Romper Room Memories

by Michael R Dougherty

Photo Courtesy of Monica Hall (girl on the left)

Photo Courtesy of Monica Hall (girl on the left)

"Romper stomper, bomper, boo, tell me, tell me, tell me do. Magic Mirror, tell me today, did all my friends have fun at play?”

Those words were spoken weekday mornings on KTVA channel 11 in Anchorage, Alaska at the end of every live broadcast of Romper Room by the show's hostess… And Anchorage children loved it.

Romper Room Video

The following was from a live KTVA channel 11 broadcast of Romper Room, circa 1966. The teacher is Nielia LeSchell.

This is thought to be the only existing footage of the Anchorage Romper Room show.

Over the years, Romper Room Hostesses included Carol Larson, Carolyn Guess and Nielia LeSchell. The children always called them “Miss Carol, Miss Carolyn and Miss Nielia.”

The program was for children 5 years of age and under, and they loved it. Of course, so did their moms because for 1 hour every morning, their children were watching the show and playing right along with the hostess and the children who joined her on the show that week.

My Romper Room memories are not those of a child who was on the show, but of a television crew member at KTVA where the show was broadcast live.

The show's theme song was the classic nursery rhyme, “Pop Goes the Weasel” and if you remember the show, the camera would focus on a Jack-in-the-Box that would “pop up” right when the song went “pop goes the weasel.”

The children who came down to be on the show were always cute and loved all the activities. From playing with the toys and games, to drawing and scooting around on the floor in their cardboard box cars.

If you watched the show, or were on the show, one of the characters you'll remember was an oversized bumblebee known as “Mr. Do-Bee.” Children were told, “don't be a “don't-Bee”, but always “do-Bee” good boys and girls for your parents.

Occasionally, the children in the studio would have to be reminded to be “Do-Bees” when they would get rowdy, or upset with each other. And once in a while, a mom would have to come into the studio on live TV to “remove their child” from the set to calm them down.

About half-way through each show, the hostess would serve the children milk and cookies.

On Monday morning, a supply of milk and cookies was brought into the studio and placed in the refrigerator on Norma Goodman's kitchen set. These were, of course, for the children on Romper Room.

But the television studios were located in the Broadcast Center, which also included the radio studios of KNIK and KBYR, and the radio announcers would sometimes get hungry, and come in and help themselves to the cookie and milk supply.

This practice would sometimes result in a cookies and “water” break for the Romper Room children. For the record, the taking of Romper Room cookies and milk was more than frowned on at the studio. But hungry announcers were difficult to tame.

There was a lot of music used on Romper Room. There were songs for every game and activity. The music was all on a series of records. During the show, we had a script and a music play list, and we would cue up the record and wait for those famous words – “please Mr. Music, are you ready?” At that moment, the song would begin.

But sometimes, live TV doesn't go the way it is supposed to. And there were times when we didn't have the music ready when called for. So, the show hostess would say something like, “well, I don't think Mr. Music is ready right now, so let's go ahead and start our game and hopefully Mr. Music will catch up with us.”

At the end of each show, it was time for the “Magic Mirror.”

The show hostess would take a hand mirror out of her desk. The back of the mirror was all sparkly. The hostess would say “Romper, stomper, bomper boo, tell me, tell me, tell me today, did all my friends have fun at play?”

Right after the hostess started saying “romper, stomper, bomper boo” we would go to a film clip of a kaleidoscope. While we were on the film, the hostess would put the hand mirror back in her desk, and then take out another hand mirror that was specially made and had no mirror, just a space to look through.

We would then come back live to the studio camera as the hostess looked through the mirror and said, “Oh, I can see all my friends in television land. I see Mary and Sammy and Joan and Bobby and Sybil,”

One morning, the hostess put the first mirror away and brought out the specially made mirror. As she did, a little boy sitting next to her was picked up on her microphone as he said, “Oh, I saw what you did with the mirror. You have two of them.” After the show, we all had a good laugh over what the boy had said.

The Romper Room show was always a lot of fun for the TV crew. The kids were great, and they had so much fun.

When the show was discontinued, we all hated seeing the set being taken down and all the props removed from the studio. And I think the radio announcers missed the cookies and milk.

I worked in Hollywood in the 1970s at a station that also produced Romper Room. I was assigned to the show as a camera operator. When the hostess came into the studio before the show went live, she saw me and came over to speak with me.

“I see we have a new crew member. Have you ever seen Romper Room before?” I proudly answered by saying “I've done the Romper Room TV show in Anchorage, Alaska, I'm a card-carrying Do-Bee.”

The lady looked at me, smiled and said, “it's always nice to meet a Romper Room Do-Bee.”

A Note from Anchorage Alaska Memories

Romper Room was broadcast live from KTVA, Channel 11's first-floor studio in the McKinley building in downtown Anchorage. Following the 1964 Great Alaskan Earthquake, the show relocated to the KTVA studio in Spenard. There are no videotapes of the program.

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Romper Room Memories

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Romper Room and Mother Moose
by: Amber B.

I was fortunate enough to have been at the age and living in Anchorage when I got to be on both Romper Room and the Mother Moose show.

I think Romper Room was when we first moved up to Anchorage in 1970, and the Mother Moose Show was 1972 and for a couple of years after that as a repeat guest.

Question Everything!
by: Cindy Hendricks

My mother worked for KENI-TV channel 2 throughout the 60s and I spent a great deal of time in the Midnight Sun Broadcasting studios located beneath the 4th Avenue Theater.

I always assumed my fuzzy and distant Romper Room memory occurred in those studios but after reading all these posted memories it appears it occurred in the Channel 11 studios.

So, Mom manages to get me in as one of the kids on the show one day. I was so excited!

I loved everything about that show, most especially the Magic Mirror bit. My entire world view shifted that day when I saw Miss Carol nonchalantly set the swirly mirror down and pick up the empty mirror and continue on as if nothing happened.

That was apparently the day I became a 60s radical. If grownups can lie about the Magic Mirror, what other lies have they been feeding me?

All I know is 6 is far too young an age to become jaded and cynical.

I was a Do-Bee
by: Anonymous

I was on Romper Room with Miss Carolyn.

I think I came on as a last minute substitute because my mother was friends with Miss Carolyn.

Also, I remember dancing around in a circle holding hands, but I too was definitely distracted by the behind the scenes' production.

Later, I went on to a 15-year career in TV production at KTVA and KAKM and freelance.

Romper Room History
by: Anonymous

Which years did it air?

A Note from Anchorage Memories

Great question.

Romper Room, produced nationally by Bert Claster and his wife Nancy, ran across the country from 1953 to around 1981.

So, while we are not sure when the show began in Anchorage, it did run until about 1981.

The show targeted preschoolers (five years of age or younger).

In some cities, children were on the waiting list for years before being on the show.

At one time, Romper Room was seen all over the United States, plus Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Finland, New Zealand and Australia.

In 1981 there was a major change in the show's format. The name of the show was changed to Romper Room and Friends" and local hosts were no longer used.

Thank you

Mike & Mary

Anchorage Memories

The Romper Room Basket Song
by: Stephanie Moseley

Watch me walk so straight and tall.

I won’t let my basket fall.

Eyes ahead, don’t look down.

Keep that basket off the ground!

My Romper Room Boot Picture
by: Daniel Herring

I must have been 3 or 4 when I, or rather my mother, sent in a picture to Miss Carolyn, and she held it up for the camera, saying "Here's a picture of a boot that Danny sent us, isn't it nice".

Yeah, I drew a crayon picture of a lopsided, goofy looking winter boot. But I was so excited that she showed it on TV, I felt like a famous artist for a little while.

Thanks for the memories.

We Were on Romper Room
by: Jay Bigornia

Both my brother and I were guests on Romper Room, but were participants at different times.

The program host was Miss Nielia, and I was fascinated by the work of the cameramen and the staff.

So much so, that I was very distracted by the activity around me and distracting to the point where didn't participate in the children's activities.

My parents ended up having to come pick me up from the studio. They weren't very happy about it, and they reminded me frequently.

Despite the disastrous experience, I somehow managed to get a good "Doo-Bee" iron on patch and a hug from Miss Nielia.

A Note from Anchorage Memories


Since I worked on Romper Room with Miss Neilia (who was, by the way, a very nice lady) I can well understand how you could be fascinated by what was going on behind the scenes.

People walking around, cameras moving around, a microphone boom suspended over your heads - and more. Not a natural setting for a child trying to play and be with a group.

Thank you for posting your Anchorage Romper Room experience.

Romper Room Memories
by: Anonymous

I would always sit right in front of the TV hoping to be seen (through the Magic Mirror).

Never happened! LOL

My Romper Room Memory
by: Anonymous

I would always hide behind the TV, so the magic mirror couldn't see me -

But my Mom sent in my name, and I was shocked when I heard it on the show - that mirror was really magic!

Thank You
by: Monica Hall

Thank you for all the memories.

I remembered just bits and pieces of my time there, but your details jogged my memories.

I'm in the picture and remember when it was taken. The other kids on the right are Jody and her brother. Was that Miss Carol in the pic with us?

A Note From Mike

Thank you for commenting Monica -

I'm glad that what I wrote about Anchorage's version of Romper Room brought back good memories for you.

Not sure if the hostess in the picture was Miss Carol or not. I think I worked with Miss Carol, but for sure I worked with and Miss Carolyn. I also worked with Miss Nielia for a long time.

Great memories

Thank you


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