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HOT DOG
by Billy Ingram & you!


There are lost TV programs I've been searching for for years, most I suspect will never turn up but I'm always pleasantly surprised when they do.

One of those Holy Grail shows was the Peabody Award-winning children's series Hot Dog, which aired on Saturday mornings in 1970. Hot Dog was a wildly entertaining educational broadcast that showed kids how things were made - pencils, crayons, money, toothpaste, etc. - interspersed with hilarious non sequiturs from Joanne Worley, Jonathan Winters and Woody Allen.

Here's a brief tease from a tape sent by Pete Delaney who has written a wonderful article on the TV career of Woody Allen.

Above is the opening of Hot Dog. The video quality's not great as it's video taped from a 16mm projection.

Hot Dog was produced for NBC by Lee Mendelson (one of the guys behind the Charlie Brown specials) and Frank Buxton who hosted Discovery on Saturdays in the early-sixties.


- Keith Schad tells us:
I too remember the Hot Dog programs and I thought they were terrific! However, I was too young to see them on TV. I remember them from elementary school, when they would show them on 16 mm projectors. I have a 16mm projector now and I sometimes buy old educational films from ebay. I always watch for Hot Dog films, but have never seen one yet. I would love to see an entire episode!

- Kevin S. Butler offers some details on Hot Dog:
Hot Dog is now available on the website tvdays.com where a clip of one show that explains how Baseball gloves are created and sold to kids. The clip also features character actor and comedy improv expert Jonathan Winters playing a nutzy baseball player.

Hot Dog is Woody Allen's only stint on a network series on a regular basis and his only involvement with a kid's TV show. The series was first seen on NBC's mini-series of kid's specials American Rainbow on a Saturday morning in 1970.

The show was sponsored by Howard Johnson's family restaurants and hotels and the commercial spokesman for HJ's was the late Bob McAllister, the fifth and last adult host/performer of WNEW channel 5 in NYC's Sunday morning comedy/variety kid's program Wonderama.

Tommy Smothers appeared on the pilot with Mr. Winters and Joanne Worley (of Rowan And Martin's Laugh In fame), the show was picked up by NBC for their fall schedule. For whatever the reason, Mr. Smothers was dropped from the show and was replaced by Woody Allen.

Hot Dog lasted one season on NBC Saturday mornings.

Here's another short clip from the show.


"I don't know if this helps, but I remember Hot Dog segments appearing on (I think) the first season of Kids Are People Too. A few years later, when I happened across Take the Money and Run on TV, my first thought was, 'Hey, it's that weird guy from Hot Dog! Later, when I knew more about Woody Allen, I doubted my own memory. Why would Woody Allen have been doing interstitials for Kids Are People Too? Thanks for clearing up that mystery."

This tape I have of Hot Dog programs shows that it was carved up into individual segments so it totally makes sense that it was syndicated to local stations or folded into Kids Are People Too - as well as being distributed to schools. - EDITOR

 

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