Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

OBSOLETE TELEVISION: THE ROOTIE KAZOOTIE CLUB

Before I was a lad, back when I was just a tad, my favorite television show was The Rootie Kazootie Club.  Of course, I never knew that was the name of the show; to me, it was just Rootie Kazootie, the brave little boy puppet who defeat the bad Poison Zoomack in his attempts to steal Polka Dottie's polka dots.  In my memory, there's no image of Zoomack also trying to steal Rootie Kazootie's magic kazootie (something he evidently did on a regular basis); is it Freudian that I obsessed on polka dots rather than kazoos?

According to Wikipedia, Rootie Kazootie began as Rootie Tootie on WNBT, New York, on October 14, 1950.  The live studio audience of kids began to call the lead puppet "Rootie Kazootie" because of his magical kazoo, leaving  the studio to change the show's name from The Rootie Tootie Club to The Rootie Kazootie Club.  By July, NBC was airing the show nationally.  NBC kept the show until November of 1952; the next month, ABC picked up the show and aired it until May 1954.  The show ran for 15 minutes weekdays and 30 minutes on Saturdays, but I have no idea whetheror not this was a regular schedule.

Anyway, Rootie was an all-American boy puppet, wearing his trademark baseball cap with the oversized brim turned up.  He had a dog named Gala Poochie Pup and a (purely platonic) girlfriend named Polka Dottie, as well as his friend El Squeako Mouse.  Rootie's human friends included host "Big Todd" Russell (played by himself) and mute policeman Mr. Deetle Dootle (played by John Schoeopperle, then later by John Vee).  Puppeteer Paul Ashley was the man behind the curtain and the puppet voices were supplied by Naomi Lewis and Frank Milano.

I was not the only kid caught up in the Kazootie fever:  I was joined by two to three million other kids.  The show spawned children's books, comic books, toys, and games.

For a while my young attention was also focused on a very cheesy show called (I believe) Johnny Jupiter, which evidently had two incarnations during 1953-4;  it was the second version of the show that I watched.  This one had sets that out-Ed Wooded Ed Wood.  But despite the lure of Jupiter, my young heart remained more with my original obsession.

Yes, I was easily amused back then.

Luckily, I grew older and soon moved on to another obsession:  Hopalong Cassidy!

Anyway, from 1953, here's an episode entitled Poison Zoomack and His Magnet:

http://archive.org/details/RootieKazootie

And here's a recording featuring "Mitchell" Miller and His Orchestra:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOesLCj8kTU

And a comic book episode from 1954:

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=rootie+kazootie+comics&view=detail&id=DC86DFFB034E89EE7160F408DDA3EEC5DBF1C7C0&first=1

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For more Obsolete Films, etc., saunter over to Todd Mason's blog, sweetfreedom, where Todd will have all the links (unless he is preoccupied bythinking about Renee Russo as Natasha Fatale).

7 comments:

  1. Well, her aspect, talent AND that she goes by "Rene"...remarkable which of those early children's shows lasted, and which fell by the wayside...though I suppose most (not all) of the cleverest ones were sustained somehow or other, even in such a minor form as Kukla, Fran and Ollie hosting a children's film package on CBS well into the 1970s...

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    1. I never cared for Kukla, Fran and Ollie, probably because no one tried to steal polka dots.

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  2. Ah, memories. Rootie Kazootie was the first show I ever watched on television. My parents had just bought an Admiral TV (our first television) so Rootie was my first/first. I still remember his girlfriend and his pup, Gala-Poochie Pup and Poison Zoomack. Whenever I mention any of these names people look at me as if I'm strange. Don't know why. HA!

    Thanks for the post, Jerry.

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  3. P.S. I still have a Rootie Kazootie pin. Found it many years ago in an old collectibles shop.

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    1. I understand there is quite a market for Rootie Kazootie memorabilia, Yvette, but I've never dared to check it out on E-Bay.

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  4. I have a dim memory of this. TV was so primitive then but we didn't notice it.

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    1. That's because you are so young, Patti.

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