The "classic" kids show of the days of early television have a curious amount of nostalgic pull, considering they did not flourish for long. I blame Baby Boomers, who consider all of their cultural touchstones vastly superior to what followed. Whatever the reason, the children's programming of the 1950s — Howdy Doody, Bozo the Clown, Captain Video, and the like — is still what many people think of when they think "kids show." A puppeteered or costumed ringleader, a series of corny recurring characters, a few cartoons, and a studio audience of cheering preteens. Think Krusty the Klown without the Percodan-addicted host.
In the late 1980s, decades after most [...]