Monday, July 30, 2018

"Children's Sketch Book" and Lisl Weil.

Children's Sketch Book was a live drawing and storytelling series featuring Edith Skinner* as the rhyming storyteller with songs and drawings by illustrator Lisl Weil. The series aired from WNBT New York for the NBC Network from March 12, 1949 to February 4, 1950.

Snippet of a 1964 press photo of Lisl Weil.

Lisl Weil (1910 - 2006) was an accomplished artist and illustrator of many children's books. Her first book for children Doll House, was published in 1946 about 7 years after she immigrated to America from her native Austria. Weil would write and illustrate dozens of children's books and she was also known to draw and perform for children in several live venues. In Wesley Hyatt's book "Short Lived Television Programs", Weil recalled being cast for the Children's Sketch Book series because they needed a young artist who could move and draw the artwork quickly.

Weil, Lisl. 1948, 1976. Bill the brave. Pleasantville, N.Y.: Reader's Digest Services.

Lisl Weil was also a artist and performer for Thomas Scherman's Little Orchestra Society's Concerts for Young People, in which she would create large charcoal drawings to music. While recordings of the Children's Sketch Book series do not seem to exist, a film of Weil drawing the story of The Sorcerer's Apprentice to music was uploaded to the Internet Archive by A/V Geeks and the Academic Film Archive of North America. This film gives us an idea of how a storytelling artist like Weil would have quickly told an illustrative story in front of a live camera.

*It is still unconfirmed if this was the same Edith Skinner who a professor of drama in New York at the time of this program.


Hyatt, Wesley. 2003. Short-lived television series, 1948-1978: thirty years of more than 1,000 flops. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co.

Viguers, Ruth Hill, Marcia Dalphin, Bertha E. Mahony Miller, Ruth Hill Viguers, and Bertha E. Mahony Miller. 1958. Illustrators of children's books: 1946-1956. Boston: The Horn Book.

Woolery, George W. 1985. Children's television: the first thirty-five years, 1946-1981 Part 2, Part 2. Children's Television. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press.

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