Saturday, October 16, 2021
Saturday, September 25, 2021
Saturday, September 11, 2021
Saturday, September 4, 2021
Thunderbolt The Wondercolt
Broadcast: June 03, 1953 - July 1955 ** KTTV Los Angeles, CA. Weekdays at 6:00pm Pacific Time.
Sponsors; Challenger Dairy Products.
Producer: Bob Clampett.
The Hook: If considered a superhero-themed show, Thunderbolt would be the second or third superhero program in TV history after "Adventures of Superman" with George Reeves.
Thunderbolt the Wondercolt was a children's puppet TV series about the adventures of a horse with a super-powered secret identity. It aired weekday afternoons on station KTTV from Los Angeles, California from 1953** - 1955.
Thunderbolt is extra unique as a spinoff from animation legend Bob Clampett's Emmy-winning "Time For Beany series. That meant satire to pull in an adult audience just as "Beany" had pulled in Albert Einstein. From review articles in Los Angeles newspapers the series was popular during its short run, and it is unfortunate the so few of the Clampett puppet shows are available to the public today.
An overlooked aspect of "Thunderbolt" is that it debuted on Wednesday, June 3, 1953, less than a year after "Adventures of Superman" with George Reeves. This makes it a contender for TV's second superhero series (3rd if "The Lone Ranger" with Clayton Moore counts.
If this claim is over the top, since it is a satirical puppet series, Thunderbolt could at least be considered the TV's first super animal.
Saturday, August 28, 2021
Sunday, August 8, 2021
Saturday, April 24, 2021
Gigi and Jock (Adventures of Gigi and Jock)*
Syndicated 1950 - c. 1951, - 1/2 hour puppet series. Distributor: TeeVee Company, New York, NY. TV markets: WENR Chicago, KTSL Los Angeles. Producer: Marc Frederic.
Cast: Colleen Collins, Marian Richman, Daws Butler
Lost children's puppet shows are a research speciality of mine and something I will be writing more about in the coming months. One puppet series that has intrigued me for years is "Gigi and Jock". It is one of those puppet series from TV's golden age where information has been so scarce over the years, one wonders if the series ever existed. Here is what I could find about this lost puppet series.
"Gigi and Jock" was an adventure series about two "unusual puppets" created and filmed in France, with American voices dubbed in for the soundtrack. It is unknown if this series was originally a French TV production. The series was promoted in the Feburary 1950 edition of Billboard. From newspaper listings available in digital collections, the series aired on at least two American TV stations, the first being KTSL - Channel 2 Los Angeles. On station WENR Channel 7 in Chicago, "Gigi and Jock" was sponsored by "Flavor-Kist Cookies and Crackers" a product of the Schulze & Burch Biscuit Company. A few of the episode titles included "Magic Wand" and "Kingdom of the Birds".
|Snippet of a press photo of actress Marian Richman, who some source credit as the voice of "Jock".|
Based on available publicity articles, "Gigi and Jock" featured Colleen Collins, a local singer and voice actress as the voice of "Gigi." Marian Richman (1922 - 1956), a cartoon, radio, and TV actress with a voice acting range to do young babies to grandmothers, was the voice of "Jock." While portrayed by Collins and Richman, Gigi and Jock appeared to be stout French men in existing publicity images, possibly outcasts from the Foreign Legion. In one article, animation voice legend Daws Butler (Time For Beany, Yogi Bear) was credited with all additional voices on the program. One article credits Butler as one of the lead characters, so it is hard to determine with certainty who played which characters.
A 1954 Variety listing claimed that "Gigi and Jock" had 39 1/2 hour episodes. In this research, no TV schedule listing for this series was found after March of 1951 and no reference in a TV syndication directory after 1955.
Prints of two episodes do exist in the David Susskind Papers and the University of Wisconsin. collection. Hopefully, one print of this show will also surface on DVD, streaming, or YouTube.
*Some grammatical corrections and one link update were made to this text on September 26, 2021.