the album. Speaking of tulips, there was Paul Lynde reciting his poem about a talking tulip on the Perry Como Show.

Kids' TV Hosts

Uncle Pete Boyle - Lunch was always a treat with Uncle Pete, who drew pictures for us. Buckskin Billy - My brother and I couldn't stand him when we first saw him, but he grew on us!
Pinky Lee - I can still see him singing and dancing in his checkered suit. Gene and Joan Crane - They used to shrink and sit in giant chairs.
Wee Willie Webber - One of the nicest TV hosts I can remember. Chief Halftown - The Chief visited our junior high school once for an assembly.
Smilin' Ed - Before it was "Andy's Gang," it was Smilin' Ed's.  With Froggy Gremlin, Buster Browne, and Tige, and Ghanga the Jungle Boy. Soupy Sales - I got to watch "Lunch with Soupy Sales" on my neighbor Mr. Reese's projection TV back in the '50s.
Alan Scott and Mr. Rivets - We played with them in Alan Scott's basement.  But, you can see a video of them outside! Sally Starr - She will always be "Our Gal" from Popeye Theater. 
Uncle Johnny Coon - Am I the only person who remembers him????  Uncle Johnny always made us move 6 feet back from the TV before we were allowed to watch him.

Horror TV Hosts

Roland (aka Zacherley) - It was on Shock Theater that I first saw "Frankenstein." Stella - I watched Stella in the 1980s - even let my son stay up to see her on "Saturday Night Dead."
Dr. Shock - I hate to admit that I didn't like Dr. Shock at first.  I still missed Roland.  But Shocky Doc had a way of growing on you, and I quickly became a fan. Count Frightenstein - OK, I watched The Hilarious House of Frightenstein in the 1970s.  Actually, my favorite characters were the Librarian and Vincent Price.

Favorite Cowboys

Roy Rogers - He will always be the "King of the Cowboys."  Gene Autry - Not a Christmas goes by that I refuse to come downstairs until I hear him singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."
Hopalong Cassidy - The man in black with white hair and an infectious laugh.  He always saved the day.
The Cisco Kid - I remember when Duncan Rinaldo broke his neck filming a Cisco Kid episode. 


Sergeant Preston of the Yukon Renfrew of the Royal Mounties

Science Fiction 

Captain Video - He showed us cartoons and made us want our Ovaltine.  I was angry when "they" said he was a Communist and took him off the air.  It wasn't fair! Space Patrol - Before there was Buzz Lightyear, there was Buzz Corry and his crew fighting the evil prince from Planet X. 

Tom Corbett, Space Cadet - I so wanted to be a space cadet, just like Tom.  I was shattered when he was replaced on Saturday mornings by Fury. Recently I was saddened to hear that Frankie Thomas (Tom) died in May 2006.

Rod Brown of the Rocket Rangers - Starring Cliff Robertson.  It was a fun show, even though I knew that you couldn't live on the sun.
The Star Lost - When Star Trek went off, we were in desparate times and would watch even something this awful.
Space 1999 - Another show for those of us thirsting for science fiction.  Not quite as bad as The Star Lost.  Every week we saw the moon explode and watched to see if Barbara Bain would show any emotion.
UFO - Another awful show, but I loved it!  The opening music was great.  Straker's bleached hair and the required purple hair on Moonbase were a hoot.  And I had a terrible crush on Col. Foster.
Commando Cody - Who could resist the Sky Marshall of the Universe, who could fly with his personal rocket pack. Science Fiction Theater - A true classic, with our host, Truman Bradley.  If the SciFi Channel runs it again, watch for the episode about LSD.
Star Trek, of course.  The sequels are OK, but nothing will compare to the original.  And I cast my vote for Kirk as the best captain.  

Other Flying Heroes

Captain Midnight Sky King


Beanie and Cecil Kukla, Fran, and Ollie
On a wall at Disney-MGM Studios at Disneyworld
Painting of Burr Tillstrom, Kukla, and Ollie at Disney-MGM Studios
Howdy Doody Rootie Kazootie
Bertie the Bunyip, with his friends Fussy and Gussy and Sir Guy de Guy - I was known to skip Sunday school to watch the show and keep up with Sir Guy's dastardly plots. Willie the Worm

Painting of Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog
at Disney-MGM Studios
The Muppets


Trigger - Roy's horse Champion - Gene's horse (and my bicycle's name)
Topper - Hoppy's horse Fury - Joey's horse
Lassie - Jeff's dog (and later Timmy's) Rin Tin Tin
Yukon King -  Sgt. Preston's dog Diablo - Cisco's horse

School Rooms

Ding Dong School, with Miss Frances Romper Room

The Circus

The Big Top - My brownie troop visited this show in Camden, NJ! Super Circus


The McCarthy Hearings The Kefauver Organized Crime Hearings - This is where I learned about pleading the 5th Amendment!

Updated October 23, 2004