Back when there were only a handful of TV channels from which to choose – Channel 3 (WKYC/KYW), Channel 5 (WEWS) and Channel 8 (WJW), locally produced programming for the kids in town was a very big deal. Cleveland had a whole litany of stars for the kids: Captain Penny (Ron Penfound) with Jungle Larry; Mr. Jingeling (played by Max Ellis, Carl Mackey, and Earl Keyes); Barnaby (Linn Sheldon) and Woodrow the Woodsman (J. Clayton "Clay" Conroy; Miss Barbara (Barbara Plummer) the local host for the nationally syndicated/franchised Romper Room; and Franz the Toymaker (Ray Stawiarski).
Looking back on these shows (there are some clips below), they were amateurish and frankly, not that great compared to today’s standards. But, they served their purpose; they kept the kids captivated and hopefully out of mom’s hair for a while. Since there were six children in my family, my mother had to keep these shows just to keep her own sanity. I think she had a crush on Captain Penny, though.
And who can forget some of their tag lines or themes:
You can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool Mom. She's pretty nice and she's pretty smart.
“If anybody calls, tell them Barnaby said 'hello, 'and tell them I think you are the nicest person in the whole world…just you.”
Mister Jingeling how you tingeling
Keeper of the keys
On Halle's seventh floor we'll be looking for
You to turn the keys
Miss Barbara at Romper Room
“Romper, bomper, stomper boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me, do. Magic mirror, tell me today. Have all my friends had fun at play.”
Here are some videos highlighting some of the star of Cleveland’s children’s shows:
Captain Penny and Jungle Larry, Mr. Jingeling, and Miss Barbara
Barnaby, with Woodrow
Franz the Toymaker
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