Friday, September 16, 2005

Blast From The Past

Hey! Look who’s leading the world’s largest chicken dance this year at Cincinnati’s Oktoberfest! It’s Uncle Al and Captain Windy. Story

ZINZINNATI (Aug. 25, 2005) — Uncle Al and Captain Windy, stars of the longest-running children’s show in television history — 1950 to 1985 — will lead the World’s Largest Chicken Dance and Hokey Pokey at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17, at the 30th annual Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati, North America’s largest authentic Oktoberfest.

Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken honored Al and Wanda Lewis of Hillsboro today at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse by proclaiming Aug. 25, 2005, as "Uncle Al and Captain Windy Day in Cincinnati" and presented them with a key to the city. The proclamation read in part: "Whereas, Uncle Al’s bow tie and straw hat, and Captain Windy’s cape, will forever be cherished in Cincinnati as icons of a golden era of television and of the very best in American family values."

Al and Wanda first met in a drawing class at the Cleveland School of Art in 1945. In 1949 Al joined WCPO-TV, then a fledgling television station in Cincinnati, and in July of that year Al and Wanda were married. From 1957 to 1958, The Uncle Al Show was broadcast nationally on ABC on Saturday mornings on 130 stations coast to coast Uncle Al and Captain Windy recently were inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for having the longest running children’s show in the United States. And acclaimed movie star Johnny Depp cited Uncle Al as an inspiration for his role in the recent children’s blockbuster, "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory."

Uncle Al and Captain Windy will lead the World’s Largest Chicken Dance and Hokey Pokey from the main Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati entertainment stage between Broadway and Sentinel on Fifth Street — near Procter & Gamble at the eastern edge of the event. Fountain Square reconstruction has shifted the entertainment focus of this year's Oktoberfest to the eastern edge of Downtown. Their appearance is set for 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17.

I was on the Uncle Al television show when I was a kid. But then, everybody was on the Uncle Al show when they were a kid. I remember telling my teacher and she said, “So what…I was on when I was a kid, too!”

Here’s an interesting story. One of my college roommates mentioned that he was on the Uncle Al show as a child. We both shared the sentiment that everybody we knew had been on the show. He got a picture of the even the day he was there and, lo and behold, it was the exact same day I was on the show. I knew, because I was in the picture as well.

I guess Walt Disney was right. It really is a small world after all


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