Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Franz and Flapper Visit Midway Mall – Sept. 20, 1967

Baby Boomers who grew up in the Cleveland area had several local TV hosts to entertain them with cartoons and friendly patter. I’ve written a few times about Captain Penny, who was on Channel 5, as well as Barnaby and Woodrow the Woodsman, who were both originally associated with Channel 3. Channel 61 had Captain Cleveland. And Channel 8 had Franz the Toymaker, star of the ad above announcing his appearance at Midway Mall. The full-page ad appeared in the Lorain Journal on September 20, 1967.

It’s a good time to post the ad for Midway Mall, seeing as it was just sold at auction over the summer.

Anyway, I vaguely recall watching Franz the Toymaker, mainly because he showed some of the lesser-known animated favorites like Ruff and Reddy, as well as the crummy, newer Koko the Clown cartoons.
Ruff and Reddy
Franz had a Raggedy Ann-like sidekick; there was also an offscreen mail plane (that arrived not unlike Five O’Clock Charlie on M*A*S*H) that was part of his daily shtick.

Click here to read a nice article about Ray Stawiarski, who played Franz. And here’s an ample sample of some of his gentle antics.

Getting back to the ad, also appearing at Midway Mall that day was Flapper, the “Million Dollar Talking Dolphin” direct from the Canadian National Exposition.

Flapper? Was the dolphin kinfolk to Flipper?

It doesn’t sound like it. During an appearance by Flapper at a shopping center in Alton, Illinois in early July that same summer, the Alton Evening Telegraph wrote about the apparently loquacious sea mammal.

"Flapper," billed as the "$1 million talking dolphin," visited Wood River on Wednesday and Thursday, and her squeaky- squawky "talk" and playful antics in a swimming pool amused hundreds of children and adults. The bottle-nosed mammal — a relative of the whale family — cavorted in her private circular swimming tank on the Sav Mart shopping center parking lot, splashed a few onlookers, and allowed children to stroke her at times,” wrote Dick Fackler. "In response to commands from a trainer, the agile, seagoing pet emitted a series of "talk" noises, which sounded like Donald Duck with a bad cold. Her trainer said she could recite nursery rhymes and has a good vocabulary. Flopper also retrieved objects thrown into the pool and brought them back to the trainer. As she performed, the trainer would reward her with slices of fish.

"About 28 pounds of salt water fish dally form the major part of the dolphin's diet. Employees of the traveling firm, called "Porpoise Productions," from Pensacola, Fla., said the dolphin weighs about 350 pounds and is about eight feet long. She is very friendly and they swim in the pool with her, and even ride her like a horse.

"Flapper seems to enjoy putting on a show in her limited watery world, and proudly stuck her mischievous-looking head out of the water several times as if listening to the applause. Her repertoire includes wearing a "hat" around in the water, and pushing a spinning little propeller underwater at the end of her nose.
"Flapper was captured by a specially-designed boat and net near Key Biscayne, Fla., on July 15, 1963. At that time she was still nursing age, and was weaned two weeks later in Galveston, Tex. Her show business career was launched just one week after capture, as she learned in just seven days to leap into the air for a fish."


Mark said...

I liked the mall map/directory as well!!

Lisa said...

Yes, I liked the mall directory as well. Brought back a lot of memories.

Lisa said...

While I vaguely remember Franz the Toymaker; watching the attached clip, I had to laugh. It would never make it on TV today! My dad was from Germany and I wonder what he might have thought of Franz, although he liked "Hogan's Heroes". Very interestink. But schtupit.