Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sunday with "Mister Four"

Now here's what I call honesty in advertising!

Critics have often scolded parents for using TV as a babysitter... it's been a long, long time since television actually promoted the idea. This ad, for New York City's channel 4 (later to become WNBC), appeared in TV Guide in January 1954.

Some observations: Since it trumpets WNBT's Sunday morning schedule, it's interesting that the ad is targeting "Pop." Presumably "Mom" would be inclined toward neither sleeping in nor tuning in, but rather getting the family dressed, out the door and off to church.

The footnote, inviting pop "and mom" to also watch, is a cute touch. A wise parent would certainly have done so, as I suspect none of these shows were as trustworthy as, say, Sesame Street or even Captain Kangaroo. The Magic Clown, for example, was basically 15-minutes of remedial magic tricks in front of a juvenile audience, during which the Clown spent a good portion hawking Bonimo's Turkish Taffy - as thorough a tooth-decayer as was ever marketed to moppets.

Finally, the whole slate was an attempt at counter-programming; the other NYC stations were airing traditional Sunday fare, such as The Christophers, Lamp Unto My Feet, Look Up and Live, Church in the Home and so forth. If I track down a Metro New York TV Guide from January 1955, I'll let you know if it paid off.


Paul Duca said...

When did Metromedia roll out WONDERAMA?

Michael J. Hayde said...

Paul: In 1955, which means it began when Metromedia was still the DuMont network.