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Sandy Becker

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New York City Local Kid Shows
by your friend Billy Ingram

Bob McAllister's Wonderama!One of the most popular local programs in TV history would have to be New York City's mega-kid's show Wonderama. So popular, it was later syndicated and spun off into other cities like Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. The later version, starring the late, great Bob McAllister is the version most people remember.

Equally popular were the earlier incarnations of Wonderama starring Sandy Becker and then Sonny Fox. Here are some crazy outtakes from these two great performers, from the mid-sixties.

The video quality is TERRIBLE, but it's almost all that survives of these programs - because of the high costs of videotape, stations typically erased each day's show with the next day's program. Just pretend you're watching this on your old TV with the rabbit ears.

:SANDY BECKER:

Sandy Becker was the first host of Wonderama in 1955 and he also hosted a number of other WNEW-TV 5 kid programs in the 60s.

WARNING: These Sandy Becker clips contain a LOT OF PROFANITY and we don't bleep anything. That's because TVparty is really progressive or something (lazy).

Sandy really loved to cut up, ruining numerous takes just for the fun of it. This was tolerated because A) he was funny, and B) kid shows were big business in a large TV market like New York City. Most local shows around the country were broadcast live or taped 'live' - with no retakes. Ever.

In this flub, Sandy does a commercial for Hostess - making those Twinkies look as unappealing as possible. Do you recognize the catchy Hostess jingle that starts this clip? Then you're OLD!

Sandy Becker hosted several different programs like Sandy's Hour, performing comedy skits (and commercials) between the cartoons and Little Rascals episodes. Here, poor Sandy smoothly delivers his Silly Putty commercial until he gets to the end - and it's time for the product to perform.

Eventually, production constraints forced Sandy Becker to stop featuring his colorful characters on the show. Sandy explained it to the audience this way - but I doubt it ever aired...

Here Sandy does a parody of local kid show hosts. Everything you're not supposed to do - smoking and drinking and using profanities!

A fox is the animal guest on one Wonderama program, so Sandy uses the occasion to take a few shots at fellow kiddie show host Sonny Fox.

Sandy Becker passed away Tuesday, April 9, 1996.

:SONNY FOX:

Sonny (Irwin) Fox was the good natured host of Just for Fun on Saturdays and Wonderama on Sundays. He didn't do as much cutting up as Sandy Becker, but he was often the victim of unusual circumstances leading to some very funny outtakes.

David Goldberg writes, "Wonderama was the only show on Sunday worth watching. My sister and I would sit in our PJ's watching all morning in our Queens apartment. Later, in college, I used to pick up girls by asking if they remembered the show. They would either not know what I was talking about, or be real enthusiastic. Believe it or not, it worked!!!"

Sonny tried REALLY hard to save this Polynesian Punch commercial, but the little girl refused to pick up his cues. Again, the quality of the film is horrendous, but very little footage exists of Sonny Fox's days on Wonderama.

The opening to a Wonderama episode found Sonny being mauled by an circus elephant, who rips his jacket off and unhooks his microphone! Hosting a kid show wasn't all fun and games... he could have been killed!

Sonny Fox introduces a commercial for Fritos - except... oops!

What is Sonny Fox doing UNDER the Wonderama desk (smoking break, maybe)? He THOUGHT they were going to a commercial.

Sonny Fox is Sr. VP of Population Communications International. For more information on this extraordinarily not- for-profit, go to www.population.org.

Sonny Fox' E-mail for his fans!

:OTHER NYC MESS-UPS:

Another NYC fave was the wonderful Fred Hall.

On his show "Hall For Fun", he would dress up as Jungle Boy to introduce "The Adventures Of Jungle Boy" TV films. His show ran Weekday afternoons on WNEW TV Ch.5 from Monday, September 3, 1962 to Friday, September 3, 1965. But Jungle Boy had trouble swinging in on the small set - he kept crashing into the props!

Ed Ladd hosted "The Heckle & Jeckle Cartoon Show" in the early Sixties - and he had a bit of trouble with a "Hawaiian Punch" commercial circa 1964.

 

::NYC Local Kid Shows Section::
NYC Kid's Show Roundup / Overview / Remembering Favorites
NY Local Hosts Outtakes
/ Two Views from the 50s / Tex Antoine
Wonderama /Return of The Magic Garden / Sandy Becker


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