INTRO: Winky Dink and You was the first interactive video game.
Boys and girls watching television at home were asked to help Winky-Dink out of a jam by drawing whatever the cartoon character needed (rope, ladder, bridge, etc.) on the TV screen. This was done with the aid of a Winky Dink Screen which came with the Winky-Dink Kit, sold by mail for fifty cents.
Winky Dink and You aired at 10:00am Saturday mornings from October 10, 1953 until April 27, 1957 on the CBS network - with a short syndicated revival in the late-sixties.
Winky Dink was known for its distinctive graphic style - Norm Blumenthal was one of the artists who defined that look. Later, as a producer for the classic NBC game show, he also devised and illustrated those wonderful rebus puzzles seen on Concentration.
There are still some of us around today who lovingly recall Winky Dink & You. It was my baptism of fire in the TV industry.
As a young graphic artist, along with Norman Mazin, I drew Winky. Not only for the CBS show, but all of the licensed products -- coloring books, record album covers, jig-saw puzzles, etc.
From that beginning, I did several shows and produced and made up all the puzzles for Concentration. My last credit is for creating and producing Cable's American Music Classics.
While working my way up to Assistant Art Director of Esquire Magazine, I became concerned about what the future held for me. I was in my early twenties, and noticed that none of my fellow artists were much older.
Commercial art was a young person's field. Would I be washed up before I turned forty? I started looking for another way of utilizing my artistic abilities.
Fortunately, I heard about an opening for a graphic artist on a children's TV show, called, Winky Dink & You. I got the job. I wondered if this career change was a smart move. Guess it was, it lasted more than forty years.
Television was in its infancy and we had little to work with. The shows were shown live in glorious black and white. If only we had video tape, instead of Kinescope recordings, those shows would still be available for viewing.
Because of the limited availabilty of special effects, we had to be very creative. In many ways, the inventiveness we came up with, was much like those employed by the legendary comedic genius, Ernie Kovacs.
One of our favorite tools, was key insertion. This was the forerunner of today's Chroma-key insertion (used to place a weather forecaster standing in front of a green wall, appear to be in front of a map or other picture, etc.)
In those colorless days, we used a black background. By dressing host, Jack Barry in a white suit, we could make it look like he was anywhere in the world, or even having a conversation with an elephant drawn by the children at home. He could even fly through the air, just like Superman does on film.
Utilizing the participation of the children at home, we would ask them to draw something like a boat on their magic screen. Through chroma-key, we would place Jack in it, and he'd go off on an adventure.
Involving the kids at home, through their participation, is something that has never been duplicated. No one needed a decoder ring to get one of those secret messages, all you needed was a Winky Dink plastic screen and some magic crayons.
With today's unbelievable magic technology, imagine how great a modern day version of Winky Dink would be. And it would be in full color.
Video Vault / Holiday Specials / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Lost Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / More Modern TV Shows / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog
|Television's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the Seventies / The Eighties / TVafterparty / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments|
1950's TV Shows / Fess Parker & Davy Crockett / Jack Benny Program / 1952 Olympics Telethon / Amos 'n' Andy / Little Rascals & Our Gang / Howdy Doody / The Lone Ranger / Jack Lemmon & Billy Wilder on Marilyn Monroe / Kuda Bux / Top Ten TV Shows 1950s / Judy Garland's 2nd TV Special and Las Vegas Debut / Early Network News Broadcasts / Lost Superboy Pilot / KTLA News / The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu / 1950s and 60s Bloopers / TV's First Working Woman / Lauren Bacall on Bette Davis / Sunset Boulevard Explained / Abbott & Costello TV Show / The Three Stooges: The Where They Were / The First 'Black' Show - Beulah / Women on TV in the 1950s / The Today Show / Adventures of Superman Lost Episode / Bette Davis vs Ronald Reagan / Obscure Actress Mary Castle / Serious 1950s TV shows / Remembering David Susskind / TV's First Rerun Series / The Ken Murray Budweiser Show / Saturday Morning Serials / Two Variety Shows of the Fifties / Game Shows of the Fifties /1950's TV Wrestling / Greensboro's Soda Pop History / Mr. Adams and Eve / TV's First Star / Oh Susanna! the Gale Storm Show / Bob Hastings / TV's First Star / History of the Laugh Track / The First Interactive Video Game / Designing Winky-Dink / Buffalo Bob Smith / The McKimson Brothers & Animation / Interview with a Show Business Legend / The Soundies / Snaders Telescriptions / Steve Allen Interviewed / Racket Squad / December Bride / The Big Show / Beverly Garland & Decoy / Richard Crenna & The Real McCoys / Roger Muir / Noel Coward's 1955 TV Special / Jon Provost Interview / 1950's TV Shows on DVD / Oh Susanna! The Gale Storm Show / 1950's Old Time TV Thanksgiving / Outrageous 1950's Commercial! / The Real Superman? / Mickey Mouse Club's Cheryl / Gale Storm / Captain Allen Swift / NYC's St. Patrick's Day Parade Telecasts / Julie London / The Goldbergs / 1950's Female Singers / The Dead End Kids / Bowery Boys / Fred Allen / Ed Wynn / Mr. Belvedere Movies / Art Linkletter / The Bickersons / Marty & Live TV / George Gobel & Red Buttons / Barbara Billingsley / Billy Gray Interview / Abbott & Costello Show / The Honeymooners / Three Stooges' Joe Besser / Whirlybirds / Burns & Allen Show
|Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / 1970's TV / Groucho vs William F Buckley / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / What's In Oprah's Purse? / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Soupy Sales / The Carpenters / Route 66 / Bozo / The Carpenters Christmas Specials / Local Kid Shows / Death of TV's Superman / Wonderama / Sesame Street / Bob Hope Specials / Little Rascals / Gay Icon T-Shirts / Alex Toth Book / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Lucy's Lost Christmas Special / Classic Christmas Toy Commercials / Cricket On The Hearth / 1950's Holiday Shows / Amahl and the Night Visitors / A Christmas Carol on TV / The Yule Log / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More!|