first time I saw Burr Tillstrom in person was on a Saturday early
in 1948 when the Kuklapolitans were making a personal appearance
at the Lyon and Healey music store in Evanston, Illinois. I was
seven years old at the time.
last time I saw Burr Tillstrom in person was on a Saturday early
in 1980 when the Kuklapolitans were taping their "Crisis
at the Egg Plant" Easter special in studio A in the Merchandise
Mart. My son Nicholas was seven years old at the time.
Burr had not had a regularly-scheduled television program for
roughly a twenty five years, his periodic specials were religiously
watched in our home. My son was just as enchanted by the Kuklapolitans
as I had been a generation earlier.
I therefore took Nick to work that Saturday so he could see his
television friends in the flesh (unfortunately, Fran Allison was
ill at the time and did not appear in "Crisis at the Egg
Plant"). During the lunch break (held in studio Q, a smaller
studio, originally designated studio
B, adjacent to studio
A), we sat at Burr's table with Monte Newman, vice-president
and general manager of WMAQ-TV. Monte had brought a still camera
with him---it sat on the tavle as we were eating.
When lunch was completed, Burr turned to Nick and asked, "How
would you like to have your picture taken with Kukla and Ollie?
Meet us in studio A. We'll be right there."
Nick, Monte (with his camera) and I rushed across the hall to
the "Crisis at the Egg Plant" set. Moments later, Burr,
Kukla and Ollie arrived. And Monte shot the photo you see above.
years later, following Burr's death, I had occasion to interview
Fran Allison. I showed her the photograph. She autographed it
on the back.
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