Norma Goodman and
Theda Comstock

by Michael R Dougherty

Norma Goodman

Norma Goodman

They were our friends, whether you knew them or not.

Local television brought Norma Goodman and Theda Comstock came into our homes Monday through Friday to tell us what was happening in and around Anchorage, Alaska. They introduced us to interesting people, shared a recipe, and brought us the latest news and weather.

In those days, when you wanted to watch Anchorage TV, you had two choices. KTVA channel 11, or KENI channel 2 (now KTUU). Interestingly, in today's world of hundreds of stations to choose from, many of us agree that it certainly seemed like we had better TV choices when we only had channel 11 and channel 2.

Norma Goodman presided over a one-hour live show on KTVA channel 11 titled “Hostess House.” Her show was primarily an interview show where she talked to guests in a living room setting. Norma brought us regular Anchorage folks, the town's movers and shakers and celebrities who were in town for one reason or another.

From time-to-time, Norma also stood in front of her kitchen set and showed us cooking demonstrations. Most often the chefs she featured were from local restaurants.

And for many years, Norma anchored KTVA's evening newscast with Ron Moore.

Norma was a professional broadcaster and a pleasure to work with.

Theda Comstock was seen twice a day on KENI channel 2. First, during the daytime on a show called “The Woman's Touch” where guests shared recipes while standing behind a stove and counter in a kitchen setting. Then, during the evening news, Theda did the weather.

All the TV viewers in Anchorage thought that Theda had a special gift for writing backwards as she stood behind a glass with the outline of Alaska on it. Theda would write the temperatures around the state while giving us the latest weather as we marveled at her backwards writing skills.

But Theda wasn't writing backwards. The television illusion was achieved by simply flipping a switch that “reversed” the camera picture.

I worked at KENI-TV for a while and after her program began broadcasting in color, I had the honor of directing her show. Theda was a very talented lady and was easy to work with. If you'd like to know more about Anchorage's Theda Comstock, check out this link to her obituary.

While I worked at KENI-TV for a short time, I started my career in television at KTVA channel 11, where I became a camera operator on “Hostess House.” The very first time I worked on Norma's show, I was scared. Here I was, a 19-year-old kid fresh out of East Anchorage High School, and I was working on Norma Goodman's show. Like everyone else in town, I had been watching Norma for years – mostly when I was home sick, or on summer vacation. Norma was a big, Anchorage TV celebrity.

But Norma turned out to be easy to work with, and she was a total professional.

Some years later, I began directing Norma's show.

Most articles you read about Norma Goodman mention that the name of her show was changed from “Hostess House” to “The Norma Goodman Show.” That change came about when I became the Program Director for KTVA. One day, I sat down with Norma and told her that most people referred to her show as the “Norma Goodman Show”, so I wanted to change the show's title. Norma thought about it for a moment and said, “you're right, OK, let's change it.”

Again, while I was the Program Director, I brought up the idea of changing the KTVA news to “Eyewitness News.” That change included an entirely new set and matching yellow blazers for the entire Eyewitness News team, including Norma Goodman because she had also become a news anchor, along with Ron Moore.

As I wrote this post, it occurred to me that Norma Goodman and Theda Comstock were not only two special ladies that we enjoyed watching on Anchorage, Alaska television – but they really were our friends.

We invited Norma and Theda into our homes, and we felt like we knew them. Like our friends, we enjoyed having them come into our living rooms – even if they were on TV. And when they left us, it was very hard to say goodbye.

I can't imagine a time when we will ever see a Norma Goodman, or Theda Comstock on Anchorage television again. I suspect that Cindy Suryan, on KIMO channel 13, came closest. Not only that, but I think Cindy also knew both Norma and Theda.


Theda Comstock's full name was:

Theda Lee Elbrader Comstock.

Older Alaskans will remember that Theda was originally known as Theda Conley until she married KENI-TV news anchor Daryl Comstock.


Theda's theme song was “Toy Parade” by Burt Kaempfert. You can find it on YouTube.


Norma Goodman's grown children give you this behind-the-scenes look at “Alaska's First Lady of Television”.

Take a look at The Norma Goodman Story and remember.

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Theda Comstock

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I Remember
by: Jeff Colwell

I remember these ladies well.

There was also a lady who did arts and crafts for kids on Saturday afternoon, and she also played Mighty Mouse cartoons, I think.

A Note from Anchorage Memories

Jeff, your wonderful memories of your family and growing up in Anchorage, Alaska can be found here on Anchorage Memories.


Click on the following link and scroll down.

Take a look at Random Anchorage Memories and enjoy.

Mother’s Recipes
by: Roxie Besser-Ottley

I remember my mother, Irma Besser, watching the show
faithfully every day.

I still have all the recipes in notebooks that my mother hand wrote.

Theme Music?
by: Danny

I was a young boy, but remember very well my grandmother religiously watching both shows daily.

Again I was very young, but I remember being very fond of the theme music to one of them, not sure which one. Do you happen to know the names of the theme music?

A Note From Anchorage Memories


The Norma Goodman Show used a variety of music.

Theda Comstock's theme song was called "Toy Parade" and it was by Bert Kaempfert.


Click on the following link and scroll down.

Listen to Theda Comstock's "The Woman's Touch" theme song and remember when.

Tag Line
by: Anonymous

I remember both these women pretty well and was lucky enough to work with Norma Goodman (and you, Mike).

One of them would sign off by saying, "Hold a kind thought". I think it was Theda. Does anyone else remember that?

A Note from Mike of Anchorage Memories

Hello anonymous:

It was Theda who signed off her show The Women's Touch by saying "hold a kind thought".


She Asked About Ice Worms
by: Sarah E. Edwards

I was in second grade and was on the Norma Goodman show with my class, it was a Fur Rendezvous show.

Norma asking if anyone had ever seen ice worms. I raised my hands and everyone laughed. I told them I saw little black worms. Of course, it was a big joke and everyone laughed.

I am still convinced I saw ice worms. Ha ha!

It was a very big deal that we were actually on TV since there were only three stations at the time.

Fun times!

A Memory of Theda
by: Chuck

I came across this article when I googled Theda Comstock.

I did so because when our family was stationed at Elmendorf AFB from 1962 to 1966, my mother was a regular guest on "The Woman's Touch".

During our first year in Alaska we lived off base. Our neighbor happened to work for KENI TV. My Mom gave the neighbor a jello salad that had been a family favorite. Our neighbor asked if she could give the recipe to Theda, which Mom was more than happy to do.

Next thing I knew, Mom was asked to come on TV and do the recipe on Theda's show.

Theda loved my Mom and asked her to come back.

Mom would go on to appear with Theda once a month for several years thereafter. During summer holidays, Mom would bring me to the TV station and I got to watch all the behind the scenes action.

I became fascinated with the broadcast industry as a result.

Mom will soon be 95 years old. She is still with us, and those days in Alaska, the trips to the KENI TV studios, will always be fond memories.

A Note from Anchorage Memories


What a great story -

What is your mom's name? Did you go on to work in broadcasting?

Thank you for your informative comment.


Theda Comstock's Sign-Off
by: John Akin

I was very young when Theda Comstock was on the air, but I remember seeing her give the weather report in black and white (not sure if it was broadcast that way).

What stuck with me was her sign-off: "Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow. Weather-wise and otherwise."

She was a classy lady.

The Santa Claus Secret
by: Lee Bullington

When I was in second grade, around 1972, I remember watching TV when a lady mentioned there was no Santa Claus.

I'm not sure what I thought, but it stuck in my head.

Skip forward to the 1990s when I started working at KTVA and was being introduced to various people. Norma happened by, and I was introduced, "This is Norma Goodman", as I shook her hand, I said, "Oh, you're the lady who told me there was no Santa when I was really little." The look on Norma's face was priceless.

When I started to laugh, so did she.

My Inspiration
by: Dan Risch

After several years of trying to find information about Theda Comstock from time to time (I did not remember her name) I finally found this website, Anchorage

I was a kid in the 60s growing up in Anchorage and remember her well for writing the temperatures "backwards" on the state map.

This fascinated me as a child and I have always attributed this to sparking my interest in weather - which became my meteorological career.

I will be retiring shortly, and am pleased that I now remember her name and face. I was saddened to learn of her untimely death in 1998.

And was also surprised to read that she really didn't write backwards.

Thank you, Theda Comstock for inspiring me.

A Note from Anchorage Alaska Memories


We're very glad that you discovered our website, Anchorage, and we invite you to check out all the fun stories, pictures and videos about Anchorage Alaska memories that make this site so special.

Interesting that you became a meteorologist, in part, because of watching Theda Comstock's weather reports on KENI-TV channel 2 (now KTUU).

I worked with Theda and I can tell you that she would be happy to learn that you credit her, at least in part, with your career.

And as for the "writing backwards" thing. Well, as you read in the story, that was accomplished by simply flipping a reversal switch on the camera controls.

Thank you

Theda - Golden Hearted
by: Anonymous

My Father loved Theda, so she got stuck with me.

Over 30 years they cared for each other until Theda passed. As I write this, her art collection surrounds me. We spent a lot of time figuring exactly where each piece should go in her condo.

I was always amazed she took my suggestions since she was so specific about most things. I drew good cards when she came into our lives.

She was very kind to me.

A tireless advocate for those who needed help, Theda was Executive Director for non-profit groups that cared. American Lung Assn., Heart Assn., etc.

Sorely missed.

Thanks for remembering her.

Theda and the Weather
by: Anonymous

Theda was the most trusted person for Alaska weather.

She was like Walter Cronkite when it came to giving out the Anchorage Alaska forecast.

Everyone watched her.

Wonderful Ladies
by: Misty Frank Jaeger

I was very blessed to have known both of these Ladies when I was a very young girl.

Theda was always kind. I was around Norma more because my Mother worked as her Sign Language interpreter down in the lower right-hand side of the screen. Mom became very used to Norma's show.

Mother would substitute for Norma until getting her own show with KIMO channel 13 in the late 70s, Good Morning Alaska with Lois Blessington.

Those 3 Ladies sure had a good time together for being in competition. Norma and Mom stayed very close.

It was a fun time growing up with the television community.

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