|This beloved children's program starred host Ed McConnell, who, with the aid of a revolving cast of characters and puppets including Midnight the Cat and Squeaky the Mouse, told stories and introduced filmed segments like Ghanga the Jungle Boy and Buster Brown (the shoe manufacturer was the show's sponsor).
When Smilin' Ed hollered, "Plunk your magic twanger, Froggy!", it meant an appearance from one of the show's most popular characters, Froggy the Gremlin. For some reason, Froggy delighted in causing destruction, not just to Ed and his gang, but all over the world. One of his “harmless” pranks involved changing the weather in Alaska because he wanted to hurt the Eskimos.
Smilin’ Ed McConnell had honed his kids' show hosting chops on radio, and he headlined Smilin’ Ed McConnell and his Buster Brown Gang for four years until his death in 1954. When Smilin' Ed passed away, the network aired a season of reruns before finding a suitable replacement.
Gravel-throated Andy Devine took over as host in 1955, and the show was retitled Andy's Gang. The retooled show was broadcast only locally in New York for the rest of its run, apart from one season on NBC in 1957-58.