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THE UNCLES' JUNIOR FROLICS CARTOONS MENU
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Farmer Gray 1920's cinematique cartoons as played on 50's TV.
(The history of the first cartoons & the Junior Frolics franchise below menu.)
They're now played in a new web-tv browser window:

1. THE FARMER'S RADIO DAZE
Farmer Gray's animals are instrumental in setting up the old boy to make an "ass" of himself over the air

2. THE SODIE POP STAND
When Farmer Gray's jalopy breaks down on the road, the animals are there to offer refreshment>a/>
3. NO REST FOR THE WEARY
Dagnabit! Between the rooster and the street light workers, a farmer can't get his sleep!

4. BARNYARD HECKLER
When the animals put on a shows, Farmer Gray becomes their crabby critic.



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THE HISTORY OF CARTOONS &
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Farmer Grey (or, on some shows, Brown) and Independent TV In the 1950's, independent television stations, required by the FCC to broadcast children's shows, had to compete with major network shows like "Howdy Doody" and "Claude Kirschner's Big Top." More modern cartoons, such as Warner's Looney Tunes series, were also under the belt on the networks during TV roots age. What did the tiny local stations do for kiddie shows with a pittance budget allowance? Using a "Junior Frolics" franchise format They had a staff announcer, like Newark WATV's Fred Sayles, host public domain cartoons of the 1920's and 30's doing voiceovers for thosw which were silent. Here are some of "Uncle Fred" (and Don and Bob) F armer Gray (actually, Farmer Alfalfa) cartoons from early 20's animation pioneer Paul Terry.
(Much more Frolics cartoon history below).

Commonwealth's Terrytown Cartoons are actually the unsung pioneers of animation. Long before Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies, father of animated cartoonist Paul Terry gave us Farmer Alfalfa (later renamed Farmer various colors by TV cartoon hists) and KoKo the Clown popping out of inkwells. Most of Terry's toons were silent, theatre organists played to the screen action. Sound was being perfected by RCA and Vitaphone, but the budget for cartoons precluded most until other animators demanded their cartoon characters be given voices, which Mel Blanc (voice of most Warner characters) appreciated.

In the 20's, Little Lulu begat Betty Boop (what what she do with her "boop boop be doop" without a soundtrack?) and Farmer Alfalfa begat all the poor saps befuddled by animals (sez, for example, Elmer Fudd, "Dwat that wabbit"). Warner and Allied Artists demanded clearance and royalty fees for their well received cinema cartoons and UOM Films was not cheap, at that time, for Betty. Those small, fledgling independent VHF TV stations (UHF wasn't born yet and cable was community antenna), competing against Buffalo Bob's entourage, Pinky Lee's gyrations which eventually resulted in an on camera heart attack and Claude Kirschner's animal acts, ill able to afford Porky or even older Boop, found solace in early cartoon celluloid.

The national "Uncle, kids & Old Cartoons" format started in 1949 when then Newark, New Jersey privately owned & independent WATV, channel 13 (which eventually became today;s New York PBS outlet) went on the air with announcer Fred Sayles sitting with a group of not always well behaved toddlers narrating silent TerryToons while techs in the booth played recorded music. This, under the hastily titled name "Junior Frolics" (such painted on a sign held by a clown for the opening art card) . "Uncle Fred" (Fred Sayles) would, when Farmer Gray poked the wrong end of the wrong animal, moan to the inattentive kids, "Now, isn't that silly?" Between toons, Uncle Fred would hawk Flav-R-Straws, a paper straw with a cardboard sliver of flavoring inside. When one dunks the straw in a glass of milk, you have Chocolate milk, or, for the kiddie konnissieur, Strawberry milk (yuk). Unfortunately, when a toddler swivers a straw in a glass of milk, splatters of milk soon spill on the tod's clothes and Uncle Fred. Oh yes, and then there were the need to eliminate the liquid bodily.

Despite the spills, bathroom whines and interrupting Sayles' scripted commercials, "Junior Frolics" got decent stats and advertising responses, which made then Atlantic/Bremer Corporation (channel13 owner) execs, station operating chief John Coopersmith, and the Flav-R-Straw ad execs, smile. The "Junior Frolics" franchise went out to Uncle Bob in Boston, Uncle Don in L.A. and TV uncles all over the place. When later National Telefilms operated Ch13 NJ went PBS NY in 1962, Uncle Fred, and most Frolic's shows nationally, vanished. Indie TV became more viable, had more money to play with, so Soupy Sales, Looney Tunes, Chuck McCann et al, took over. Uncle Fred would re-emerge temporarily when Coopersmith opened channel 47 in Newark at the dawn of UHF television in the late 60's. Uncle Fred replaced the screeching kid with a silent hand puppet he could control, John Zacherle would bring on dancing teens next, but history repeats itself in station change. 47 eventually became Telemundo and, in the mid 70's Uncle Floyd would emerge on channel 68, a West Orange, NJ UHFer started by an antenna manufacturer, Blonder Tongue. No cartoons, comedy skits.

Public Television would change the face of children's television forever, Kukla, Fran & Ollie would be replaced by Big Bird, Oscar and Cookie Monster who would introduce education into frolics. Jim Henson's "Sesame Street" on PBS, followed by "Electric Company" and "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" would be the answer to the PTA's dreams. Networks and syndicators tried to compete with "Captain Kangaroo" and "New Zoo Revue," but PBS accomplished what "Ding Dong School's" Miss Frances never could, give tiny viewers sophisticated education while also providing fun entertainment/

Educator's hated the bash'em in the head, kick'em in the butt fare like old cartoons, "Tom & Jerry," et al. Betty Boops' skirt hiking and damsel in distress themes didn't please them either. They even pressured NBC to take Clarabelle's seltzer bottle away. Indeed, The incessant kicking, bopping, thumping, belting banging in the butt and over the head formula of Farmer Alfalfa would land the uncles in the "condemned" list had "Junior Frolics" been broadcast a decade later

Small television stations having kiddie shows with kiddies live on camera did not have the attendant staff as did Howdy, Claude, and other network budgeted forefathers during TV's root years. In Cincinnati, a boy did number two in his pants while a Bozo Clown prototype did card tricks (quick, run a King Leonardo cartoon). In Miami, a primly dressed girl decided it was time for the no underwear fad and proceeded to remove hers while Uncle Bill sang "Farmer In The Dell" Where was Tom Jones? And in Chicago, a kid called a TV uncle an s---head while the live on camera emcee was touting Turkish Taffy. He may have slammed the Bonomo's bar just a might more forceful that day.



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