Monday, December 22, 2014

Barnaby at Westgate Mall – December 1958

Here's an ad for the old Westgate Mall that ran in the Elyria Chronicle on December 4, 1958. The ad is supposed to be promoting Santa Claus' Fairyland Toyhouse, but it seems that an appearance by TV host Barnaby is stealing the show.

Linn Sheldon had only been playing his Barnaby the elf character on KYW-TV for a little more than a year (hosting Popeye cartoons), but as you can see from the ad he was enjoying great popularity. If you look closely at his photo, you can see Popeye sitting on his shoulder.

Barnaby and Woodrow the Woodsman,
who got his start on Barnaby's show
In its second month, the TV show was on the air, Barnaby and his Popeye cartoons were actually beating the Mickey Mouse Club in ratings, according to this article on the Cleveland Classic Media website.

Of course, my siblings and I grew up watching Barnaby on Channel 3 (and later, Channel 43). I don't remember ever thinking of him as an elf or leprechaun; to me, he was just a nice, gentle guy in a straw hat that showed a variety of cartoons over the years, including the el cheapo Popeyes, as well as the Tales of the Wizard of Oz cartoons.

Every local baby boomer remembers the beautiful musical theme of his TV show, as well as his closing line that was just as memorable as Captain Penny's. Do you remember what Barnaby used to say?

Here he is saying it for the very last time on his very last show in late March 1990. It's a very emotional moment for him, and it's hard not to tear up watching him say it.

It's nice that he was taking home Long John, his invisible parrot.

Looking at the ad, it's strange knowing that Westgate Mall is no more. Although I don't remember going there as a kid, it was one of the shopping centers my mother and sister went to once in a while for something different. Later, I used to shop there a lot in the 1980s. It helped that there was a Chi-Chi's (also gone) on the premises.


Anonymous said...

Never dreamt your blog would ever make me cry, but that Barnaby video did me in. I loved Barnaby, invisible parrot, that little twinkling noise that was a fairy??
Thanks I needed that. Rae

-Alan D Hopewell said...

I quote....
"If anybody calls, tell 'em Barnaby said hello.
"And tell 'em that you are ther nicest person in the whole world....just you."

Doug Majka said...

Westgate is still standing, but now it's completely vacant since the dollar store build a new building across the street.