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Surprise Show, The

USA



Original Air Date:
1965
Channel:
WPIX-TV
Prod. Co.:
Tribune Broadcasting Inc.
Genre:
Live Action
 

0
Votes
Characters & Voices
Host/ Performer/ Puppeteer - Hank Stohl
Aniforms Operator and owner - Morey Bunin
Dangerous Dwain - Jimmy Boyd
Peaches La Creame - Jimmy Boyd
Loreli J. Loverley - Jimmy Boyd
The Inspector - Jimmy Boyd
Bullwinkle J. Moose - Jimmy Boyd
The Lion - Jimmy Boyd
Knish - Hank Stohl
Cousin Henry - Hank Stohl
The Dog - Hankl Stohl
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Aniforms Operators: -
-
Jimmy Boyd -
Cleveon Little -
Wayland Flowers -
 
This unique NYC based kids tv show was the creation of tv puppeteer and puppet-maker Morey Bunin. "The Aniforms" (living cartoon characters that appeared inside of a tv screen) were first seen on The 1965-1966 Saturday morning edition of Bob Keeshan's and CBS TV's "Captain Kangaroo". "The Captain" would carry on with a conversation with a character known as "Fred" (who would appear on the tv set behind the blackboard on the wall of "The Treasure House"). "Fred" was manipulated by Bunin and voiced by Gus (Cosmo) Alligretti.

The concept was limited however and CBS TV and Keeshan dropped the character after a few shows. But, the station execs at WPIX TV Ch.11 in NYC saw potential in Bunin's "Aniforms" idea and they began developing a kids tv show that would ultilize this new form of animation. Working with veteran tv comedy writers (Gale Parrent and Kenny Soames), the station execs at Ch.11 hired Hank Stohl to serve as the streightman for the "Aniforms" for their new daily kids tv series "The Surprise Show".

A former kids tv cartoonist and puppeteer, Stohl made his local tv debut with a daily kids tv program ("The Girl Next Door", not to be confused with The ABC TV Game Show of the late 1960's) on WHIO TV Ch.5 In Dayton ,Ohio in the early 1950's. Stohl would entertain and inform a little girl while performing puppet skits, drawing cartoons of his own design and introducing reruns of old movie cartoons.

Following the cancellation of "The Girl Next Door", Stohl moved to Pittsburgh,Pa. where he served as host and puppeteer of "KD Cartoons" and "Mitzi's Cartoon Castle" with Comic/ character actress and mimic Mitzi (Steiner) McCall(Yes, The Mitzi McCall) for KDKA TV Ch.8 and later "The Big Adventure!" and"Popeye & Knish" for WTAE TV Ch.4 in Pittsburgh, Pa with his own Puppets "Knish" (A hairy little fellow with a big nose but no mouth and a wimpy little voice), "Cousin Henry" and "The Dog".

After the cancellation of his Pittsburgh, Pa. kids tv series, Stohl moved to NYC to briefly serve as a booth announcer for WABC TV Ch.7. In the fall of 1965 the station execs at Ch.11 hired him to mc "The Surprise Show!".

Set against the backdrop of the living room of his apartment, Stohl would try to complete his daily tasks but he was thwarted at every turn by "Peaches La Creame" (A hip, partying old maid), "Loerli J.Loverly" (A Chicken who never got Mr.Stohl's name right and she would engage him in verbal nonsense), "The Inpsector" (A Con man), "Dangerious Dwain" (A bragging, loud mouth Cowpoke), "The Lion" and "Bullwinkle J.Moose". The "Aniforms" segments were wrapped around reruns of old movie and tv cartoons. Bunin would operate his creations with the aide of Wayland Flowers (This was before he created, manipulated and voiced his own puppets "Madame" and "Jupi"), Cleveon Little (This was before Mr.Little would become famous for his performance in Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles!") and Jimmy Boyd (Not to be confused with the former child singer who cut the yultide novelty recording "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"). Mr. Boyd also voiced the characters.

"The Surprise Show" became WPIX TV's no 1 hit for the 1965 tv season. By the following year however the station execs felt that paying for "The Aniforms" concept was too expensive(at least for these tv execs) and they stopped using Mr.Bunin's creations. In order to maintain the success of the series, Hank Stohl was hired to host and use his own hand puppets from his Pittsburgh, Pa. kids tv shows. Retitled the series "Hank Stohl Presents!". Stohl would only appear at the opening of the program and the puppets would perform skits inbetween the reruns of the films.

"Hank Stohl Presents!" was not as successful as "The Surprise Show" and the series was cancelled in 1967. Hank Stohl would briefly serve as the fourth host/ performer of Ch.11's popular Sunday morning kids tv show "Let's Have Fun!" in the fall of 1966, until he saw that local kids tv shows were being cancelled in favor of station execs screening cartoons and films and old tv shows without mc's. He left "Let's Have Fun!"and WPIX TV for other ventures.
 
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In 1945, Brenda Starr, who had previously appeared only on Sundays, added a daily strip as well.