Children’s TV Programming of Yesterday


I was born in 1959.   My own perception of “modern times” begins in that year.   Everything that happened prior is deemed archaic;  before my time. So, I don’t know much about “Howdy Doodie” or Clarabelle the clown or any of the other live action or animated offering produced prior to the year of my birth.

But stuff from my era?   

Bring it on.

My long time friend, a one Mr. Ralph G. has  known me even longer than any other of his contemporaries.   You see, we were born five days apart…same small town; same hospital.   Ralph’s mother left the hospital with young Ralphie swaddled in a blanket, as my very pregnant mother waddled into deliver me.   I have been “told” that I was a stubborn baby, not wanting to exit my soft, safe uterine compound.   That’s not true.  I wanted out, but no, my mother’s doctor wanted to deliver me C-section as my two older sibs had been born and he was playing golf in a huge charity golf tournament for inbred, mono-browed, mouth breathers in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.    By the time he got back to town, I was efforting to exit on my ownBaby Carrier, with so much determination, my legs were practically hanging out of my mom’s uterus!!!!    I do believe that was a rather traumatic event for me.  

Perhaps,  that’s why images like this are so disturbing to me!!!     

Anyway, Ralph and still talk several times a week and he marvels at my memory.   It’s still sharp as a tack…as are the angles of skin folds that now comprise my ass.   

We’ve spoken about watching Saturday morning cartoons and other aspects of children’s  TV programming back in the 60’s but his kiddie recall is fuzzy.

I doubt if Ralph remembers this.  I’d be surprised if anyone remembers this, but I watched it on Sunday mornings right before heading off to Mass.    At least, that’s when the ABC affiliate in San Antonio had it scheduled.    

It was called “Discovery ’66” and the digits would change depending on the year in which it would be produced and broadcast and it allowed kids to travel the world to learn about such things that would turn out to be so incredibly important and beneficial in our lives.  For example:  we learned why natives in parts of undeveloped Congo drank cow urine as a health panacea.   We learned all about the three foot wide stone wheels considered to be currency among Yap Islanders.

And we learned why there are no kennel clubs in Korea.

To this day, I still love the show’s intro.  It was this kicky little number which I always assigned an American Bandstand score of 86 to;  you know…just for the beat.

Remember this one, Ralph?    What about your older brother Henry, who, from what I understand, reads my blog  fairly regularly and enjoys it, when of course, “it don’t contain too much crap!!”

Nothing?   Anyone???    

I stopped watching cartoons in the spring of 1971.  I had just turned 12, was sporting a bitchin’ 13-year-old’s bod, so cartoons were  for kids…but I could still be enticed into watching  the occasional epic, Sid and Marty Kroff part action/part animated combos.

puffnstuffThere was “H.R. Puffinstuf” which starred Jack Wilde, who went from the Artful Dodger in both the stage and screen version of “Oliver”, to a magic flute playing, high water pants wearing foil to this red-headed, chubby and tall walking larvae in tiny white cowboy boots.

This is becoming cliche among the last stage Baby Boomers such as myself, but you can’t help but wonder what Sid and Marty K. were puffin’ on when they conceived this idea.

It was the late 60’s, we were all trying to be hip and happening (even Johnny Carson wore love beads and an ascot during this period) and everything was about the psychedelic Hippies.  

Peace.  Love.  Dope.

But nothing short of a hit of blotter could prepare any us for the penultimate Sid and Marty Kroft  mind-meld known as “Lidsville”.

Soooooooo trippy.   Plus, the damn show intro lasted just under two minutes!!!

“Lidsville” (which by the way, was filmed at Dallas’ famed “Six Flags” park) was  all about young Mark’s attempt to get back home from this insane land of Day Glo colored freaks who lived and worked  in talking buildings in the shape of commercial headware.   As I said, trippy.   Then add to that the addition weirdness of  Charles Nelson Reilly in make-up that’s NOT DRAG!!!!   

One would indeed be hard pressed not to assume that the Brothers Krofft fertile imaginations hadn’t been fueled by the most ferocious of the CIA’s MK Ultra experiments.

I mean,  H.R. Pufinstuf?    Lidsville?

Speaking of, I have to laugh every time I think about referring to an ounce of marijuana as “a lid”.  That’s what we called it. Our lids always came in a flip top plastic baggy.   The same kind kind used primarily when your Mom made  a few  lunch time Regular Joe sandwiches for your “Red-hating, Nixon-loving, sig McCarthy on every Pinko on every corner” Dad.  

I’d role mine up and keep it in my the eight track player of my stereo. I think ten bucks was the going rate for about a four-finger lid.   This weight of measure was brilliant.  One sumply  measured up to four fingers full from the bottom of the bag to which ever finger (four or five fingers) you wanted to use as a meansurement.  You could also shell out two to three dollars for  a match box filled with pot.

That’s so laughable today.

But for those of you freaks, past and present, ever wonder where the phrase ,” a lid of pot” comes from?

I found this tome written by an anonymous contributor on WikiAnswers:

 The term ‘lid’ of marijuana goes back to the 60’s.   Back then, you could buy a ‘lid’ or a ‘can’ of pot. The can was aproximatley 1 oz, the lid was 1/8 oz. The term came from the practice of breaking up a brick (a kilo or later a key) of tightly packed marjijuana and storing and selling it in Price Albert tobacco cans.   A can held aproximatley one ounce.    The lid would hold aproximatley 1/8 oz.     No one weighed it really, it was all done by eye.    By the time I was in high school in the early 70’s,  the term can had gone away and the term lid referred to an ounce.

Color yourself schooled.   You’re informed.  You can die now.

One final note about “Lidsville”.   I had forgotten that it was supposed to be a teen star vehicle for a young, nubile Butch Patrick, who at 13, was only a few pubes away from his days of portraying Eddie Munster in the TV series, “The Munsters”  in the mid-’60’.

 Wow.  He’d grown up considerably.   Firm, young body,  emerging from boy to young man.  I’d forgotten how cute  he was in this show.  Really cute.

Can I do time for that????



  1. I remember thinking that the flute in Davey’s pocket was a talking pretzel. Was his name Davey or Davy or Davie? Am I remembering correctly that Puffinstuf had a southern accent?

    You opened up a long-repressed memory with the almost appropriately named”Lidsville”. I think they were able to slip “Lidsville” past a lot of people probably because anyone who would have protested the name didn’t know what a “lid” was anyway. By omitting the first i and reversing the d and the s, it would have been perfectly titled. But by that time I guess everyone knew what LSD was.

    Again this was so buried in my mind that I had to watch it several times to remember some of the creepy characters in the intro such as the nurse hat, the detective hat and the woman that looks like Irene Ryan. Charles Nelson Riley I remembered immediately. I only remember the intro. I don’t think I ever watched that show. I also didn’t realize at the time that it starred Eddie Munster.

  2. What about the Bugaloos, Sigmund the Sea Monster, and Land of the Lost, with their Sleestaks and futuristic Chuckie. Yes, I said “futuristic.” How many times have you seen that same blank-stared, knuckledragging countenance simply stepping out your front door?

    And how about the odd thing that would “hanker for a hunka cheese,” or Schoolhouse Rocks.

    Tornadoes have ripped the good Saturday mornings from us, but at least we have our own Wayback Machines to ease what ails us, if Alka Seltzer boy can’t.

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