Book Reviews: Saturday Morning TV by Gary Grossmancategories: Books, Entertainment, cartoons
Author: Gary H. Grossman
Publisher: Dell Books
Still an improper look at kid tv historyMr.Grossman's book..which has been out of print..since the 1980's..is still a forgettable look back at kids tv history.
The text is inaccurate, the tone is angry and it doesn't really tell us the true history of the creation,the development and the downfall of children's shows on the networks and on the local stations.
Even the title of one chapter"Uncle Hosts & Other Video Relations"is still an incorrect and insulting title."Uncle Hosts"refers to cartoon show mc's and this chapter has included"Captain Kangaroo",Sonny Fox,"Mr.I Magination!"(Paul Tripp),"Officer Joe"Bolton,Chuck McCann,Soupy Sales,Pinky Lee and "Capt.Bob"Cottle.
"Captain Kangaroo"(Bob Keeshan),"Mr.I Magination" and Sonny Fox were kids tv educators and not cartoon show mc's..they belong in the book's other chapter"Plugged In Pupils".Soupy Sales,Chuck McCann and Pinky Lee were comedy performers..who should be in their own chapter about kids tv's own comedy performers and clowns and "Officer Joe" and "Capt.Bob"were wraparound hosts(A combination of educator and entertainer..an adjective coined by Ray Heatherton:"The Merry Mailman"..who Mr.Grossman made no effort to seek out and interview or even do any research and write about his accomplishments in children's tv at all).
Even the description of what these mc's did is offensive.."They presented information that ranged from the useful to the mundane".
Mr.Grossman and his research assistant..Mr.Rupp made no effort to correct that info about"Officer Joe"Bolton being regular host/performer for WPIX TV Ch.11 NYC's"Popeye Show"..They state that they got their info from an old kids tv magazine"TV Fun Fare"and that only Bolton's name and his status at mc'ing Ch.11's "Popeye Show"is in that magazine..I have two copies of that magazine in my files..and if they had really bothered to read it properly?
They'd find both a photo and some info about"Capt.Allen"Swift hosting "The Popeye Show"on some nights..while "Officer Joe"hosted the program on other nights(Bolton was a substitute mc for the series..when "Capt.Allen"was not available).
These people..did more than that..they were able to educate us all about the world we live in and about its many wonders and cultures,it's flaws and it's joys etc.
That was never properly presented in that book.
I wrote the previous review for The Amazon website years ago..and my opinion hasn't changed..unfortunately..neither has Mr.Grossman's look at the history of kids tv. [by Kevin S. Butler]
Mr. Grossman is no Fun Return to Saturday TVMr.Grossman's book is inaccurate and at times angry and insulting. In one chapter titled "Uncle Hosts & Other Video Relations" he talks about Soupy Sales, Sonny Fox, Paul Tripp, Bob Keeshan, Chuck McCann, "Capt. Bob" Cottle and Pinky Lee as if they did nothing more than introduce reruns of cartoons and gave minor informational segments to the viewers. In the chapter about cartoons he mentions that "Officer Joe" Bolton was the only host of WPIX TV Ch.11 NYC's "Popeye Show". He is wrong about Bolton being the mc of Ch.11's "Popeye Show". "Officer Joe" was a substitute mc of the program. The real hosts/performers were "Capt.'s Allen" Swift, Ray Heatherton and Jack McCarthy. Tripp And Keeshan don't belong in a chapter about cartoon show hosts (which is what an "Uncle Host" is) they were kids tv educators and soupy sales. Chuck McCann and Pinky Lee were comedy performers and damn good ones for kids. They should have been in a separate chapter - along with Tripp, Keeshan and Fox.
The info about the cartoon show and wraparound hosts (a combination of educator and entertainer which is what "Capt. Bob" and "Officer Joe" really were) was meaningful and fun for kids. Not "useful and mundane" as Mr.Grossman puts it here. He also alludes to the fact that the live kids tv hosts were dropped for cartoons. They were actually forced to leave when Mrs. Charren's ACT requested that the network and local tv stations stop using the kids tv hosts to promote questionable products and add more appropriate educational kids tv shows, done to the ACT's liking. With the commercial aspect of the shows gone the execs decided to rerun the films without the hosts. He also stated that Mrs. Charren hosted a kids tv show at Ch.11 in NYC - that is not true. Another performer named Patty Charon did a kid tv show with Mr. Danny Webb at Ch.110
The one saving grace of this manuscript are the photos which are interesting and fun on a nostalgic note. Otherwise there is nothing memorable, historically accurate or meaningful about Mr. Grossman's kids tv history book.
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