1 9 5 7 – 1 9 5 8 (USA)
30 minute episodes
Susan Heinkel was the 12-year-old hostess of this fantasy series, comprised of songs, stories and Popeye cartoons. She was accompanied by her pet terrier Rusty and a talking table called Mr Pegasus.
In each episode, Susan and Rusty took a trip on her magic flying stool, which – at the incantation of the magic chant “I wish there were a land of play, I wish that I could fly away” – would transport them to the fantasy land of Wonderville on the outskirts of the Foolish Forest.
In Wonderville – surrounded by oversized props – there was a “Cartoon-a-Machine” that showed cartoons (whatever animated shorts were currently in the station’s film library) and an orchestra composed entirely of animal musicians, led by the meek and mild orchestra leader, Caesar P Penguin (voiced by John Coughlin).
The series originated locally on Chicago’s station WBBM (a CBS affiliate) in September 1956, where it ran each weekday afternoon as Susie’s Show.
In this format, Ms Heinkel and the show won several awards.
Some changes were made when the show went national on 4 May 1957 – the show moved to a Saturday morning slot, and the title changed to Susan and the Professor (to avoid confusion with the CBS sitcom Susie starring Ann Sothern)
Born and raised in Louisiana, Susan Heinkel had been involved in show business since she was three when she made her television debut.
She had also worked as a fashion and photographic model and appeared in many leading roles with the St Louis Municipal Opera Company.
Susan Heinkel (under her married name, Bayer) eventually became the voice of Southwestern Bell – the woman explaining that the number called the number is not in service or telling callers to hang up and try again.
Mr Pegasus/Caesar P Penguin/Grandpa Pegasus
John Coughlin (voice)