Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Captain Penny

By far the greatest Cleveland children's television star was Captain Penny, whose program (sponsored by Bosco chocolate syrup) debuted on WEWS in 1954. Through the years the Captain (performed by Ronald A. Penfound) presented Three Stooges, Little Rascals and Rocky & Bulwinkle shorts, and was assisted by a corral of supporting characters, including Jungle Larry & Safari Jane, as well as station agent Wilbur Whiffenpoof (program director Earl Keyes) and the heard but never seen Mister Nickelsworth.

Captain Penny ended every program saying, "You can fool some of the people some of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool Mom." He also made sure to remind kids, following any Stooges short, to "not try this at home."

This is all before my time. I know of Jungle Larry from a set of View Master reels and postcards that still remains stashed away at my folks house. However, I was touched to learn about the Pooch Parade, which featured animals from the APL that were available for adoption. What a good idea!

During the 1956 holiday season, Earl Keyes would portray a new character on the Penny program, Mr. Jingeling. But more on him later.

The show lasted until 1972. Ron Penfound, a chronic smoker, died of lung cancer in 1974.

Hi There, Boys and Girls: America's Local Children's TV Shows (Hollis Tim)
TV Acres.com
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History


  1. I would love it if someone in Cleveland could talk WEWS into releasing the Captain Penny program from the early 60's on DVD. Surely there must be some of the programs kept by the station. I live heavily in the past, and would love to see at least some of the programs, preferably at Christmas time, so we can watch the original Mr. Jingeling, Max Ellis. Thanks so much for this nice write up about Captain Penny.

  2. Can anyone remember the string puppets that played the piano and danced on captain penny show they were scary