Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Kukla, Fran, and Christmas

Christmas, as the saying goes, is for children. This presents a certain dilemma for those of us who rather like Christmas, but of whom it is possible (if rather reductive) to say that we simply can't abide children.

In my defense, I can say quite truly that I wasn't all that fond of them even when I was one. They seemed noisy and unpredictable, something I now enjoy greatly in singing stars and screen legends, but which in person, then and now, has fewer charms.

Even my favorite programs as a child bore this out. Captain Kangaroo, with its gathering of middle-aged gentlemen in jeans and naval uniforms, enacting skits that were old when Vaudeville was a tot, was far preferable to the harsh urban realities of Sesame Street. And of course, a Saturday wasn't complete without time spent in the gentle company of this dear lady d'un certain age and her friends (Zoom I made an exception for, which in later years I realized was because it was essentially the pre-teen equivalent of a Saturday night at The Saint, minus the rampant promiscuity).

So here are Kukla, Fran, and Ollie, wishing us a Merry Christmas across the decades. I knew them, not from their '50s incarnation, but as the hosts of The CBS Children's Film Festival, the kind of good-naturedly improving kiddie show that's fairly impossible to imagine existing today. For me, the KF&O bits were always much more engaging than the frequently baffling short films from around the world, and having to sit through 20 minutes of goings-on involving a happy Bulgarian family was the price paid for the joy - truly - of watching a sweet older lady talk with a puppet crocodile.

My Christmas gift for anyone finding themselves in a similarly nostalgic frame of mind is to direct you here, and to echo the Kuklapolitans in saying, "Merry Christmas, Frannie..."


  1. i love this so much!!! merry christmas muscato!!!!

  2. Anxious to investigate the link. But will have to wait, as I'm at work and the bloody computer has no sound. Bah!

    You and I are of the same opinion with regards to both Christmas and children. Thats why I was a member of the cocktail party set at aged ten. Perched on barstools at Officers Clubs with my parents.

    Have a wonderful Christmas and thanks for all the work you put into this wonderful blog.

  3. I am convinced that I am the only person in the world who doesn't enjoy Sesame Street.

  4. I missed the KF&O boat. Didn't fall for Sesame Street until college. Sadly, I can still quote quite liberally from Zoom.