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Curiosity Shop (ABC, 1971-1973)

In an attempt to capitalize on the success of Sesame Street, ABC launched Curiosity Shop in 1971. Sponsored by Kellogg’s (yep the cereal people), Curiosity Shop was an American children’s educational television show broadcast Saturday mornings from September 11, 1971 to January 6, 1973. The show featured three inquisitive kids, two boys and one girl each show (the boys were John Levin and Kerry McLane and the girls alternated between Pamelyn Ferdin and Jerelyn Fields). Each week the kids traveled to a different shop populated with puppets and gadgets to discover interesting things about science, nature and history. Each show featured a different theme.

Curiosity Shop was executive produced by legendary animator Chuck Jones. The puppets included Professor S.I. Trivia (A bespectacled bookworm that provided the children with dictionary definitions), Monsieur Cou Cou (a French-accented bird), Flip (an orange hippopotamus), Baron Balthazar (a man who would tell animated tales from his homeland of Bosnia. The cartoons were from the series Professor Balthazar which were produced in Croatia. At the time both Crotia and Bosnia were still part of Yugosalvia.), The Oogle (a marsupial-like silent creature), Onomatopoeia (a multi-legged furry beat that spoke in sound effects), Woodrow the groundhog (often yelled for quiet), Eek A. Mouse (also usually asked for quiet), Nostalgia (a chronically forgetful elephant), Hermione Giraffe, Aarthir the Aardvark, Ole Factory the Bloodhound, Halcyon the Hyena and Miss Fowler (a flower in a pot). Other actors on the Curiosity Shop included Barbara Minkus as Gittie, a witch who magically appeared when someone said “which;” Darwin, a chimpanzee who lived in a treehouse and Eunice, a seal that lived in a waterbed (a water tank shaped like a bed). Curiosity Shop also featured inanimate characters: Hudson was a gravelly-voiced rock; Granny TV was a rocking antique TV that presented classic film comedies; Mr. Jones was a tape recorder and was the only means of communication between the children and animator Chuck Jones; and a talking computer who satisfied the children’s curiosity about every subject and presented educational movies, tapes, cartoons, vocabulary lessons and the like.

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