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TV Kindergarten

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Luci's Toyshop was a spin-off of another WBNS-TV popular children's program called TV Kindergarten.  That show's original title was All Aboard.  Here's the history . . .

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Betty Jones and Stanley Mouse on TV Kindergarden

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Luci's Toyshop was a spin-off from an earlier WBNS-TV kid's show called All Aboard -- later re-named TV Kindergarten.
 
In a 1996 interview with the Dispatch, Luci shared that her first break into television came when she was hired to design a set of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" puppets for All Aboard.  That job turned into a five-year relationship with the show and its host, Betty Jones.  During her stint on the show, Luci's official job-title was "assistant," but her primary duty was puppeteer.  And one of the most famous puppets she introduced to the show was her own creation, Stanley Mouse.
 
When Betty Jones died in 1960, WBNS-TV offered Luci and Stanley Mouse their own kid's show, Luci's Toyshop.
 
 
 

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Stanley Mouse in the early years

Betty Jones' daughter contributes . . .

 

We're flattered to have received correspondance from Susan Jones Patterson, daughter of TV Kindergarten host, Betty Jones.  Susan's contribution of both information and photos has allowed us to more accurately document the histories of Luci's Toyshop and TV Kindergarten/All Aboard, as well as the close friendship between the Jones-Clatworthy and Gasaway families.

 

Here are some comments from the emails we received from Susan Jones Patterson:

 

 

"My name is Susan Jones Patterson; my mother was Betty Jones Clatworthy.  About 4 or 5 months before Luci passed away, I met with her in her workshop at Sheram Puppets, Inc. and Lucille told me the entire story, as she remembered it, which coincides with my memories of the shows.  All was also confirmed by Joe Holbrook.  Joe was kind enough to visit me while I was recovering from cancer surgery, shortly before Luci passed away.  We spent a day looking through a couple boxes of WBNS TV memorabilia that I had from my mother.

 

In brief, children’s TV at WBNS began with Aunt Fran.  My mother, Betty was an assistant on her show, Aunt Fran and Her Playmates.  Then my mother began her own show, when Fran retired.  At first it was called “All Aboard”, and then the name was changed to “TV Kindergarten”.  The show was very successful and won several awards over the few years it was on, before she suddenly passed away, at age 33.

 

Lucy told me the story about how she came to be on TV.  She said it began when she got a call from Betty Jones.  Luci had been a member of the Columbus Junior League, and at their annual “show” she needed to make a booth, showcasing something that she did.  Luci said, that she couldn’t think of anything that she did.  But, she was working with her girls making puppets for Girl Scouts, so she made more puppets and made her booth about puppets.  It was quite cute when she told me the story, she said -- a bit under her breath -- that hers really was the best booth of all, though she probably shouldn’t say that!  The Columbus Dispatch did an article and her picture was in the paper with her puppets.  The next day she got a call from Betty Jones.  Betty asked her if her puppets mouths opened?, and could they speak?  Luci said, not at the moment, but they probably could.  So, she and Betty eventually met and talked over what they could do with the puppets.  Luci said they became very close friends.  That is when she told me, “You know Stanley Mouse was born on your mother’s show.”  She also told me that the ring she was wearing was my mother’s diamond.  She got it after my mother passed away.  She told me that my mother was her best friend, and that she was devastated when she died.  She truly thought she would never be that close to anyone ever again.  It was quite heartbreaking to hear.  She also told me that my mother taught her everything about how to write a show, produce a show; everything she knew about television, Betty taught her.  After Betty’s death, WBNS asked Luci to take over my mother’s show, “TV Kindergarten”, but Luci refused.  She said there is no way she could or would take Betty’s show.  But several months later, the station came to her again, and asked if she could do her own show.  She said she thought about it, and then realized with all she had learned from Betty, she could do it, and that is when Luci’s Toyshop began."

 

 

In response to some incorrect historical information in Tim Hollis's book, Hello There, Boys and Girls: America's Local Children's TV Programs, which had been previously reported on this site -- Susan responds . . .

 

"Luci never was on Aunt Fran, nor were any of her puppets.  By the time Luci moved to Columbus, Fran was off the air, and Betty Jones was hosting her own show.  WBNS does have a film of Fran’s show, which does show Betty on the show.  Betty arranged for the show to be recorded, so that the show could be entered for a contest in children’s programming.  They would win $1,000.  And since TV was so new, and especially children’s television they could use all the money they could get!  I spent a lot of time growing up in the WBNS studio, and I remember spending a lot of time at Luci’s, when she would baby sit for me and my brother Bobby.  Mrs. Marvin, Flippo’s wife also would watch us on occasion, as would Mrs. D'Angelo.

 

. . .It was so wonderful for me to be able to spend a little time with Luci, since I had not seen her since my mother’s death so long ago.  She was always such a warm wonderful friend to my mother and our family."

 

-- Susan Jones Patterson

 

 

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Great friends in 1959: Lucille Gasaway, Bill Clatworthy, Betty Jones Clatworthy, & Howard Gasaway

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