Local TV seems to be a thing of the past, save for the local news. It’s apparently fallen victim to cost cutting.
But it wasn’t always that way. There were cartoon shows for kids with local hosts in my area like Captain Chesapeake (“Ahoy, crew members!”) and Captain 20 (“May you be happy and win lots of prizes!”). Other kidvid included “Professor Kool’s Fun Skool” (the guy who played Professor Kool often performed for our Cub Scout troop) and local versions of “Bozo” and “Romper Room.”
The evenings featured “Bowling for Dollars,” which was originally “Duckpins and Dollars”; the kids’ version known as “Pinbusters”; local game shows like “High Stakes” and “The Greater Baltimore Baffle”; the local debate forum, “Square Off”; and “The Maryland State Lottery Show,” once lotteries became legal.
Late at night, you could get frightened by Count Gore deVol’s “Creature Feature” or by your Ghost Host (played by the same guy who was Captain Chesapeake). In fact, many of the movies that were shown throughout the day were hosted by someone, such as one broadcaster who was also a lector at a church not too far from me.
The mornings gave us “Dialing for Dollars,” in which the calls to viewers who could recite the account and the amount were interspersed around some public affairs guest(s).
That game was worked into a local talk show called “People are Talking,” which had two hosts, one male and one female. The guy is still with the same local station. The woman got into hot water for asking chicken magnate Frank Perdue whether he thought he looked like a chicken. She was then banished to the audience, where she would get their reactions to the guests on the show.
And that’s how Oprah Winfrey got started.
One local show that has survived: “It’s Academic,” the high school quiz competition I was an alternate for my school. And cable outlets may still have locally produced content, as might your local public channel.
What were the local TV shows that you remember? How did they capture the flavor of your area?