Relive the January 1, 1976 episode of The Magic Toy Shop, a classic Syracuse program that aired between 1955 and 1982 on WHEN-TV.
More about The Magic Toy Shop
In 1953, WHEN-TV celebrated its 5th anniversary. Its Central New York audience had grown from about 100 sets to 400,000. As a business, it wished to attract a wide audience, including pre-school children.
General Manager Paul Adanti and Program Director Gordon Alderman assembled an advisory panel of teachers, parents, librarians and educators to consult on the development of a new program for children. TV was still very new and there was concern about it simply entrancing children and not engaging them in active learning. But Alderman and his staff believed that it offered great potential to broaden a child’s world. Finally, the station’s new public affairs programmer, Jean Daugherty, was selected to develop a pilot.
Daugherty created a make-believe world of stories and plush toy animals, centered on a place known as the Magic Toy Shop. The pilot was aired late in 1953. Test families were questioned with the assistance of Syracuse University’s School of Journalism. The response from both parents and children was very positive.
Following more than a year of fine-tuning and further development, the program made its official debut in Central New York on February 28, 1955. It would become one of the longest-running, local children’s television shows in the country.