Those 3PM/Afterschool Kid's Clown Shows-Are There Any Left?

Anybody who grew up in the 1950’s or 1960’s knew these shows…they were locally, cheaply produced shows for school age kids. You could get tickets to be on the show fairly easily, and the shows usually were hosted by a local broken down"Krusty The Clown"-type character. There used to be scads of these shows around…but they seem to have all disappeared!
In the metropolitan Boston area there were shows like:
-“REX TRAILOR” a local ersatz-cowboy witha sidekick (Sergeant Billy)
-“BOZO The Clown”: I believe tis was nationally syndicated-Bozo was a fairley boring clown, but kids seemed to like the show
-“Big Brother Bob Emery”- a grumpy old man who actually HATED kids! (Rumor has it that Big Brother Bob actually swore at a kid (on camera) who spilled milk on him by mistake!
Anyway, when did these shows start to fade out? Is it just cheaper to throww cartoon shows on instead?

These were cartoon shows, at least in part – Sally Starr (our local icon) was mostly about introing the Popeye cartoons and Three Stooges shorts (“Kids, don’t try this at home!”). The cartoon shows have mostly emerged as syndicated stuff on the VHF/non “Big-4” affiliated stations.

What’s replaced them has been talk shows, and the reason why is clear – adults watch talk shows, and kids watch cartoons. Adults have more disposable income, making them more attractive to advertisers – and, as we all know, it’s basically advertisers who decide what we get to watch on TV.

I was on one of those!

Springfield, Illinois, 1979ish. TV Station was a local UHF, all reruns all the time outfit, WRSP-TV 55. Now it’s a Fox affiliate but that’s neither here nor there.

Anyhoo, the show was called “Magic Circus,” and the host was dressed up like a circus master. The audience was almost always Cub Scout & Brownie troops, Boys & Girls Club groups, 4-H kids, and the like. The show was basically the host stopping to talk to each kid interspersed with cartoons and commercials.

My Cub Scout troop went one night back in The Day. I remember being startled at how small the studio was and being a little underwhelmed at seeing the circus master in person (though for the life of me I can’t remember his name). I also remember being given a hot dog and a little half pint of chocolate milk (like they gave you in school), and taking great care not to eat in when the cameras were on the crowd (I thought it would be rude to eat in front of the other kids, even if they were at home watching the TV!).

When the Circus Master interviewed me, I totally froze and barely managed to spit out my name. When the show aired the following day after school I skipped it, not wanting to see how big a fool I made of myself.

So back to the OP: I’m sure this doesn’t answer your question, but I can confidently tell you that Springfield, Illinois had something similar to what you’re asking about as recently as 1979.

It’s usually cheaper to run a syndicated talk show than original programming. And most advertisers want adults watching, since they’re in a better position to buy their product.

I don’t know any exact dates, but by 1970 the trend was in serious decline.

I grew up with Officer Joe Bolton, Captain (later Colonel) Clown*, Pinky Lee, and the weekend triumvurite of Sonny Fox (Bob McAllister just didn’t measure up), Sandy Becker, and Chuck McCann.

*My first experience with intellectual property issues, since I’m pretty sure Captain Clown (out of Bridgeport, CT), was promoted because there already was a Captain Clown somewhere.

The Noontime Cowboys and Weekend Midnight Horror Movie Ghouls beat the crap out of the Afternoon Clowns, and then fell prey to the extinction of almost all local independent TV. There were a variety of reasons-

many of these shows were on independent channels, which have now been grabbed up by the new networks (Fox, UPN, WB, even Pax), which have their own programming;

syndicated shows also fill a lot of the time local shows once did;

the filler of these shows, cartoons & movies, have been bought up by the Cable Channel Barons (Turner, Cartoon Network, USA).

Btw, just to salute these heroes of my childhood~

Cartoon Show Hosts-
Uncle Al & Captain Windy of Channel 9 Cincinnati
Randy Atcher & Cactus the Clown of WHAS 11 Louisville
Skipper Ryle of Channel 12 Cincinnati
Cowboy Bob and Janie both of WTTV-4 Bloomington
Presto the Clown of WDRB 41 Louisville

Horror Movie Hosts-
Sammy Terry- WTTV-4
The Fearmaster of Fright Night, Saturday Evenings- WDRB 41

Late Night Weekend Movie Host-
Bob Shreves- Channel 12 Cincy

and early morning ultra-Right broadcaster-
Brian Bex- WTTV-4

(Damn hamsters, first time in a while I forget to save a copy of what I typed and they eat it.)

FriarTed pretty much gave my take on the afternoon cartoon situation. My favorite independent Los Angeles station was eaten by Fox when they first appeared. I think in fact, it’s their conerstone station.

And though my job schedule prohibits me from staying up that late, I have to lament that infomercials have killed the “Late, Late Movie.”

Kids’ shows that have made an impact on my brain are:

In Aberdeen, Maryland around 1966, from Baltimore. I can’t remember the name of the show, but the host often played a character named “Mike Fury,” who ate raw onions for his super powers. They would play the songs, “Elephant Walk” and “These Boots Were Made for Walking” alot on the show. I still have my Mike Fury fan club card. On the back, it gave rules for living such as, “Be true to your teeth or they will be false to you.” I recall reading on a nostalgic TV site that the host went on to do Wonderrama in the 1980s.

Bozo the Clown and “The Winchell Mahoney Show” in Northbrook, Illinois, around 1967.

“Checkers and Pogo,” Hawaii 1968-1970. They went through two “Checkers” characters while I lived there. like HeyHomie, my Cub Scout den visited that show and I was shocked and a bit disillusioned on how the set looked as compared to what you saw on TV.

“Wallace and Ladmo” in Phoenix. (I think) the longest running kid’s show in history. Alice Cooper was a fan of this show and (again I think) may have performed on it in one of his band’s early incarnations, either the Earwigs or the Nazz. I do know that he appeared on a reunion special held in the 1980s.

And since FriarTed brought it up, “Grimsley’s Mortuary” from Los Angles (KTLA?) was the best Saturday night horrow film host. Grimsley was replaced by Elvira sometime in the 1980s.