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The Unofficial "Canyon Kid's Corner" Home Page

by Brian M. Hass

"Canyon Kid's Corner" was the longest running locally produced children's show in Sioux City, Iowa. For thirty-two years, Jim Henry entertained children in the Siouxland area as Canyon Kid. Originally, Henry was approached about the idea of doing the show because of his affiliation with the theatre. He designed the show with a clubhouse theme, with Canyon Kid as the President. The program first hit the airwaves on March 30, 1953, one day after KVTV (now KCAU) first went on the air. Jim Henry was once asked why his character's name was "Canyon;" and because of his thick Brooklyn accent during the early days, Jim said that he told them that the "canyon" was the region formed between the tall buildings of New York. His original costume consisted of western shirt, jeans, string tie, and a cowboy hat; and, he became the east coast version of a cowboy. Each day, up to twenty children were invited onto the show as guests. The show featured local talent or introduced cartoons; and, the format varied daily. It featuring story, pet, and drawing days.

Originally, the shows were aired live. During the mid 1960's, the show was taped on two-inch black and white videotape. In 1967, KCAU switched to color videotape.

The show's original format continued until the show moved to mornings during the 1970's. Kids could no longer appear on the show as guests; so, Canyon introduced two puppet companions, Sam the Serpent and the Old Timer. Jim Henry found these in an old closet at the TV station. Sam, the smart talking serpent puppet, was the first introduced; and, the Old Timer joined him and Canyon later on as a regular. Always accompanied by his two puppet companions, Canyon introduced cartoons as well as in-studio guests, did the list of local children's birthdays, and read letters from young viewers. Sam always delivered these letters to Canyon from the mailbag, carrying them in his mouth. In the letters, children listed all of their good deeds in the hopes that Canyon would call them "Good Guys."

During the 1970's, Canyon traded his cowboy clothing for his famous vest, which was completely covered with badges that were sent in by children. Originally, this started when a child sent Canyon a button. He wanted to wear it on the show; so, he placed the badge on a beanie, which he wore on his head. However, children had sent in so many badges that the beanie was not large enough to hold all of them. Thus, Canyon's famous vest was born. However, during the show's last few years, the vest was quite saturated; and, it was difficult to imagine that there would be any free space to squeeze in new ones.

In the 1970's, the program ran Monday through Friday, early in the morning. Children watched the show while eating their breakfast before school. Eventually, "Canyon Kid's Corner" moved to afternoons, which was a somewhat less hectic time for children to watch the program. But with time, the show switched to broadcasting once per week on Sunday afternoons, following nationally broadcasted children's shows such as "Animals, Animals, Animals" and "Kids Are People, Too."

In the 1980's, "Canyon Kid's Corner" was combined with another children's show, "Kid's World," and was renamed "Canyon Kid's World." In this new format, the cartoons were dropped in favor of the "Kid's World" segments; while, the in-studio segments remained unchanged.

In the early/mid-1980's, competition with children's shows on cable TV as well as changes at KCAU took their toll. In November of 1985, the show suddenly disappeared from the airwaves as a result of network programming and financial constraints. The famous badge vest was retired to a permanent display in the Applebee's restaurant on Hamilton Boulevard in Sioux City, IA. In 1990, Jim Henry started to conduct his five-minute "Around Siouxland" interviews for KTIV-TV.

"Canyon Kid's Corner" is the copyrighted property of KCAU-TV in Sioux City, Iowa. Neither KCAU-TV nor Jim Henry 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.