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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I saw this post in the 45s thread... and it gave me an idea:

Leslie said:
Sonny Fox is an interesting man with an interesting life and career, but the way Gertie and I (and other NY/NJ kids of the era) remember him best was as the host of Wonderama. This was a TV extravaganza that was on every Sunday morning from 9 am to 1 pm. It was the ultimate kids' variety show and I was usually glued to the TV for the whole thing. I never got to be on the show but here are a few memories of kids who did (along with some more pictures of Sonny).

This is another show I remember (I mentioned it somewhere but had the wrong name).

For a few years it seemed as though Fox owned children's weekend television in the New York metropolitan area. In the same year he joined Wonderama, he reached back to the "color war" team competitions he knew as a child in summer camp to create and host Just For Fun, a two-and-a-half hour Saturday morning show involving two teams of kids in Blue and Gold jumpsuits to compete in contests ranging from the mildly athletic to the wildly bizarre. One mainstay was the Treasure Chest competition: One contestant from each team would be placed in front of a locked chest and 1,000 keys. When the winner found the key to open their chest, a siren would sound, and whatever was happening at the time (be it cartoon, commercial, skit, etc.) was interrupted. The winner would stand with arms outstretched and a towering pile of board games and toys would be placed in their arms.

I remember those kids with the keys. I remember exactly once that the first key the kid picked up opened the chest. Amazing! I vaguely remember Sonny hosting the show but I have clearer memories of Sandy Becker taking over the job.

There are going to be some memories we all share -- if we're in the same age range -- and then there are others that are more regional.

For instance, Faygo Pop. I'm from the Detroit area and Faygo does end up in some strange places, even where I live now in Northern MN, but it's definitely something most Detroiters really know well. And there was a commercial that still gives me goosebumps in a nostalgic way:

And this commercial for The Detroit Zoo:

The woman is Mark Harmon's sister, Kelly.

Premium Member
19,280 Posts
Diver Dan!

From Wikipedia:

Diver Dan was a series of 104 seven-minute live-action shorts made for children's television. Made by Brian Cartoons, it was syndicated (mainly to NBC affiliates)and distributed by ITC Entertainment. The shows were sometimes re-edited into half-hour (including commercials) blocks by local stations. The series featured the adventures of a diver in an old-fashioned diving suit who talked to the passing fish. The series was filmed in live action with puppet fish; the underwater effect was achieved by shooting through an aquarium.

Diver Dan debuted in 1960, the brainchild of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania cartoonist J. Anthony (John) Ferlaine, as a spinoff of his comic strip, Fish Tales. Ferlaine, who worked as an art director at Philadelphia's CBS affiliate WCAU-TV, produced two Fish Tales live-action marionette pilots. When CBS did not pick up the show, Ferlaine and promoter Martin Young partnered with Philadelphia producer Louis W. Kellman, who with his staff produced local TV spots and film shorts, and filmed NFL football games. They produced the shorts over nine months, and syndicated them.

In New York City, Diver Dan shorts ran as part of Felix & Diver Dan, a 30-minute children's show airing from January 4, 1960, to August 31, 1962, and which also included Felix the Cat.

From TV Party:

Diver Dan must have made quite an impression on the young people who grew up watching it. (NB: I was one of those kids. L) From what I can gather, Diver Dan hung out in the ocean in a clunky old-school diver's rig, talking to the fishes floating by. To give the illusion of being underwater, the show was merely shot through an aquarium! Diver Dan and company were on the other side of the aquarium acting out their scenes, and I'm sure no one was really fooled.

Also seen on these NBC produced syndicated seven minute segments from 1961: Minerva the Mermaid (pictured), and the evil Baron Barracuda with his cigarette smoking sidekick Trigger Fish, beatnick fish Gill-Espi, Scout Fish, and Hermit the Crab (all of the fish characters were puppets).

These short segments would run on local kid shows, and as an entire half-hour show.

Here's the first episode:
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