When I first decided to compile a Chronicle of Pittsburgh’s Children personalities of the fifties and sixties, I looked forward to a fun time of assembling and putting in order all materials supplied from those who are included in the publication my search soon turned into frustration and disappointment. I discovered that TV stations decided that space was more important than TV History-- I learned that thousands of photographs were trashed and tossed into dumpsters because stations needed space. I have often been asked why the stations didn’t replay some of the old shows on the air”“. Adventure time with Paul Shannon, ““Funsville”or Popeye “and Knish, or “Happy’s Party”.How about episodes of Ricki& Copper”“ or Junior High Quiz.” Fat Chance !Because, the stations dumped the tapes and films of those programs,They got discarded -destroyed— thrown away, trashed! Stations dumped TV history because they said they said they needed the space. Some shows were on two inch Ampex tape, that took a lot of shelf space . and the machines to play those tapes were also discarded because they became obsolete. Today, You can get hours of information on a CD that you could stuff in your back pocket ..Those pinheads running TV didn’t have the sense to save and store history,. How simple it would be to edit and broadcast again. Those shows made Thousands of dollars in sales for the stations, And could do it again . Simple editing of old shows would be a delight and so simple;”TV Land “ re-runs such shows as “Redd Fox, All in the family,” and other popular shows.”“Rifleman”, ““Bonanza”“ “Little house on the prairie.”Wonder how those shows are stored..?. Many of the included photos of Children’s TV personalities of were supplied by the people themselves from their own personal files and scrapbooks. Personal gratitude goes to Jean Connelly, Don Riggs, Ricki Wertz, and David Newell of Family Communications at WQED-TV, also Delores Ellenberg of the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh.
The most difficult task in compiling this Compendium was trying to include most, if not all, every Children’s TV Personality in Pittsburgh Television in the Late Fifties and early sixties. What I call our Golden age in Kid’s TV.
I found it impossible to include everyone.
Most of their recorded history is gone. Erased. Trashed. Recorded history is gone. Stations, and their lack of imagination, tossed out Tapes and films and volumes of recorded TV History. There are no tapes. No Film. Remember, it was live TV. Stations found it not practical to store volumes of TV History. (How great it would be to see some of those TV shows today)
Their images, however, are indelibly etched in the minds of the kids who watched. I realize that many names and shows have been omitted. It was impossible to track down those not included. With deep apologies to them, We hope you enjoy reading about some of these few.
Hank Stohl © 2004
Hank began his career in radio and experimental television as early as 1948, in Cincinnati, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Then to New York City to where he appeared in his highly successful children’s TV Program,
As Creative director of his own creative company he also created several award winning radio and TV commercials as producer and writer for several National Accounts, Camel Cigarettes, International Industries, The island nation of Bermuda and Pepsi- West.
Hank also appeared in several series, and feature films, “Rockford files” ,”Highway to heaven”, and “six million dollar man”, along with appearances on “Days of our lives”, and the Guiding light”. His most recent film was “Diabolique’ which starred Sharon Stone and Kathy Bates.
He is a published playwright and his two act comedy, “Lie a little” enjoyed great reviews while a member of the famed Masquers Club in Hollywood. Several one act plays have been published and produced Off-Off Broadway in New York.
Hank is married to Anita Heh, former staff member of the Pittsburgh Playhouse and musical comedy performer. They live in Stratford, Connecticut.