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Beachcomber Bill Show, The

USA



Original Air Date:
1964
Channel:
WPIX-TV
Prod. Co.:
Tribune Broadcasting Inc
Genre:
Live Action
 

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Votes
Characters & Voices
Host/Performer: -
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Beachcomber Bill - Bill Biery
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Puppeteers: -
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Herb Bass (1964) -
Terry Bennett (1965 - 1966)
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Puppet Characters: -
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Melvin The Giraffe - Herb Bass
Uncle Ant - Terry Bennett
Thumbsey Clumbsey - (unknown)
The Genii In The Box - (unknown)
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Cartoon Voices: -
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Touche' Turtle - Bill Thompson
Dumb Dumb - Alan Reed, Sr.
Lippy The Lion - Daws Butler
Hardy Har Har - Mel Blanc
Wally Gator - Daws Butler
Mr. Twiddle - Don Messick
 
Originally conceived as a local kids tv show on KCOP TV Ch.13 in The Los Angeles,Cal. viewing area in the early 1960's. "The Beachcomber Bill Show" was picked up by the stations execs at WPIX TV Ch.11 in NYC during the fall of 1964.

The show's host/ performer and creator Bill Biery was hired to perform the program in NYC. But, the station execs at Ch.11 refused to hire Biery's head puppeteer and puppet maker Jim Cotton. Needing someone to play off of his character, Biery hired Philadelphia, Pa. based puppeteer/ comic actor and tv director Herb Bass to create and manipulate his own characters on the show.

"The Beachcomber Bill Show" debuted on WPIX TV Ch.11 in NYC as a weekday afternoon series on Monday September 7, 1964. Set against the backdrop of his south seas hut, "Beach" would engage his viewers in lip syncs to old comedy records, informational segments, visits from the animals from Mr.Murray Zarets' "Animal Nursery" attraction in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, New York.

He would also perform comedy skits with Mr.Bass' "Melvin The Giraffe" Puppet inbetween the reruns of Hanna/Barbera's "Touche' Turtle", "Lippy The Lion & Hardy Har Har" and "Wally Gator" TV Cartoons. (Mr.Bass had performed with his Giraffe puppet on a local Miami, Florida kids tv series "Mary Jane And Melvin" during the 1950's). Bass would also continue to create and director kids tv shows for The Philadelphia, Pa. viewing area during his tenuire with "The Beachcomber Bill Show" in NYC.

After one season, however, the stress of working on two different local kids tv shows in two different locales got to be too much for Mr. Bass. He left "The Beachcomber Bill Show" after one season and he returned to Philly to continue working as such kids tv programs as "Captain Philadelphia" with Radio/ TV Broadcaster Stu Nahan (Mr.Nahan would later become famous as the sportscaster for ABC TV and for his appearances in Slyvester Stallone's "Rocky" Movies).

Terry Bennett was hired to replace Herb Bass as Biery's puppeteer. A veteran nightclub and tv performer, Bennett had begun his career in local kids tv at WBKB TV Ch.7 in Chicago, Ill. as the host/ performer of"Jabberwocky's Place" (A comedy/ variety kids tv show, not to be confused with the educational kids tv series "Jabberwocky"). Bennett was also the host/ performer of WBKB TV's late night horror film program"Schock Theater!" as "Marvin The weird beatnick".

Following the cancellation of his Chicago, Ill. based tv series, Mr. Bennett moved his family to NYC, where he served as the assistant puppeteer on "The Chuck McCann Show"on WPIX TV. He also created and produced other shows for Ch.11 including "The Clay Cole Show" (Where he filmed an appearance of Mick Jagger and "The Rolling Stones!" for Mr. Cole's Teens Rock and Roll TV Show).

Bennett was hired to work as Biery's puppeteer, creating, manipulating and voicing a wisecracking ant puppet "Uncle Ant". Bennett and Biery would entertain their viewers for two seasons. Bennett would leave "The Beachcomber Bill Show" after the 1966 season. Biery would continue to host the show until the series was dropped on Friday September 2, 1966.

The show returned on Monday October 3, 1967 under it's new title "The Bill Biery Show". Seen weekday afternoons at peanut butter and jellytime. "Beachcomber Bill" would work alone as he would be engaged in conversations with "The Genii In The Box" and still engage his viewers in informational segments, interviews with guest performers and personalities and visits from the creatures from "The Animal Nursery". He would also introduce reruns of "The Flash Gordon" and "Buck Rogers" movie serials starring Buster Crabbe. "The Bill Biery Show" remained on the Ch.11 airways until the show was cancelled on Friday March 17,1968.

Bill Biery's last regular stint as a NYC kids tv host/performer was as the fifth mc of Ch.11's Sunday Morning children's program "Let's Have Fun!" with The Tom Tichenor Puppets, Kid actor Robert Broderick and with "Doakey The Clown" (played by kids tv entertainer Ed Alberian). Biery Mc'd "Let's Have Fun!" as himself and later as "Beachcomber Bill" Sunday mornings on Ch.11 from Sunday November 27,1966 to Sunday September 3,1967.
 
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