Pioneers Of Television

Local Kids' Tv

Friday, Oct 24, 5 a.m. on Vermont PBS Plus
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In the early years of television, local kids' programs shaped the childhoods of millions of American children. Performers such as Willard Scott, Ernest Borgnine and William Shatner all honed their skills performing on live TV with small budgets and little support. With the flimsiest of second-hand store costumes and their own imaginations, they learned how to make their audience laugh, smile and think. One early talent, Stan Freberg, got off the bus in the middle of Hollywood, became a cartoon voice talent and created "Time for Beany" - a show that captured seven out of 10 viewers, including Albert Einstein, during its run in Los Angeles. Freberg's story is told along with the story of legendary Muppets creator Jim Henson (who started at age 16), animator Bob Clampett (co-creator with Freberg of L.A.'s "Time for Beany"), actor Chuck McCann (originator of New York's famous "Puppet Hotel"), performer Pat McMahon (a star of Phoenix's "Wallace and Ladmo" - the most popular kids' show ever) and Nancy Claster, who developed the Baltimore kids' series "Romper Room" - the first franchised show in television history.
 

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