Recently, I was driving home from Pittsburg, Kansas, after having been to an auction there, when I passed the FOX Television station along the road, it reminded me of a time when I was a child when this television station was KOAM TV, and one of three channels we were able to pick up on our television at home through our antenna. If I remember right, I believe this station was an affiliate of NBC at the time? Like many local stations of the timeframe, they would have local programming as well, that they would broadcast. One popular program was “Melody Matinee,” hosted by Lou Martin and sponsored by Town Talk Bread. There was also the children’s show, “The Fun Club,” that was hosted by Roger Neer and the 49er, Slim Andrews, which is the subject to this story.
The “Fun Club” was a live television show, where children would go and sit in some small bleachers to watch cartoons, be interviewed by Roger Neer, and entertained by Slim Andrews. They also had a small barn with a door that opened, and the mule Josephine would peek out and have a conversation with Mr. Neer. Of course Josephine was a puppet and the 49er would slip back there and do the voice over for Josephine. I didn’t know it until years later, but before coming to KOAM, Slim Andrews was the comical sidekick to Tex Ritter in the B westerns made in the 40’s and 50’s. He was known as “Arkansas” Slim Andrews and in the movies, he rode a mule named Josephine.
It’s funny how you remember little things in detail from your childhood, and forget about other happenings. I guess I had to be in about the third grade, when this happened, because I was in Cub Scouts, and that was about the age range for that organization. My den mother was a lady by the name of Mrs. Burrows. I don’t remember how often we met, but we would have our den meeting at her home periodically and would be involved in different types of small projects. There was probably only about a half of dozen or so of us boys that were in this group. Mrs. Burrows had made arrangements, as one of our projects, to have our Cub Scout group go attend, and be on the “Fun Club.”
I remember the day we drove to the Pittsburg television station as being cold and rainy. When we arrived, I guess due to the weather, we were the only group of kids participating on the show that day. As our parents sat at home and watched us on live television, Roger Neer showed a couple of cartoons, then came around with his microphone and asked each of us our names and ages. I can’t remember who the culprit was which started it, but during the live interview, one of the boys made the comment that Josephine was not “REAL,” and was actually the 49’er playing the part. Of course, Mr. Neer assured us that weren’t the case at all, and by then, all of us were making accusations of fraud. To prove us wrong, one of the cameramen slipped behind the barn and strapped on the puppet, as Slim Andrews did the voice over with his back to the camera. Well that didn’t fool us either, and we continued making our fraud accusations, until Roger Neer finally said, “Let’s show another cartoon!” During the cartoon, he proceeded to explain to us that there were many children viewing the show that believed Josephine was real, and that we needed to close our mouths about the matter, or we would be removed from the program.
Needless to say, when we got home later that evening, none of our parents were very happy with us, including mine, and after a scolding, don’t ask me how I remember this, unless because it was such a traumatic day for me, but I remember sitting down to eat my dinner that evening, and also vividly remember having Chocolate Pudding and Nilla Wafers for desert. So that is what I choose to share today, this ridiculously easy and tasty desert straight out of the 1960’s.
Chocolate Pudding and Nilla Wafers
1 box of Nilla Wafers
1 large box of chocolate cook and serve jello-pudding
cool whip (optional)
In an 8x8 pan, arrange a layer of Nilla Wafers. Set aside enough wafers for two more layers.
Prepare chocolate pudding according to directions on box.
As soon as the pudding is done, carefully spoon ½ the chocolate over the Nilla wafers. Arrange another row of wafers and repeat with the rest of the pudding.
Add a last layer of wafers. Chill for about 1 hour or so in the fridge so the pudding can set. Cut into slices and top with whipped cream.