Barrett Manor

Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Weekend Assignment: Local TV Host

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Share a memory of a local TV show of yesteryear.

How about a whole string of 'em? When I was a kid I lived in Wichita, KS. KAKE-TV had a puppet chef called Kakeman. One of the big shows at Christmas was "Santa's Workshop,", which featured Kakeman. The guy who did Santa moved to another station and took his workshop with him. Kakeman became (I kid you not) Toyboy! Here's a clip:

When we moved down to Texas there were a couple of memorable shows. Mr. Peppermint aired on WFAA-TV. Jerry Haynes played the popular character. My dad had a cousin who worked as a floor manager at the station, and one evening he took us down for the tour. There were two very memorable bits for me. The first was that I got to play with Dale Milford's weather map. His map was a magnetic board on which he'd place weather symbols. Our last stop was to a dark studio. They turned on the lights and to our delight we were standing on the Mr. Peppermint set! Hey, this was big stuff for a six year-old!

Here's a clip of Jerry Haynes in a later incarnation of the show that they called Peppermint Place:

Now, I have to save the best (and most bizarre) for last. KTVT-TV was an independent station (they're now with CBS) in Ft. Worth. Every afternoon they aired a locally-produced kid show called Slam Bang Theater, which featured a character called Icky Twerp. He had various sidekicks, most notably three gorillas called Ajax, Delphinium, and Arkadelphia. Most of the sketches were broad slapstick-type humor, but Bill Camfield (Twerp) was a copywriter at the station before he was a TV show host, and so the sketches were also filled with wordplay. Here are a couple of clips:

Silly stuff, indeed. Camfield is no longer with us, but he's fondly remembered by an entire generation of grown-up kids.

Extra Credit: You've been asked to produce a local TV show. Commercial considerations aside, what would it be?

I'd love to do an arts program - highlight local artists, community theatre, small museums, that sort of thing. It would get buried in the schedule. ;-)

Update: Santa's Worrkshop is back!


Filed under: Weekend Assignment            
11/15/2008 6:06:06 PM
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