Bob McAllister Show
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but an onion a day keeps EVERYBODY away!" - Mike Fury
As a youngster, Bob McAllister's parents gave him his first ventriloquist dummy as a reward for good grades. In 1953, McAllister would take that dummy, Chauncey, and win on "Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour" on CBS Television. An accomplished magician and juggler, McAllister came to WJZ from a station in Norfolk in the mid-60's, tasked with replacing the popular Lorenzo. From McAllister's creative mind came characters like the country bumpkin Thurman, twin clowns Willy Winkie and Billy Blinkie, Mr. Grandy the Janitor, evil Silas Sinister, and wimpy Melvin Frump, a.k.a superhero Mike Fury, who acquired his powers by eating an onion daily. Besides Chauncey, other dummies were Seymour Snake who gave the daily weather forecast, Sylvester the Robot, Fidelia ("Well I Declare!"), and Quigley the Cartoon Keeper, which was actually a nutcracker. Bob McAllister continued to entertain Baltimore youngsters until the late 1960's, when he left for WNEW in New York to host Metromedia's "Wonderama," which also aired in DC, Los Angeles, and elsewhere. Picked up by ABC in the '70's, the show's title was changed to "Kids Are People Too," but McAllister was replaced by a younger (and far less entertaining) host. McAllister went on to teach magic, and during the 1980's produced a magic home video. Sadly, he died of lung cancer on July 21, 1998 at the age of 63. Photos and recollections of "The Bob McAllister Show" are encouraged.
Turk & The Sunshine Kids
|Weatherman Bob Turk hosted this program from 1973 to 1978. The show featured Bob and a small group of kids interacting with a weekly guest. Produced and directed, at least initially, by Susan Carter, your obedient webmaster served as production assistant during the show's first year. Transporting the kids to and from tapings, and helping them prepare questions to ask the guest were my primary duties. (I once|
|got into big trouble for allowing a
kid to ask our guest, a member of the local roller derby team, if the
sport was rigged.) Although the show aired on the weekend, we
generally taped on a weeknight, and often after a pre-show meal of
cheeseburgers and/or chili at Alonzo's on Cold Spring Lane, then one of
the favorite hangouts of TV Hill folk. Reminiscing about the
program in June, 2001, weatherman Turk said:
"We have not one piece of video tape from those shows. As far as memories, the funniest moment has to be the time we had some rabbits on the show with a guest. Well what do you think those rabbits were doing on the set? You guessed it, right in front of our kids! So one kid asked Mr. Bob what they were doing. I said they were playing the bunny hop dance! We had to stop tape and resume when after we all regained our composure.."
Bob Turk remains a part of the Eyewitness News team, and after 28 years may be the station's longest lasting on-air personality ever.
The last in a long list of local children's programs at Channel 13 was "Kid's Baffle." This clever and entertaining game show was hosted by veteran broadcaster Bob Callahan, whose resume included "Maryland Weekend" and "Old Houseworks" for MPT, and "Evening Magazine" for WJZ. Former WFBR dj Larry Walton served as the show's announcer. In July, 2001, Callahan shared some memories with CCKTV:
"I hosted the show for a three-year period in the early 1980's. Airing on Saturdays, the half hour show featured local junior high schools competing head-to-head from their bleacher seat set in the studio. We taped three shows each Saturday. So it was, for me, change clothes, read over questions, come out to the set to meet the kids, do the show 'live on tape' (we rarely had to stop tape to fix problems, change clothes again, etc.