WSAZ History | The Decades / 1950s
History Information | The Decades / 1950s

DJ Schroeder

One of the most popular items in WSAZ's early days was local information and weather. Dorothy Jeane "DJ" Schroeder was one of the first weather personalities. Augustiner Brewing Company was a big sponsor at the time.

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When WSAZ went on the air, the faces of Jule Huffman, D.J.Schroeder, and many others quickly became well known to viewers in the Tri-State area. However, there were a number of people behind the scenes who were also broadcast pioneers.

By the mid-1950s, the station had nearly 100 employees. Interestingly, this is close to the number of people employed today. The difference is in the duties. Then, the complex equipment required many people to handle the "technical" side of television, and most of the staff was employed in this area.

Today, with advances in technology and automation, far fewer people are utilized in direct production, and about half of the station's personnel are involved in some phase of the news operation.

Here is Pat Martin at the sound mixing board.

The station's film department: Charley Lockhart, Carl Fain and Gayle McCracken (in foreground, with back to camera).

The WSAZ-TV art department: Phillip Bennet Shaeffer, scenic artist; Shawkey Saba, artist; and Harold Black, printer.

Station artist Shawkey Saba was responsible for all of our art and graphics. He also had his own 15 minute program, Let's Doodle.

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DJ & Jule

Two of the most famous personalities in WSAZ-TV history are D.J. Schroeder and Jule Huffman. They both delivered the weather as well as performed on other programs like "Coffee Time."

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Howdy Doody

"The Howdy Doody Show" appeared daily on WSAZ and the NBC Network. Buffalo Bob Smith was the star with his friend, Howdy.

One of the first television shows for children, Buffalo Bob Smith and his puppet, Howdy Doody, were so popular that there became a huge waiting list for tickets to the show.

Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo) was the original Clarabell, the seltzer spraying clown. Followed by Edwin Alberian and then Lew Anderson. Clarabell never spoke. Except once. On the last show he said "Good-bye kids."

Chief Thunderthud (Bill LeCornec) and Princess Summerfall Winterspring (Judy Tyler) were much-loved characters in the town of Doodyville, U.S.A.; other characters were Phineas T. Bluster (the mayor), Dilly Dally, Trapper John and Flub-a-Dub.

The TV show went off the air in 1960 after 13 seasons and more than 2,500 shows.

Buffalo Bob Smith died in Hendersonville, North Carolina on July 29, 1998. He was 80 years old.

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Tickets to WSAZ's Saturday Night Jamboree were a hot item.

WSAZ's Saturday Night Jamboree first originated from the 14th Floor of the West Virginia Building. Dean Sturm (below, in the circle) was the host. Fritz Leichner was the director.

A poster inviting people to visit the show and meet the stars of Saturday Night Jamboree.

Saturday Night Jamboree was so big that people came from all across the region to see the show. This photograph, from the early '60s, shows people lined up in front of WSAZ's 9th Street studios.

The Jamboree also aired from Gallipolis. Hundreds of people travelled to see the show each week.

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Other Shows

Coffee Time
Coffee Time was a very popular local show hosted by Bud Dailey, and later by Dean Sturm.

Jule Huffman and Sue Chambers were the featured singers.

A sketch done "live" by Sue Chambers, Jule Huffman, and Dean Sturm on Coffee Time.

Twilight Time
Twilight Time, with Jule Huffman as vocalist, was another creation of director Fritz Leichner. The Brownie Benson combo also performed regularly.


Band Festival
The West Virginia marching band festival -- a Channel 3 event for 3 decades. The final telecast was in 1994.

Steamboat Bill
A promotional map of a mythical cruise of the boat "Television Queen" which was a part of Steamboat Bill. Maps were mailed to viewers encouraging them to watch Bill's journeys.

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WSAZ Production manager Ned Brooke tunes in the monitor in the station's lobby.

Farmer Bill Click brings the farm to the Channel 3 studios in downtown Huntington.

John Heiskell, Click's successor, brought the circus to the studio.

A WSAZ mascot makes a promotional appearance and draws a large group of young viewers.

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In 1954, WSAZ became the 12th television station in the country to have live local COLOR broadcasts.

Bud Rogers (left), Leroy Kilpatrick (center) and Walker Long with WSAZ's first COLOR camera.

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