1 9 5 3 – 1 9 5 7 (USA)
Praised as “the first interactive TV show”, the show’s central gimmick was the use of a “magic window”, which was a large piece of clear clingy plastic that stuck to the television screen via static electricity.
A kit containing the magic window and various wax Winky Dink crayons could be purchased by sending 50 cents to Box 5, New York 19, New York – as host Jack Barry mentioned many times in each episode.
At a climactic scene in every Winky Dink short, Winky (a large-headed boy with a shock of star-shaped blonde hair) would arrive upon a scene that contained a connect the dots picture.
Host Jack Barry would then prompt the children at home to complete the picture, and the finished result would help Winky Dink and his dog Woofer out of their predicaments.
If Winky Dink and Woofer were stuck on the side of a rushing stream, for example, viewers with “magic windows” could draw a bridge for them to cross over, or a ladder to climb, or an escape hatch.
The show was a big hit with baby boomers, some of whom apparently didn’t have 50 cents for a “magic window” and drew directly on their TV screens!
Winky Dink and You ran for many years in syndication. An animated version was also produced in 1969, with voices provided by Lionel G Wilson.
Creator Louis ‘Deke’ Heyward died of complications from pneumonia on 26 March 2002 in Los Angeles. He was 81.