When Andy Kaufman met his childhood “idol” — Howdy Doody — on a 1979 TV special, the super-sardonic comedian appeared genuinely (no, seriously) moved as he recounted to the freckled marionette his earliest desire to climb inside “the box” and thus be with Howdy in Doodyville.
Hiya, Kids!! A ’50s Saturday Morning (available on DVD 5/6) isa mother lode of all those early kids’ shows that helped shape Andy, little Hillary, Georgie W., and the rest of their boomer brothers and sisters. Compared with the bells and whistles that make up today’s computer-generated ’toons, this eclectic mix of polite puppets, silent clowns, and matronly teachers is as calming and refreshing as, well, playing outdoors.
Back in 1961, FCC chairman Newton Minow famously labeled TV “a vast wasteland,” singling out the welfare of children as a major concern. But now, while revisiting such innocent fare as Lassie, Flash Gordon, and Time for Beany, we gotta agree with Pete Townsend: The kids were alright.
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