Last year marked the 70th anniversary of a franchise that started as a regional entry in Chicago, then went national within a year.
Kukla, Fran, & Ollie split time between NBC & ABC from 1947-57, airing on weeknights at the dinner hour at first, then shifting to Sundays, and a 15 minute format, much to the consternation of its growing audience. Fran Allison was the human foil for puppeteer Burr Tillstrom's creations, Oliver J. "Ollie" Dragon and Kukla. While the little kids were entertained by the puppets, their big brothers were likely crushing on Fran.
As we've previously noted, the trio took their act to CBS to host the network's Children's Film Festival. What memories I have of that series (previously reviewed) come mostly from the skits they did. However, it didn't last long, as CBS began tinkering with the format of the Festival before putting it to bed for good in the 80's.
Later years also saw Tillstrom branch out with Kukla & Ollie without Fran. For example, Ollie went solo to duel with the talking Parkay tub (voice of Michael Bell) in a late 70's ad. Ollie & Kukla were on the panel for a week on Match Game, matching wits with Gene Rayburn and contestants.
Some of the earliest shows are now available on DVD. I wonder if this skit is included.....