Early Television Memories
Kukla, Fran and Ollie
Issue Date: August 11, 2009
City: North Hollywood, CA
“I liked the puppets – they were zany. I would watch the show with my mother, and listen to their records. Kukla was my favorite puppet, but my favorite show was when Ollie looked like he was falling down a well. Fran was calling after him, ‘Noooo, Ollie!’ It was cute.” – Pam B.
A simple set was the forum for an imaginative show. It was just a woman standing in front of a stage, talking with a group of puppets. But the show mixed gentle humor with keen wit, resulting in a children’s show as popular with adults as it was with children. As author James Thurber noted, from 1948-57, the show was “helping to save the sanity of the nation and to improve, if not even to invent, the quality of television.” Whether it was a puppet witch getting arrested by Interpol for flying too low over the United Nations building, or a dragon giving his niece a bath, the puppets appealed to audiences of all ages.