For The Philharmonic House Cleaning and Wrecking Company, Episode Number: 228 Season Num: 6 First Aired: July 22, 1961:
The trivia section (which I'm not allowed to submit to right now - I'm a Level 1) contains an error. It says that "George Zima makes several mistakes during his juggling act, causing the Captain and the crew behind the camera to laugh hysterically." George is the dancer; Irving Harmon is the juggler. A friend of mine who juggles watched this with me and said, "You know, he's really good, but it looks like he didn't get to rehearse in costume and it's screwing up his act."
I needed to correct it because I know George and the idea of his being capable of screwing up on camera seemed unlikely. Irving fumbles a bit on the juggling; George's dancing is wonderful.
George spent years as a Broadway dancer in shows like Li'l Abner and Pal Joey, as well as dancing on Captain Kangaroo, The Jackie Gleason Show and Sesame Street. He retired in the early 70s, got a teaching license and rose to become a school superintendant in Illinois. He teaches tap dancing for seniors and performs in community theater shows. I directed him in Lucky Stiff, where he played a corpse in a wheelchair. In a nightmare sequence in Act Two, the corpse gets up and dances. After spending most of the evening in a wheelchair, George got up, danced all over the stage like Jimmy Cagney and finished with a cartwheel, literally stopping the show every night. It was one of the most exciting theater moments I've ever had. George was 75 at the time. He's also one of the nicest people you could ever meet.
But back to this episode: George came to see a production of Charley's Aunt I directed; the Captain Kangaroo theme was included in the pre-show music. George smiled fondly and said, "Puffin' Billy" (the name of the song). When I saw this episode I realized for the first time that it wasn't just a song for a show he performed on. In this episode, he choreographed and dances an entire number to Puffin' Billy.