1947: The Genesis of 'Kukla, Fran and Ollie'
On this day in 1947, WBKB in Chicago introduced the children's show, Junior Jamboree. A little over a year later, the show moved to WNBQ (later WMAQ) and was renamed Kukla, Fran and Ollie.
The man behind the puppets was Burr Tillstrom, the show creator and sole puppeteer. The other human involved with the show was Fran Allison, a singer and radio performer who performed opposite Tillstrom's puppets, Kukla and Oliver J. Dragon (better known as Ollie). Other puppets appearing on the program (as part of the Kuklapolitan Players) included Madame Ophelia Ooglepuss, Buelah Witch, Fletcher Rabbit, Cecil Bill, Colonel Crackie, Mercedes and Dolores and Olivia Dragon. The shows were completely ad-libbed
NBC first broadcast the show from Chicago in January, 1949, and the show proved as popular with adults as kids. The show was perform lived, and without a script. From 1954 through 1957, the show aired on ABC. Later incarnations appeared on PBS and in syndication.