Thursday, May 03, 2007

plunk your magic twanger froggy!

1,159: PLUNK YOUR MAGIC TWANGER FROGGY!

Growing up, my father was full of wacky catchphrases, mostly gained from radio or TV shows from his childhood. This must be a genetic trait, as it takes little prompting for my sister and I to run off lines from, say, SCTV or Kids in the Hall.

One radio show that seemed to stick with Dad was Smilin' Ed's Gang (aka The Buster Brown Show, after its sponsor). Running from 1944 to 1953 and hosted by Smilin' Ed McConnell, it featured stories and an array of animal characters. The latter included Midnight the Cat, who always said "Nice" (or,as Dad put it, "'Niiiiice', says Midnight"), Squeaky the Mouse and, most infamously, Froggy the Gremlin, a malevolent doll with a repetitive speech pattern.

What got me to thinking about this was an entry at News from ME, which included a lengthy clip from Smilin' Ed's successor on television, veteran character actor Andy Devine (Smilin' Ed moved the show to TV in 1950, hosting until his death in 1954). This clip, along with the sound file that introduces this page on Froggy confirm that Dad was a radio listener, since his imitation of "plunk your magic twanger Froggy!" was definitely based on Smilin' Ed.

Amy can't decide who's scarier: Froggy or Andy.



Kids show or performance art piece? You be the judge. Besides, how many non-religious children's shows would end today with "don't forget church or Sunday school"?

Here's another clip of Andy and Froggy, this time in colour.


As for Froggy, he lodged himself in more than a few minds - Cleveland and Detroit horror movie host The Ghoul regularly tortured Froggy (payback, perhaps?) in skits from the 1970s onwards. - JB

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