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While Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Hopalong, Sky King and The Lone Ranger were stars we saw on the silver screen, our local stars were Mr. Moon, Mr. Duffy, Rusty Nails, Heck Harper, Addie Bobkins and Ramblin’ Rod. We grew up with them and they were our pals. When television was in its first decade in Portland, in the 1950s and 60s, they were there for us. They entertained and educated us, helping us to get a healthy start in life. Every kid who grew up in the Portland area will remember what fun it was to visit their shows where they brought our favorite cartoons to us everyday with their own flair, style and schtick.

 

 

 

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When 4:30 rolls around every Monday through Friday, you would hear Harry the Heron yell, “Come on gang, it’s time for Mr. Moon”. Over 100,000 youngsters in Oregon and Southwest Washington flocked to their TV sets to follow the fabulous adventures of Mr. Moon and his hilarious puppet crew. Beginning as a radio show in the early 1950s, Mr. Moon became one of the most popular kid shows in Portland.

Behind the Mr. Moon mask was longtime radio disc jockey Ed Leahy. He created the cast of characters from the Mother Goose Rhyme “Hey Diddle Diddle”. Another well-known Portland broadcaster, Art Morey, joined the show as the voice of Harry the Heron and other animal characters.

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In 1958, Frank Kinkaid auditioned at KOIN-TV to produce a children’s show. His predecessor, Heck Harper, had just been hired by rival station KGW-TV to produce a similar show there. Frank had been in acting and show business all of his life, spending over 15 years in Seattle and he decided to try something new in Portland. He brought his many talents to KOIN where he stayed until retiring in 1983 after 25 years. Frank had been the Frederick & Nelson Santa Claus in Seattle for 15 years and he used his Santa voice combined with his riverboat captain’s voice from his days in “Showboat” to land the job of “Mr. Duffy” and Cartoon Circus debuted on September 29, 1958.

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One of the most popular TV hosts in the early days of live TV was none other than Rusty Nails the Clown, aka Jim Allen, shown at Alpenrose Story Book Lane when his show was broadcast on KATU.

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Perennial Parade Favorites, TV Show Host Heck Harper and his horse “Jody”. Harper hosted children of all ages at the KGW Studio. 

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Ramblin’ Rod Anders was a mainstay at KPTV from 1964 until retirement in 1997.

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Addie Bobkins, aka Bob Adkins.

 

Romper Room was popular on KATU.

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Last updated 10-24-16

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