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The Golden Age of Chicago Children's Television Paperback – June 1, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

Review

The Golden Age Of Chicago Children's Television tells the true story of children's television produced or aired in Chicago from the 1940s to the 1970s. Even though these shows often operated under strict budget limits, the imagination that fueled them was boundless. Classic productions such as Kukla, Fran & Ollie, Garfield Goose, Bozo's Circus, and more, truly captivated the imagination of generations. Black-and-white photographs illustrate The Golden Age Of Chicago Children's Television, which delves deeply into the amazing history and trivia behind popular and beloved shows, from the lives of stars and hosts to what gave television executives sudden fits and much more. A wonderful trip through memory lane and fascinating repository of little-known facts. --Midwest Book Review

A wonderful book filled with great memories. --Terri Hemmert, WXRT Radio

The Golden Age of Chicago Children's Television by Ted Okuda and Jack Mulqueen . . . is a nostalgic delight, packed with behind-the-scenes details of the free-spirited magic that was early children's television in the Midwest. . . . their portrait of this kid-size golden age honors the heart of an endeavor rare by today's standards for its simple, honest devotion to children. Simply excellent. --Jean Kozlowski, Cricket in the Corner

About the Author

Ted Okuda is a Chicago-based film historian whose previous books include The Golden Age of Chicago Children's Television (coauthored with Jack Mulqueen), The Columbia Comedy Shorts, The Monogram Checklist, The Jerry Lewis Films (coauthored with James L. Neibaur), and The Soundies Distributing Corporation of America (coauthored with Scott MacGillivray). His most recent book credits include coauthoring Charlie Chaplin at Keystone and Essanay: Dawn of the Tramp David Maska, contributing chapters for Guilty Pleasures of the Horror Film and Science Fiction America, and writing the foreword for Castle Films: A Hobbyist's Guide. Okuda's articles, interviews, and reviews have appeared in such media-themed publications as Filmfax, Classic Images, Cult Movies, Outré, Classic Film Collector, The Big Reel, and Movie Collector's World. He has discussed film, television, and pop culture topics on The Today Show, Chicago Tonight, Three Stooges Stooge-A-Palooza, Nude Hippo: Your Chicago Show, and NBC Channel 5 News. Ted was also a research consultant for the cable access anthology series The Kings of Comedy.

Jack Mulqueen was born of Irish Catholic parents on the South Side of Chicago. John Mulqueen, father, was born in Kilrush Clare, Ireland. Marie, mother, (maiden name Calaghan) was born also on the South Side of Chicago near the steel mills. His father worked most of his life as a lab technician for the swift meat company and was known for his work in curing hams. However, Jack was always attracted to show business and loved movies. At every opportunity he would be entertaining the family, his sister, Maryann, friends and neighbors. His father soon realized Jack was one ham he couldn’t cure.

By the time he reached High School, Chicago Vocational on the South Side, he was active in the glee club, school band, school paper, and produced and wrote a series of plays for the students. He got his first taste of TV, appearing on TV with fellow high school students from around Chicago interviewing Ross Hunter, producer of films that starred Doris Day and other stars. In college he had his own radio show weekly and produced a children TV special on WTHI, Terre Haute, IN, along with his fellow students.

During the Korean War, the Army gave him the opportunity to broadcast his own show with fellow army pal, Herb Wills, a magician; A kid show three days a week on KKTV in Colorado Springs. After the Army, he appeared on WTTW-TV every Monday for a half-hour show, working his puppets and sponsored by the Chicago Park District. In the 50s and early 60s he made guest appearances, sponsored by Coca-Cola on WGN-TV with his wife as Pandora, producing kid commercials. This exposure launched them into their own show on April 13, 1963. The Mulqueens and Mulqueens' Kiddie-a-Go-Go ran for eight years over WGN-TV, WLS-TV, and WCIU-TV.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 249 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Claremont Press (June 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893121178
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893121171
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #886,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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It covers all of the great kiddie programs we loved while growing up in ChicagoLand in the 50's and 60's.
The Baroness
Having grown up in Chicago during this era, I was unable to put down this book, and was astonished as to how many wonderful memories it brought back.
Ralph Schiller
Bozo's Circus, Ray Rayner and Friends, and so many other great shows allowed kids to be entertained, to learn, and to free up our imaginations.
James L. Neibaur

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Schiller on August 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
Ted Okuda and Jack Mulqueen's book, "The Golden Age Of Chicago Children's Television" is an incredible treasure chest of nostalgia for the beloved childhood memories of anyone who grew up in the Chicago Mid-West during the 1950's and 1960's.

Authors Okuda and Mulqueen cover the extensive and often elaborately produced Chicago area children's televison shows, along with their hosts, who became local stars of the first magnitude in the days before cable, sattelite dishes, and even UHF channels! These behind-the-scenes stories are both fascinating and riveting, and the reader can follow the rise and fall of such local, but famed legendary shows like "Garfield Goose And Friends", "Kukla, Fran & Ollie", "Ray Raynor And Friends", "B.J. And Dirty Dragon", "Bozo's Circus", "Elmer The Elephant", and "The Mulqueen's Kiddy-A-Go-Go', among many others! Readers will recall the wonderful stars of this long-gone era like Burr Tillstrom, Fran Allison, Frazier Thomas, Bob Bell, Ray Raynor, Roy Brown, Don Sandburg, John Conrad, Elaine (beautiful Pandora) Mulqueen, Bill Jackson, Mary Hartline, all the greats and many more!

Having grown up in Chicago during this era, I was unable to put down this book, and was astonished as to how many wonderful memories it brought back. The authors Ted Okuda and Jack Mulqueen have thankfully preserved for us some of Chicagoland TV's magic and history, before all traces of it vanish forever like the Buffalo!
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Format: Paperback
Like the other reviewers on this page, I enjoyed the Okuda-Mulqueen "Chicago Children's Television" book very much. Unlike those reviewers, however, I'm not from Chicago and I never saw the programs and personalities under discussion.

I think it's important to point out that this book is not a "you had to be there" exercise in local nostalgia. Chicago was a bedrock of children's television, some of it on a national network scale. There's a good chance that you'll recognize at least some of the luminaries discussed here.

The authors are careful to put the "golden age" in context. Many first-person accounts, from both sides of the cameras, illuminate the high-pressure, low-budget, anything-could-happen world of live TV. Statistically-minded readers will admire the research, with dates, places, and participants fully documented.

Viewers who grew up with the likes of Chicago's kid-TV icons Ray Rayner and Hardrock, Coco, and Joe are obviously the best audience for this book, but anyone interested in early television, popular culture, and biographical studies will find much to enjoy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
The Golden Age Of Chicago Children's Television tells the true story of children's television produced or aired in Chicago from the 1940's to the 1970's. Even though these shows often operated under strict budget limits, the imagination that fueled them was boundless. Classic productions such as "Fran & Ollie", "Garfield Goose", "Bozo's Circus", and more, truly captivated the imagination of generations. Black-and-white photographs illustrate The Golden Age Of Chicago Children's Television, which delves deeply into the amazing history and trivia behind popular and beloved shows, from the lives of stars and hosts to what gave television executives sudden fits and much more. A wonderful trip through memory lane and fascinating repository of little-known facts.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David J. Hogan on August 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
This lively and detailed history of locally produced children's television programming in Chicago, from the forties to the seventies, benefits from the writing and research skills of prolific film historian Okuda, and the experiences of co-author Mulqueen, who was THERE as a kid-TV personality & producer for three decades. The book gives equal and welcome emphasis to programs, personalities, and invariaby interesting behind-the-scenes stories of production, budgets, and technical challenges, as well as ratings and the myriad other business factors that allowed local kids' TV to flourish but which finally decreed that it must die. This is an attractively packaged volume, with smart, pleasing art direction and a generous selection of photographs. The book will be embraced by grown-up Chicagoans, of course, but also will fascinate people like me, who grew up elsewhere, but who have an interest in the art and business of television.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James L. Neibaur on March 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
For those of us who recall Chicago children's television, this book will bring back many wonderful memories about the shows and the performers. Bozo's Circus, Ray Rayner and Friends, and so many other great shows allowed kids to be entertained, to learn, and to free up our imaginations. Ted and Jack's book does a thorough job of tracing the history of Chicago children's television, with complete information about the shows, great illustrations, and many fascinating, amusing anecdotes. It is a book that no baby boomer should be without.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. Jarolin on March 9, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a wonderful collection of memories for Chicago Baby Boomers. Reading through this book brought them all back. From the shows I had never really forgotten, "Garfield Goose & Friends" (I still can sing "Jingle Bells" in Latin thanks to Frazier Thomas) to those I had, like "The Blue Fairy". The authors explain the who, how and why of most of these shows with plenty of anecdotes on the behind the scenes highjinks and problems.

While coverage is uneven, some shows get their own chapters while others get perhaps a paragraph or two, one feels that all the information still available was researched and presented. More photos would have been nice, particularly of the shorter lived shows. Sadly, the tapes of the vast majority of episodes are lost forever, as they were taped over in short order, the stations never dreaming of the future gold mine they were destroying. Sad also is confirmation of the passing away of so many of these wonderful hosts and performers. They weren't just grainy b&w images in a box, somehow they became our friends. Rest in peace, gentlemen and ladies.

So, if you're a Chicago kid who grew up in the '50s or '60s pick up this book and bring back the memories.
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