|This Daily kids tv cartoon show debuted on WPIX TV Ch.11 in NYC on Monday evening October 5, 1953. Singing Bandleader/ songwriter/ musician and DJ Ted Steele was the program's first host/ performer. Mr. Steele seemed ill suited to mc'ing reruns of old movie cartoons and he left the series following the Thursday July 1, 1954 broadcast of the show. Shari Lewis was hired to replace Mr. Steele.
Revamping the series format to accomodate a fantasy backdrop. Ms. Lewis became "The Mayoress of Kartoonia", a mythical kingdom where children's fantasies came true. Working again with a studio audience of kids and aided by her two puppet pals "Randy Rocket", a bragging astronaut, and silly farm girl "Taffy Twinkle".
Ms. Lewis would engage her viewers and studio audiences in games, songs, stories, craftmaking, hobbies, informational segments, magic tricks, comedy and puppet skits and interviews with guest performers, personalities and with the members of the studio audience.
Oftimes the guests were up and coming talents. Long before he would gain fame on broadway as one of the theater's most prolific playwrights, Herb Gardner was a cartoonist who drew a weekly comic strip for The New York Sunday News "The Nebbishes". He appeared on "Kartoon Klub" engaging Ms. Lewis, her studio audience and her viewers in a series of "Chalk Talks" (drawing pictures to help illustrate the artist stories).
The live segments were wrapped around reruns of old movie cartoons, comedies and screenings of the 1949 "Crusader Rabbit" TV Cartoons. The show was so successful that the station execs at Ch.11 retitled the show "Shari & Her Friends". The show was seen Monday thru Saturday evenings and remained on the air until Ms.Lewis went to the programming director of WPIX TV, Fred Thrower, and asked him edit out or to remove some cartoons and film comedies that she felt were inappropriate for her viewers.
Mr. Thrower responded by telling her "Get The Hell Out of Here You're Fired!". "Shari & Her Friends!" was cancelled following the Saturday December 22, 1956 broadcast.