Many may remember KMEG's Bingo the Clown, played by Dave Madsen. "Bingo's Big Top" ran from 1977 to 1979 on KMEG in Sioux City, Iowa. The program did not come into being all at once. Initially, Pops, played by Dave Webber from about 1973 to 1977, introduced a character on his show, a clown with no name. And, he held a contest to have the local area children write in to name the clown. They went through the various suggestions on the air and finally settled on "Bingo." To this, the clown shrieked, "I have a name!"
For a time, Pops and Bingo co-hosted the children's show, which still belonged to Pops. In essence, Bingo was more of a sidekick in the beginning. After a point, Pops disappeared. The viewers were informed that Pops was simply on vacation for a while; and, the show continued on with only Bingo. After a period of time, Pops' "vacation" was getting to be a bit long, when Dave Webber left KMEG to return to Omaha, Nebraska. And, the program was finally renamed "Bingo's Big Top." Most children seemed oblivious to the change. But, just when it seemed Pops had been forgotten, a concerned young viewer wrote in to ask what had happened to Pops. Bingo happily replied, "Oh, he's down in Florida. He's sunning himself, getting a nice tan. He's fine." With that, Pops' absence was finally explained away once and for all; and from that point on, the show clearly belonged to Bingo.
Under Bingo, the show basically continued on more or less as before. Bingo read letters from young viewers and introduced the short "Little Rascals" movies. On occasion, he introduced special guests, such as someone from the Arts Center to show kids how to make something or someone from the Extension Service to show them how to pick healthy snacks. Also, Tim Poppin and his Puppins were frequent guests.
Eventually, "Bingo's Big Top" was replaced by a show called "Puppin's Place," hosted by Tim Poppin. Dave Madsen is still involved with television and is currently station manager at KTIV-TV in Sioux City, Iowa.
A special thanks goes to Dave Madsen for providing information to correct and update the earliest edition of this page. Any errors or inaccuracies are due to the author, not Dave Madsen.
"Bingo's Big Top" and "Puppin's Place" are the copyrighted property of KMEG-TV in Sioux City, Iowa. Neither KMEG-TV nor Dave Madsen are responsible for the contents of this article. No copyright infringements were intended in the writing of this article. This article was written as a tribute to the classic local TV show.