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Hi There, Boys and Girls! America's Local Children's TV Programs Hardcover – October 29, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

From the earliest days of television until the mid-1970s, children's programming was a staple of local TV broadcasting in the United States. Here, Hollis (Dixie Before Disney) presents a comprehensive compendium of information about local children's TV shows, organized by state. Capsule descriptions are provided for individual programs and hosts in major TV markets within each state. Hollis cuts off the scope of his book at the 1970s, when, for a variety of reasons, most local children's TV programming in the United States simply ceased to exist. This valuable and unique reference book has only one drawback: some markets either could not or would not cooperate with the author to provide historical information on shows, so some entries are much shorter than others. Hollis's preface summarizes this often ignored area of broadcasting history, and an excellent bibliography concludes the book, offering a list of additional sources of information on children's TV. In addition, numerous vintage photographs of local TV personalities are sprinkled throughout. Highly recommended for broadcasting and media libraries, in addition to public libraries. David M. Lisa, Wayne P.L., NJ
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Local children's programming had its roots in radio, where it consisted mainly of storytelling by "uncle" hosts. When TV stations started broadcasting old Westerns and syndicated cartoons, the "host" pattern reemerged. Other genres arose: TV "school" settings, puppets, birthday parties. Romper Room and Bozo the Clown were strong franchised children's programs produced locally. Children's programs are not well researched, so this reference work is an initial effort in this area of popular culture.

The author sets the scene in his 20-page history, discussing local programming from its beginnings through the early 1970s. The remainder of the volume is arranged alphabetically by state, and within each state, by city. Each station's history of children's programming is related in a conversational style. The vast majority of content deals with the personalities of the program hosts, including the local beginnings of national figures such as Captain Kangaroo, Shari Lewis, and Mr. Rogers. The length of each city's entry ranges from a quarter page to more than a dozen pages (Chicago, Los Angeles, New York). About 20 percent of the pages include a black-and-white photo (sometimes a page away from the related text). An end-volume bibliography lists the interviews, print, video, and Internet sources Hollis used to gather his facts.

Partly because of a lack of adequate information, coverage is spotty. Spokane, Washington, is not covered well: no hosts (such as Cap'n Sid) identified, some stations that included children's programming (such as KXLY) not noted, no mention of Spokane's strong German-language programs for children (which also featured children), no mention of a popular children's talent show. Indeed, a major limitation of the work is the almost total lack of mention of children's talent variety shows.

This work is a good start on the topic but is limited in scope. For large collections that specialize in television or popular culture. REVWR
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 361 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi (October 29, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578063957
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578063956
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 8.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,683,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tim Hollis began writing when he was seven years old and simply never stopped. Those early works took the form of children's fantasies along the lines of the Oz books; little did he dream that his eventual writing career would be in non-fiction instead.

His first professional experience came when he was hired as an editor to polish and refine the works of other local writers, and he eventually found the time to complete his first book in 1991. For the next several years he busied himself with articles, ghost writing and more editing, but got back into the full-length book business when the University Press of Mississippi published Dixie Before Disney: 100 Years of Roadside Fun in the spring of 1999.

Hollis's other books can be seen below. They include Hi There Boys and Girls: America's Local Children's TV Programs (UPM, 2001); Florida's Miracle Strip: From Redneck Riviera to Emerald Coast (UPM, 2004); Birmingham's Theatre and Retail District (Arcadia, 2005); Glass Bottom Boats and Mermaid Tails: Florida's Tourist Springs (Stackpole Books, 2006); Mouse Tracks: The Story of Walt Disney Records (UPM, 2006); Birmingham Broadcasting (Arcadia, 2006); Six Flags Over Georgia (Arcadia, 2006);The Land of the Smokies: Great Mountain Memories (UPM, 2007); Ain't That a Knee Slapper: Rural Comedy in the 20th Century (UPM, 2008), Vintage Birmingham Signs (Arcadia, 2008); Selling the Sunshine State: A Celebration of Florida's Tourism Advertising (University Press of Florida, 2008), See Rock City: The History of Rock City Gardens (History Press, 2009), Stone Mountain Park (Arcadia, 2009), Christmas Wishes: A Catalog of Vintage Holiday Treats and Treasures (Stackpole, 2010), Pizitz: Your Store (History Press, 2010), Lost Attractions of Sevier County (Arcadia, 2011), Wish You Were Here: Vintage Florida Motel and Restaurant Advertising (UPF, 2011), Part of a Complete Breakfast: Cereal Advertising Characters of the Baby Boom Era (UPF, 2012), Loveman's: Meet Me Under the Clock (History Press, 2012), See Alabama First: A History of the State's Tourism Industry (History Press, May 2013), Memories of Downtown Birmingham: Where All the Lights Were Bright (History Press, March 2014) and the forthcoming The Mini-Golf Mini-Book (Seaside Publishing, Fall 2014) and Toons in Toyland: The Story of Cartoon Character Merchandising (UPM, Spring 2015).

For the past decade, Hollis has found the opportunity to "return to where it all began," as it were. When time permits, he enjoys lecturing to elementary school groups about writing, telling the youngsters about some of the stories and characters he created when he was their age. The extremely positive response to this has been extremely gratifying to him, to say the least. The unusual thing is that he not only explains to kids how he came up with so many oddball ideas, but he also draws the characters and performs their voices.

He can be contacted by email at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "cfolds" on January 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
Long overdue, Tim Hollis has recaptured those golden moments of our childhood, when television was our babysitter (and much more productive than today's fare)and local kids show hosts were king!
Without question Amazon is the way to order the book. If, like me, you went to your local major chain bookstores, they had to order it and it ends up costing more than the discount you get online.
Hollis has done his homework, gathering gold mines of information from the children's show cobwebs of antiquity. How many times have we said, "I wonder what ever happened to..."
Hollis' book helps us relive a time long passed over by network executives who don't have a clue what people really want to watch and children's shows long catapulted into the great beyond (with many former hosts).
As Toby the Robot on the Miami Herald Sunday Funnies for more than 20 years, I can say that thousands of kids lives were enriched or at least entertained by the antics of my robot and co-host (first Charlie Baxter and then Wayne Chandler). We didn't do it for the money, that's for sure.
I heartily recommend HI THERE BOYS & GIRLS, it's a great table book and stirs up much greater conversation.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gord Wilson VINE VOICE on January 22, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I cannot understand the sort of reviewers who rush to point out tiny omissions in otherwise exhaustive studies, particularly in the area of popular culture. Some of them apparently are actually paid to do so, and in my view they have watched too much Watergate and Sixty Minutes. For example, Ira Gallen dug up all the old commercials he showed on his retro New York TV show; contrary to the general view, advertisers didn't keep the reels after the commercials ran, and in compiling his collections, Gallen was plowing new territory. Relative to, say, dinosaurs, radio and TV have only been with us for a short while and it's all been about making it up as you go along.

That TV broadcasting began as local programming, and then mostly in New York, is extremely significant but often overlooked by those looking backwards with modern lenses. Shows were owned by ad agencies and developed for sponsors, not networks. Jay Ward's Crusader Rabbit and cliff-hangers like Col. Bleep and Clutch Cargo were the only early TV cartoons before the syndication of Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies and Terrytoons and the entrance of William Hanna and Joe Barbera into TV 'toons with Ruff and Reddy.

Early TV carried over from radio and the triple reel style of the moviehouse, which would generally show a cartoon or short and newsreel along with the featured films. Live hosts were expected to pitch and endorse the sponsor's product and, whether clown, cowboy or cosmic captain, to intersperse the performance and patter with cartoons. The demise of the live host came when the few bad apples began to hold the studios for ransom. Execs soon realized they could order cartoons by the foot to fill the programming blocks.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
Tim has truly done a tremendous amount of homework putting together this walk down memory lane (three years' worth).Sure, not every station is mentioned; however, I am impressed by the histories, reviews and interviews he has amassed. You, the buying public have already read a couple of stories of some hometown TV personalities that went on to more fame.One sidekick, dressed as a clown, from my original hometown's affiliate, later went on to become a successful announcer on many game shows, including a short hosting job of two game shows. (Ah, ah, ah, you'll have to buy the book to find out who it is!)As the author wrote on this announcer/host, "Perhaps being a clown was good training for such a show."Well done, Tim! We hope you'll continue adding more information on more editions, as they become available. Most of today's youngsters really missed out on wonderful, quality childrens' programming, mentioned in this book, and were not is a part of our lives we shouldn't forget!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kevin S. Butler on December 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
At last! Local Kids TV Has it's say about the development and postive influences on our kids in a new book.Birmingham,Al. kids tv historian and author:Tim Hollis has written the very first book that looks at the creation and development of the tv shows that many children grew up on many independent and network affilliated tv stations throughout the USA during the l940's,50's,60's 70's and even into the 80's and 90's.Using articles,videos,audio tracks,biographies(a certain number of them written by such well known kids tv hosts/performers as Sally Starr,Rex Trailer and David Dedtrich)and Personal interviews with the hosts/performers,friends,colleagues and by local kids tv historians:Myself included.This book looks at the early days of local kid tv.From their beginnings on radio,to the foundations before and following WWII.To Their peaks in the mid to late l960's and their declines during the l970's,80's, and 90's.Mr.Hollis also points out that there were many factors that caused the end of local kids tv.Although Mrs.Charren's ACT(Action For Children's Television)was one of the causes for the end of live kids tv.She was not the only reason for the changes in kids tv programming.The station's use of cartoon and filmed puppet shows from Japan and the need to create ,produce and present shows for adults.Forced the departure of many hosts/performers from thr airways.Some hosts/performers decided to find success in other ventures.Some shows simply were not meant for kids at all:E.G.Horror Show host/performer:John Zacherley:"The Cool Ghoul!" trying to MC WPIX TV Ch.ll NYC's"Mighty Hercules Show"and "Uncle Bill"Wright.A local Birmingham,Al.personality.Who was not known for having a great rapport with kids.Read more ›
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