Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
Company was a Saturday morning variety show hosted by Johnny Olson, his third
show for DuMont,
and Joe Palookacreator
Ham Fisher. It was a talent showcase where kids could come on and demonstrate
their particular skills for a television audience, such as dancing, singing, playing
an instrument and more. An off-stage organ would usually play along for the
musical acts under the stewardship of musical director Bill Wirges.
Among the youngsters that appeared were George Segal, Leslie Uggams, Bobby Darin and Marvin Hamlisch, all of whom grew up to
have careers in the entertainment industry.
Johnny Olson and his co-host.
Company debuted on DuMont on September 1, 1951 and ran for two seasons,
originating from the Ambassador
Theater in New York City. The show was primarily sponsored by The Red Goose Shoe
Company and their mascot, a red goose (naturally), appeared on the show in
puppet form to interact with the hosts during commercial segments. As a result,
Red Goose shoes were often awarded to the show’s participants, as were watches and defense bonds. Each week an award was presented for “Kid of the
Week”, recognizing examples of great courage and determination and overall good
community citizenship. The awards were given by the National Junior Chamber of Commerce, and were
often presented by guest celebrities. For the final episode of the season, a “Kid
of the Year” was chosen and was given a trip to meet President Harry
S. Truman, amongst other prizes. Bill Ballard served as a writer
for the show.
A baton twirler does his thing.
In 1956, Olson
and the puppet were reunited by ABC for three
ninety-minute specials called Red Goose Kiddie Spectaculars, which were
essentially a revival of the concept of Kids and Company. Known
surviving episodes of the original show are held by the UCLA Film and Television Archive, the Paley Center for Media and the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Before
his death in 1955, Fisher’s Joe Palooka would become a brief media
empire and eventually ended its newspaper run in 1984. Olson’s career led to
his being off-camera more than on as a popular on-air announcer, particularly
for gameshows created by Goodson-Todman
Productions, which he did until his death in 1985.