1 9 4 9 – 1 9 5 4 (USA)
60/30 minute episodes
Originating in Philadelphia, this teen-oriented musical talent show from ABC was hosted by veteran bandleader/performer Paul Whiteman (a fixture on the American pop music scene since the early 1920s).
The youngsters on the show all called him “Pops”. In return, he re-christened all the kids on the show: “Junior”, “Pardner”, “Brains” – and anyone “plain crazy” was automatically “Squidgage”. He also spoke to the youngsters in their own language, using slang terms like “cool” and “gone”.
Whiteman was a flamboyant dresser – usually sporting a loud shirt and a wild sports jacket – and was never without a brown paper bag, from which he would dole out his sponsor’s Tootsie Rolls, chewing gum and other goodies.
He was genuinely fond of his young cast and always happy when one of them succeeded in the show business world. He also gave participants in the show free coaching in their specialities.
Paul Whiteman died of a heart attack in December 1967 in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. He was 77.