The Merry Mailman

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(ended 1956)

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The Merry Mailman

Show Summary

Monday Evening - October 16, 1950: A new inovation in children's TV programming debuted on WOR-TV, Ch. 9 in NYC. A series that had a gentle and caring friend spent quality time with young people every day for a few moments. The Merry Mailman was the brilliant inovation of entertainer and radio/TV broadcaster, Ray Heatherton, who always believed that a person, "who was not of the family, but was someone who was always in a child's life," could instill good vaules in a kid's mind and be able to entertain them. Donning the uniform of a happy letter carrier, The Merry Mailman began a seven year run, providing meaningful programming for kids and paving the way for such quality shows as Captain Kangaroo, Mister Rogers and, Seasme Street. At the beginning however? Heatherton did little more than appear in front of a curtain in his mailman's uniform, introducing old movie cartoons, giving the series the appearance of another TV cartoon fest. Seeing that the program needed to be revamped, the station execs at Ch. 9 hired TV director Sandy Howard to change the format. Howard created a comedy/variety show, complete with a studio audience, which allowed Heatherton to relate to his fans and instill good values and entertain them in an intimate manner. Songs, stories, games, craft making, hobbies, and informational segments were added to the format; along with comedy and puppet skits performed by Milt Moss and Chic Darrow, that depended more on farce than on frantic slapstick. The Merry Mailman was also one of the first NYC-based kids' TV series to screen The Crusader Rabbit TV cartoons. The show became popular with NYC's young viewers and a plethora of Merry Mailman merchandise filled toy, record, and book stores. Heatherton and Moss were soon in demand for personal appearances. Working with Sandy Howard, they created a stage show that became a popular attraction at NY, NJ and CT movie theaters. Heatherton also appeared at city hospitals where he performed for disabled and terminally ill children. A radio version of the series was heard Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings and Saturday and Sunday afternoons on The Mutual Radio Network during the 1953-1954 season. Everything seemed to be working well for the show, until Heatherton was wrongly accused of being a communist sympahtizer by a crazed McCarthy fanatic. The show began to lose sponsors and ratings. For the remainder of its run, The Merry Mailman became a sustained kids TV show. Heatherton would reappear as The Merry Mailman on WOR-TV Ch. 9 NYC's Cartoon Parade and on a short-lived series on WPIX-TV Ch. 11 in NYC.moreless
Ray Heatherton

Ray Heatherton

The Merry Mailman

Chic Darrow

Chic Darrow

The Topsey Turvey Auctioneer

Milt Moss

Milt Moss

Mr.Penny Whistle

Friday
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