Sunday, February 9, 2014

Getting Schooled: The New Zoo Revue (1972)

For five seasons in the 70's, programming for preschoolers had suddenly become a very crowded place.

On PBS, there was----and still is---Sesame Street. Captain Kangaroo had the Treasure House open for business on CBS. In syndication, the Romper Room now had some company in the form of The New Zoo Revue.

The setting was a modest zoo in an unnamed city, where two humans--Doug & Emmy Jo (real-life husband & wife Doug Momary & Emily Peden)---interacted with a frog, a hippo, & an owl in comedy skits & musical numbers. Puppeteer and former Mouseketeer Sharon Baird, who otherwise was working for the Kroffts at the time, worked on the show. Voice talent included Bob Holt, more closely associated with DePatie-Freleng during his career. What would be a surprise is the presence of actor-singer and future game show host Chuck Woolery, a couple of years before the launch of Wheel of Fortune, playing an elderly postman, Mr. Dingle, under a ton of makeup.

Here's the open everyone knows:

There were the occasional guests, including June Lockhart (ex-Lost In Space, Petticoat Junction) & Richard Dawson (ex-Hogan's Heroes), who played a time-traveling knight. Oh, if only the Kroffts had thought of something like that.

Rating: B+.


Tom said...

This first aired in 1972? Hmmm. I always thought the frog and pig characters were rip offs of Kermit and Miss Piggy. Now I'm baffled.

hobbyfan said...

Yep, it predates The Muppet Show by 4 years, but Kermit was around way before New Zoo Revue. If it was really ripping anyone off, it was the Kroffts with the life-sized costumes.

magicdog said...

Boy does this show bring back memories!

I never knew Doug and Emmy Jo were married IRL!

hobbyfan said...

That makes two of us.