The Kids Shows of Channel 7

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

This week we’re looking at some of the great kids shows we grew up with in Buffalo, and two great ones from Channel 7.

Rocketship 7

When Dave Thomas wasn’t hosting Dialing for Dollars with Nolan Johannes and Liz Dribben, he was palling around with Promo The Robot and Mr. Beeper.
Rocketship 7 was a must watch for many Buffalo kids through the 60s and 70s, before Dave Thomas blasted off for a new job in Philadelphia in 1978.

Dave Thomas and Promo the Robot on Rocketship 7

And Dave Thomas wasn’t the only Dialing for Dollars connection to Rocketship 7. It was relatively easy for Dave to change from his Rocketship 7 jumpsuit into his “count and amount” clothes, but it was a little more difficult for another cast member on both shows.

Dave Thomas, Banaszak, Nolan Johannes and Jimmy Edwin on Dialing For Dollars.

Johnny and Jimmy were the house band on Dialing for Dollars, and Johnny Banaszak had a quick change between his back-to-back gigs, too. He quickly had to shed the Promo the Robot suit and grab his accordion. He was not only the man inside the suit, but also the voice of Promo as well.

Commander Tom

Another salubrious kids show on Channel 7 starred All-American weatherman Tom Jolls as Commander Tom– who took to TV wearing the bright red jacket of a Canadian Mountie.

Commander Tom, Dust Mop, and the rest of the crew on the Commander Tom Show,.

He performed with his puppet pals which early on, were mostly made from his kids’ old stuffed animals.

Some of those puppets, which the Commander voiced himself, included Matty the Mod, a young and energetic, though not too bright alligator; Cecily Fripple, a sensitive and gentle thing of questionable age who tries to recapture her glorious past; and last but not least, Dustmop, the faithful watchdog of Central Command, who is spite of his old age and failing eyesight, is the brave protectorate of the entire cast.

 

Out of the Past: Hoeber’s Foodland, Armor

       By Steve Cichon
       steve@buffalostories.com
       @stevebuffalo

At least two generations of Hoebers served Armor as grocers.

Donald Hoeber can’t believe how many groceries Mrs. Courier was able to get into her basket during a shopping spree she won as a part of the Hoeber’s Foodland grand opening in 1969.

Joseph Hoeber opened a food store next to the Armor Inn in 1944. His son Donald took over the business in 1962, moving Hoeber’s Foodland to a new larger space on Armor Duells Rd. in 1969.

A staff of 35 operated the 7,400 sq. ft. store which was described as “brilliantly lighted with wide aisles and easy to reach grocery and produce shelves” in The Sun when it opened.

WKBW-TV personality Tom Jolls, in his full Commander Tom regalia, was at Hoeber’s signing autographs as a part of grand opening festivities.

Later known as “The Armor Supermarket,” the building was destroyed in an arson blaze in 1987.