1 9 5 1 – 1 9 5 2 (USA)
Bil and Cora Baird’s delightful puppets were the players in this droll Saturday morning fantasy series for kids from CBS.
The setting was the Land of Beyond, a magical world inhabited principally by puppets from the Baird’s previous series, Life With Snarky Parker.
Bright as a button, young hero JP was fashioned by Baird after the son of a close friend. His constant companion was the inimitable horse Heathcliffe, the most popular character in Snarky Parker.
Both were watched over by Dooley, a leprechaun with a magic flute – otherwise known as “the Whistling Wizard”.
The villains were Kohlrabi and his monstrous mistress, the Spider Lady, who conjured up powerful black magic with the cry “Elia Kazan!”
Other puppet characters included J Fiddler Crab, old sea salt Davy Jones, and the team of Flannel Mouse and Charlemane, a long-maned lion.
Flannel idled the time away on his “mouse organ” and with one eye, watched over his loyal but not very bright friend Charlemane.
The Land of Beyond was inhabited by other good and not-so-good characters, including mermaids and dragons.
The show – which was serialised when it ran daily for three weeks opposite Howdy Doody, then had two-parters when it became a weekly show – aimed to educate its young audience on life’s “ups and downs” and demonstrate that perseverance is fundamental to success.
It also became one of a few shows CBS broadcast in its experimental colour system in 1951 (the weekly shows were black and white). CBS canned the series in 1952 due to high production costs.