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TV setHeartland
Kids' Classics

The Local Children's TV Shows of the Midwest

by Brian M. Hass


Long before cable TV, with Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network, the selection of broadcast channels was more limited. This allowed local television stations to dominate the market with their own locally produced fare. These children's programs tended to be low budget; and for the most part, the local segments mostly served the purpose of introducing cartoons.

However, some of these early shows used rather imaginative gimmicks to keep children (and their parents) tuning in day after day. Some used puppets; while, others gave away toy prizes. And, their hosts became celebrities of their day; and later, they became icons of a long gone era.

Unfortunately, these locally produced shows were not treated with the same level of respect as their national counterparts. Local TV stations usually operated on limited budgets; and, their storage space was limited. Thus, any surviving footage was frequently lost or thrown away to make room. And, for the most part, there was little footage to be preserved in the first place; since, the shows were generally aired live for economic reasons. And finally, few people from the viewing area ever expressed enough interest in these programs to write about them to preserve information for future historians.

Listing of Local Children's Shows and Related Links

"Axel and His Dog
Clellan Card
Aired 1954-1966
WCCO ch 4, Minneapolis, MN

Axel's Tree House: A tribute to the local children's show from the Twin Cities

"Bingo's Big Top"
Hosted by Dave Madsen
Aired 1977-1979
KMEG ch 14, Sioux City, IA

The Unofficial "Bingo's Big Top" Home Page: A tribute to Siouxland's local children's show from the late 1970's

"Book Bandwagon"
Host Unknown
KTIV ch 4, Sioux City, IA

Shows: the general shows page

"Bozo the Clown"
Locally Hosted, Hosted by Pat Tobin
Aired 1960-61 or 62
KSOO (now KSFY) ch 13, Sioux Falls, SD

The Unofficial KSOO Bozo Home Page: This page is a tribute to Sioux Fall's very own version of Bozo the Clown.

"Canyon Kid's Corner"
Hosted by Jim Henry
Aired 1960's-early 1980's
KVTV/KCAU ch 9, Sioux City, IA

The Unofficial "Canyon Kid's Corner" Home Page: This page is a tribute to Sioux City's longest running locally produced children's show.

"Captain 11"
Hosted by Dave Dedrick
Aired 1955-97
KELO ch 11, Sioux Falls, SD

The Unofficial "Captain 11" Home Page: This page is a tribute to the Midwest's longest running children's television show.

"Captain 11"
Hosted by Jim Lange
aired 1950's
KMIN ch 11, Minneapolis, MN

"Cartoon Time"
Hosted by Gene Quilleash and Dutch Meyers
Aired 1956-58
KTIV ch 4, Sioux City, IA

"Commander Four"
Hosted by John Rickwa
Aired about 1956-57
KTIV ch 4, Sioux City, IA

Shows: the general shows page

"Klarence the Klown"
Hosted by Bill Bass
Aired 1970?-73?
KMEG ch 14, Sioux City, IA

The Unofficial "Klarence the Klown" Home Page

"Lunch with Casey"
Hosted by Roger Ansumb
Aired 1950's and 1960's
WTCN ch 11, Minneapolis, MN

The "Lunch with Casey" Tribute Page: a tribute to one of Minneapolis' earliest children's shows.

Hosted by Dave Webber
Aired 1973-77
KMEG ch 14, Sioux City, IA

The Unofficial Pops Home Page: a tribute to Sioux City's locally produced children's show of the early 1970's.

"Puppin's Place"
Hosted by Tim Poppen
Aired early 1980's
KMEG ch 14, Sioux City, IA

See "Bingo's Big Top"

"Romper Room"
Hosted by Miss Carolyn Flemming
Aired 1960's
KSOO (now KSFY) ch 13, Sioux Falls, SD

Shows: the general shows page


Generally, the following programs were not full fledged shows, but were locally produced segments which were usually sprinkled throughout an afternoon of programming for kids. In many ways, these programs lacked the creativity of their predecessors. However, they did add a local touch to the increasingly global medium of television.

KMEG from Sioux City and KTTW from Sioux Falls aired kids' club programs in the 1990's. KMEG's "KMEG Kids' Club" was hosted by Tim Poppen, formerly of "Puppin's Place." And, KTTW's "Kids' Club" is still hosted by Stephanie Fischer.

In the 1990's, South Dakota Public TV introduced an afternoon of PBS kids' shows with a similar type of program, hosted by Richard Muller (playing the accordian) and a blue creature named Clifford (who initially had no mouth but eventually seemed to "grow" one). Later, Clifford was replaced by a walking television set. These types of programs listed birthdays, etc.

Guest Book

Please, sign the guest book and share your thoughts and memories about some of your favorite local children's shows.


Local Shows of Other Regions

Chicago, IL: Chicago Locals

Cinncinati, Ohio: Cincinnati Local Kid Shows

Los Angeles, CA: Local Legends by Tisha Parti

Los Angeles, CA: LA's Local Kid Shows

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN: Twin Cities Children's Shows

New York, NY: New York City Children's Shows

New York, NY: New York City Local Kid Shows

Philadelphia, PA: Philly Local Kid Shows

San Francisco, CA: San Francisco Local Kid Shows

Tulsa, OK: Tulsa TV Memories by Mike Ransom

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A special thanks goes to Fritz Miller of KMEG, Dave Madsen of KTIV and Marge Hokenstad of KSFY for providing information for this and related pages.

The shows, "Romper Room" and "Bozo the Clown" at KSOO were said to have been locally produced and shouldn't be confused with other shows by the same name. Some of the information about these comes from a special edition of KSFY's "Extra" from 1990, which was made to celebrate the station's thirtieth anniversary.

As far as can be determined, KDLT (formerly KORN and then KXON) never had its own locally produced kids' show. The closest this station ever came to producing its own kids' show was to air a half hour's worth of short "Popeye" cartoons on weekday afternoons in the early 1980's. The cartoons were from the 1940's (black and white) and 1950's; and, featured Bluto (not the later ones that featured Brutus). The cartoons were simply shown by themselves without any overall title or introduction by KXON itself. Some kids probably liked this format better; because, the lack of locally-produced segments meant that there was more time for the "Popeye" cartoons.

Local stations from Sioux Falls and Sioux City areas aired other programs for introducing movies or shows. These included KSFY's presentation of movies at midnight on Saturday nights/ Sunday mornings, and IPTV's "Sci Fi Saturday Night." Both of these programs were targetted at general audiences but seemed to attract a lot of kids as well.

KSFY's movies were (for a time) introduced by a local comedian, who spoofed various situations (including, on one broadcast, a frustrated astronaut waiting on the launch pad). This KSFY show aired in various forms from the 1970's to the early 1980's, and underwent a number of changes of title (one of which was "Chiller Thriller"). At one point, old science-fiction and fantasy movies (such as the Godzilla films) were presented; but later, British made-for-TV mysteries and thrillers were shown. It followed "Saturday Night Live" and was most likely cancelled when KSFY switched its affiliation from NBC to ABC.

Since the early 1990's, Iowa Public TV has been airing a popular program called "Sci Fi Saturday Night" (formerly "Sci Fi Friday Night") with host, Mike Frisbie, floating around a computer generated backdrop and introducing episodes of various British science fiction shows. This program evolved from IPTV's weekly broadcasts of "Doctor Who" in the 1980's. "Sci Fi Saturday Night" is still aired every Saturday night at 10:30pm, and even has an unofficial "Sci Fi Friday Night" home page. IPTV had plans for its own official home page for the program; but without explanation, these plans were apparently scrapped.

In addition to kids' shows, local stations also produced other local shows. KSOO (later KSFY) had "Party Line" hosted by Ray Loftesness and Sylvia Henkin, and "Trading Post" hosted by the Red Stangland, who was later known for his Norwegian joke books and his Norwegian alter ego, "Uncle Torvald." In later years, KSFY had a weekly program called "Eye Witness News Extra." KELO had a weekly news magazine show called "Thirty" hosted by Doug Lund, which ran from at least the 1970's through the early 1990's. KELO currently airs a monthly half hour long political program called "First Monday," moderated by retired news anchor, Steve Hemmingsen. KVTV (later KCAU) had "The Big Bowl Show" hosted by Gene Sherman and Dave Dedrick. In time, if enough information warrants, these and other local non-kids' shows from Sioux Falls and Sioux City will be listed in a separate web page linked to this one. But for now, it is available in this paragraph.

The purpose of this web page is to list links to pages or web sites containing information about midwesteren children's shows. There are a number of similar web pages by different authors for local shows from other regions of the country; so, anyone looking for shows from those particular regions should look at those pages. The main goal of this page is to fill in one of the gaps in coverage by listing some of the midwestern shows not covered by those other web sites. Right now, the primary focus of this particular web page is the Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Sioux City, Iowa areas.

If anyone has created web sites about Midwestern locally produced children's shows and would like to have them linked here, contact Brian Hass by email. Be sure to include the words "Kid TV" in the subject line.

This web page was started as a result of Brian Hass' interest in the preservation of television history. This interest started when he first learned about the lost episodes of a British television series called "Doctor Who." After some research on the subject, he wrote an article, "The Lost and Found Episodes of 'Doctor Who'" and posted it to the internet in 1993. Brian still updates this article whenever new information warrants.

Afterwards, Brian Hass' interest moved to the local midwestern television shows he used to watch while growing up. But, to his shock, there was nothing about them on the web. Something had to be done before the information about these shows disappeared forever. So, Brian started by writing a "Captain 11" page. Then, he went a step further and created this page to serve as a central node (or page of links) for any other pages (or web sites) written by anyone on any of the locally produced children's programs. In short, this page is intended to be a sort of on-line meeting place where midwesterners can basque in nostalgia or learn a little bit about local broadcast history.

This page (and the subsequent pages to which it is linked) is not intended to infringe on any copyrights. The children's television programs listed here are the copyrighted property of their respective television stations; and, the television stations are not necessarily responsible for the contents of any of these pages.