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Who Was
Doodles Weaver?

 

 

 

Lost Kid Shows

Doodles

Television archivist Jeff Vilencia recently unearthed some segments of a short-subject series called A Day With Doodles starring Doodles Weaver. These six minute films were available in syndication to local kid show hosts to use as an alternative to cartoons. But who was Doodles Weaver? Not much has been written about the man.

Winstead "Doodles" Weaver came from a very famous entertainment industry family - brother of Sylvester 'Pat' Weaver, NBC exec who created the 'Today' and 'Tonight' shows and uncle of film actress Sigourney Weaver.

Doodles

Here is a video clip from A Day With Doodles

His first television series was part of the ensemble cast of 'The Spike Jones Show', one of the most rollicking variety shows in television history. Weaver was also famous for his work with the goofy, satirical recording artist Spike Jones. One of the running jokes on a number of television shows for several years was a racing announcer saying "Feetlebaum" out of the blue - this was based on a couple of famous Spike Jones/Doodles Weaver recordings.

But Weaver had an alcohol problem that made him too reckless for even the Spike Jones show (this was live TV) and he was fired after going too far with a live commercial.

But Doodles bounced back with his own series. The Doodles Weaver Show was the 1951 summer replacement series for 'Your Show of Shows' (Saturday nights at ten), seen on NBC from June-Sept. Co-starring his wife Lois, the concept was a fresh one - Doodles is told to put on a network variety show, but given no costumes, sets or budget of his own, just the discards from the other shows on hiatus for the season.

The structure was loose and the comedy improvisational on 'The Doodles Weaver Show' - the series also featured legendary vocalist Marion Colby and the comedy team of Dick Dana and 'Peanuts' Mann.

After that he joined 'The Horace Heidt Show' cast, then appeared as a guest on dozens of TV shows during the Fifties and Sixties - including Lawman, The Tab Hunter Show, Donna Reed Show, Batman (one of The Archer's henchmen), Dragnet, The Hathaways, The Andy Griffith Show, ('Aunt Bee's Brief Encounter'), The Dick Van Dyke Show and Dennis the Menace. Most of these roles were minor ones.

In 1965, Doodles Weaver started providing energetic and genuinely funny short segments for the many local kid shows across the country through syndication. These six-minute spots were much like the locally hosted shows they ran on, but with more props. Weaver played all the parts himself. The credits at the end of the show read: Doodles - Doodles Weaver, Everybody Else - Doodles Weaver.

During the Sixties there were a lot of short segments produced for kids that various stations could group together any way they wanted, according to film archivist Jeff Vilencia.

Other 5-6 minute shows available in syndication at the time included 'Trick or Treat with the Magic Hands', 'The Funny Company' and 'The New Three Stooges' ("live" segments featuring Moe, Larry and 'Curley' Joe DeRita wrapped around a bad '3 Stooges' cartoon).

felixThese were offered to local kid show hosts along with cartoons created for television like Felix the Cat, 'Rat Fink' and 'Bozo the Clown'.

'A Day with Doodles' lasted only one year. During the Seventies, Doodles made one of his last TV appearances on a 1974 episode of 'Little House on the Prairie' ("The Lord is My Shepherd").

Winstead "Doodles" Weaver shot and killed himself on January 12, 1983, the result of his long battle with pill addiction and severe alcoholism. Rudy Vallee delivered the eulogy.


"Okay, you've really been piquing my nostalgia meter with "A Day with Doodles", "Wonderama", "The Mighty Hercules", etc. BUT -- one that I have not seen mentioned on your site is Yap.

Yap was a pixillated dog that was cut and folded out of paper (you see a woman's hands at the beginning of the segment cutting him out). He had doggy adventures. Another paper dog on the show was a bulldog.

There was no dialogue (he was a *dog*, after all). (although there was a brief songlet at the beginning, something about "Snip-snap, (something) Yap") These brief segments were shown on the same local show that aired "a Day with Doodles" in the New York area. Any rememberers?"

- Mike Turniansky

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