If you were under 10 years old in the New York City area in the 1970s, your TV-watching itinerary probably consisted of at least three shows: Sesame Street, The Magic Garden, and Wonderama.
Wonderama was kid television at its best. Launched in the 1950s, the show had several hosts before Bob McAllister, described as “Buster Brown–coiffed” in his 1998 New York Times obituary, signed on.
“Bob took over as the fifth and final host of Wonderama on August 13, 1967, which originated from WNEW-TV in New York,” states a blog billing itself as the show’s official website.
“The show aired Sunday mornings from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (at first it was 31/2 hours), as Bob would engage his audience in the studio and at home with magic tricks, puppet and comedy skits, songs, stories, games, informational segments, and interviews with celebrity guests.”
Those songs and games included a round of Wonderama’s anthem, “Kids Are People Too,” lots of snake cans, and audience prizes like RC Cola. If producers handed out soda to kids today, they might be arrested!
Amazingly, WNEW (formerly known as channel 5) cancelled the show in 1977 because of a decline in ratings, from 60 percent of the audience in its time slot to 36 percent.
Wonderama has long been in the TV graveyard, but luckily we have YouTube to supply a 1973 clip of the show and its signature song.