1 9 5 0 – 1 9 5 5 (USA)
“Hiya, kids”, host Smilin’ Ed McConnell would say. “You better come running, it’s old Smilin’ Ed and his Buster Brown Show. Good old Buster Brown shoes are on the air out here in Hollywood for another good old Saturday hullabaloo.”
The set resembled a clubhouse, and Ed began each show seated in a large easy chair. He opened a rather big book called Smilin’ Ed’s Stories, and various filmed segments were shown – most often the serialised adventures of Ghanga Rama, the Elephant Boy, set in Bakore, India, and featuring Ghanga Rama and his friend, Charmer.
Other segments included the antics of Midnight the Cat and Squeaky the Mouse; Grandie the Talking Piano; the Buster Brown Jug Jingle (jingles sent in by viewers) and the most popular segment, ‘Froggy the Gremlin’, a mischievous, magical frog (in reality, a rubber toy that was eventually marketed).
Standing next to a grandfather clock, Ed would say, “Now Froggy, you better become visible. Plunk your magic twanger, Froggy” . . .
Froggy would materialise and after a brief conversation between Froggy and Smilin’ Ed, the show’s weekly guest star would appear. Froggy would always do his best to sabotage the spot and exasperate the guest to a point where they would walk offstage in disgust.
Buster Brown appeared only in the commercial segments. His well-known catchphrase was “That’s my dog, Tige, he lives in a shoe. I’m Buster Brown, look for me in there too”.
The series was based on a radio show of the same title. It was originally called The Buster Brown TV Show with Smilin’ Ed McConnell and the Buster Brown TV Gang, and is also known as Smilin’ Ed McConnell and His Gang and Smilin’ Ed’s Buster Brown Gang.
Ed McConnell died of a heart attack at Newport Beach, California, in July 1954, aged 62. Andy Devine took over as the host of the show, which became known as Andy’s Gang.
“Well, kids, old Smilin’ Ed and the gang will be on television again next week at this same time. So be sure to invite your little pals over to see it. Now don’t forget church or Sunday school.”
Midnight the Cat (voice)