Thursday, February 26, 2009

RIP Queen Do-Bee

A couple of days ago I heard that another Canadian icon had died.

Ann Wilson.

The name will most likely not ring a bell unless you're Canadian.


Specifically, a Maritime Canadian.

Even then, it may not be familiar, because she wasn't well known by her full name. To many maritime children, she was known only as "Miss Ann", the Romper Room Lady.



Ann Wilson was the much loved host of Canada's Romper Room (filmed first in Halifax, NS then Saint John NB) in the 60's and 70's.

* Not to be confused with another Canadian Romper Room host, Fran Pappert *

It was also franchised and syndicated in the United States, as well as in Australia, Japan, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom.

The show consisted of a half hour of games, exercises, songs and moral lessons, all to various background music.

Pre-schoolers were part of the daily 'cast' and would be invited from kindergartens in the area to attend the tapings.

According to the Ex, apparently, my brother-in-law was even on the show waaaay back when it was filmed in Halifax :-)


Romper Room

Pic courtesy of tvparty.com






as well as ...

Mr Dressup (with Casey and Finnegan)



Pic courtesy of Wikipedia




and



The Friendly Giant (with Rusty and Jerome)


Pic courtesy of CBC.ca









(Be sure to catch the closing of the show at 3:10)

were my first introductions to 'Children's Programming'.

Miss Ann was awesome.

She had a GIANT bee flitting around the set.

Do-Bee
. The ultimate Do-Gooder.

And she and Do-Bee would teach 'proper and polite' behaviour, encouraging all her tiny viewers to be good 'Do-Bees'.





Pic courtesy of captainerniesshowboat.com

(Not Ms Ann)



And of course, at that young, impressionable age, EVERYONE wanted to be a Do-Bee! The best Do-Bee they could be!

Paddington Bear was also a favourite regular on the show.

Man I loved that bear! So much so, I asked my mom & dad for one. JUST like the one on Romper Room.

I still have that Paddington Bear :-)




And of course, I had the Romper Room record ;-)


Pic courtesy of flickr



The day I heard about her passing, I told the boys about the Romper Room show, and how at the end of each episode, Miss Ann would grab her 'Magic Mirror', look through it, out into TV-Land and rhyme off all the kids, by name, that she would see in that mirror.



Pic courtesy of irememberjfk.com





How many days did I wait for her to say "... and I see Kim, and ..."

Do you have any idea how long I waited to hear my name on that show?!?!

And then, finally, it was like I'd just won the lottery.

"She said MY name!! She said MY name!!! She said MY name!!!"

And how many of my mother's mirrors did I go through, looking for that 'magic' one.

And ya know, it's amazing what useless information the human brain can retain.

While explaining to the boys the premise of the show, and how it had been such a big part of my childhood TV viewing experience, I closed my eyes, went back in time and said to them (WITHOUT googling it first! LOL) ...



Romper Bomper Stomper Boo.
Tell Me Tell Me Tell Me Do
Magic Mirror Tell Me Today
Did All My Friends Have Fun At Play?

I see Jane, and Mike, and Sally, and John ...

Wow!!! I can't remember what I had for lunch three days ago, but that little verse is still buried back in the brain!

Go figure.

I'm thinking it had something to do with the way the magic mirror turned all psychedelic purple swirly-ish while we were watching. Waiting for our names.


Now, everyone, do it with me ....

Bend and stretch. Reach for the stars, there goes Jupiter, here comes Mars.
Bend and stretch. Reach for the sky, stand on tippy toe, oh so high!

RIP Queen Do-Bee.

You won't be forgotten by all the Do-Bees you touched with your Magic Mirror.


K.

5 comments:

Bonnie S. said...

Ahhh memories. Romper Room was my favourite. When you first said that Ann Wilson died, I thought of the lead singer for HEART although I'm pretty sure she's not Canadian. I also loved Mr. Dressup and the Friendly Giant. Great shows. Classics. They don't have great kid shows like that anymore. Thanks for the post.

Kim's Korner said...

You're very welcome Bon :-) I enjoyed going down memory lane for a couple of nights while writing it :-D

And you're right, I thought of the Heart singer also when I heard the name, and debated mentioning it in the post, but decided not to.

Least it kept you guessing 'till you hit 'romper room' LOL

Bonnie S. said...

Funny how now that we are adults, Do-bee takes on a whole new meaning! LOL

Kim's Korner said...

LMAO!!! True! If Miss Ann had been referring to THOSE doobie's ... I'm sure she would have lost her job LONG ago ...

Then again ... how do you think all the 'Miss Ann's' put up with all those KIDS over the years?!?!? ;-p

Tsuana said...

I used to watch the show in the 80's but none of my friends remembers it. My mother was one of the do-bees in the early 60's in the east coast. I'm trying to find her name on a list or a photo but it seems impossible :( too bad.