1 9 5 3 – 1 9 9 4 (USA)
Various (Ireland, Finland, Portugal, Switzerland, Morocco, Gibraltar, Australia)
Romper Room originated in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1953 – the creation of Nancy Claster and her husband, Bert, who decided from the start to syndicate and franchise the show, by taping episodes and selling the tapes to local stations or giving the option to local stations to produce their own version of the programme.
In the USA there were different regional Romper Room productions around the country (eg: one from Buffalo and another one from the New York City area).
Various versions of Romper Room were screened in the UK (where it was known as *The* Romper Room), in Canada, across Europe and in Australia.
The programmes taught rhymes and instructed the small group of on-camera studio children in simple sums and the acquisition of gentle good manners.
The productions all featured an appropriately motherly woman looked at the camera through her ‘Magic Mirror’ (basically a tennis racket minus stings) and speaking direct to camera (IE “you”).
Example; “I can see Sarah, and I can see Michael, I can see David and John, and I can see Sally and Sandra” etc, reeling off a list of any old names, as kiddies everywhere sat glued to the set hoping she’d mention their name.
Each version of the franchise also featured Mr Do-Bee and Mr-Don’t Bee
British versions of the franchise were produced by Anglia Television – hosted by “Miss Rosalyn” (Thompson); Ulster – hosted by “Miss Adrienne” (McGuill); and Border Television – hosted by Miss “Patricia” (Brammer).
Other versions aired in Ireland – “Miss Breffni” (Doyle); Finland – “Miss Arja” (Puro); Portugal – “Miss Maria Isabel” (Limao); Gibraltar – “Miss Carmen” (Gomez); Switzerland – “Miss Edith” (Salberg); Morocco – “Miss Khadija” (Aboukinane); and Australia – “Miss Patricia” (Bird) originally, then “Miss Helena” (Bailey) from 1978 until 1987.