In the 1960’s, there was no such thing as Nickleodeon. There wasn’t even a Children’s Television Workshop. Bert and Ernie were off into the future. Kids needed entertainment! What would be done?
Well, you select a personable member of the local TV station staff who gets along well with children, you scarf up some cheap Loony Tunes shorts, set up some benches and a painted plywood backdrop, and make a kid’s show.
In my area, there was KOAM’s Fun Club. It was the ultimate. One child in my neighborhood made it on, and we all viewed him with new respect after having gotten the privilege of being driven 30 miles to Pittsburg, Kansas by his parents and appearing on REAL TELEVISION!
The Fun Club was conducted by KOAM newscaster Roger Neer. He was assisted by Slim Andrews, a local talent who had amassed a pretty impressive movie resume’ in westerns. He was the Forty-Niner, appearing in cowboy garb and playing tunes as a one-man-band. His kazoo is what I remember most vividly. Eventually, he took over the show himself after Roger moved on, hopefully to bigger and better things.
The show would feature cartoons, interviews with bashful youngsters, puppets, and song-and-dance.
I’ll bet any of you who remember JFK also recall at least one show like this!
I’m not sure when the Fun Club sailed off into the sunset. Cable networks changed everything, and local shows like this are a rarity. But in the 1960’s, no Saturday afternoon was complete without watching Roger and the Forty-Niner on channel 7.