Wonderama also was run in five other markets in which Metromedia owned television stations, including WTTG in Washington D.C., KMBC-TV in Kansas City, KTTV in Los Angeles, WXIX-TV in Cincinnati and WTCN-TV in Minneapolis – Saint Paul. The show ran three hours long, and later two hours on Sunday mornings.
Hosts[change | edit source]
- Al Hodge (as Captain Video 1955 - 1956)
- Jon Gnagy (mid late 1950s)
- Sandy Becker (1955–56)
- Pat Meikle (co-hosting from 1955 to 1956)
- Herb Sheldon (1956–1958)
- Bill Britten (best known as New York's Bozo the Clown, co-host in 1958)
- Doris Faye (co-host in 1958)
- Sonny Fox (1959–1967)
- Bob McAllister (1967–1977)
- A documentary hosted by teens (1980–1985)
The Bob McAllister years[change | edit source]
Despite the frequent turnover of hosts throughout the 1950s, Wonderama experienced its greatest viewership by way of one-time Baltimore kids' show host Bob McAllister, who replaced Sonny Fox as host in 1967 and remained host until 1977.
Each show's taping included (but was not necessarily limited to) education, music, audience participation, games, interviews and cartoon shorts. Each week, audience members received a package of parting gifts with some items, including:
- An Oral-B toothbrush
- An issue of Dynamite Magazine or Golden Magazine
- A supply of Good Humor ice cream
- A box of Hostess Twinkies
- A 6-pack of RC Cola
- A tube of Hold! cough lozenges
- A package of Fruit Stripe Gum
- A gift certificate for Burger King or McDonald's
- A pack of Lender's Bagelettes.
(Each child also got a necklace made from a Lenders Bagelette which had either their name or their last initial painted on it.)
- A 45 record of one of the music artists who performed on the Wonderama episode each week.
McAllister sang the program's closing theme song. It was called Kids Are People Too ("wacka-doo, wacka-doo, wacka-doo"). This later became the show's title when it moved to ABC on Sunday mornings.
Many stars from all genres of entertainment (music, movies, television, etc.) appeared on Wonderama, including:
- The Sylvers
- Jerry Lewis
- Jodie Foster
- Paul Lynde
- Muhammad Ali
- Joe Frazier
- José Feliciano
- The Jackson 5
- The cast of Monty Python
- The Amazing Randi
- Wolfman Jack
- Lena Zavaroni
- ..and numerous others.
1980 revival[change | edit source]
Beginning in 1980, a documentary/magazine show for children (and hosted by teens) ran on Sunday mornings on WNEW-TV. While this show maintained the Wonderama title, the show itself was nothing like the kids festival that it once was. This hour-long incarnation ran until 1983; reruns edited to 30 minutes aired from 1984 to 1986 on WNEW-TV/WNYW on Saturday mornings.