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Smilin' Ed's Gang / Andy's Gang (children)

    [aka: "Smilin' Ed McConnell, and the Buster Brown Shoe Gang"]

    (NBC Saturdays, 1950 - 1951; as "Smilin' Ed's Gang";
     CBS Saturdays, 1951 - 1953; as "Smilin' Ed's Gang";
     ABC Saturdays, 1953 - 1955; as "Smilin' Ed's Gang";
     NBC Saturdays, 1955; as "Andy's Gang")

    [The St. Louis shoe company of Bryan, Brown & Company 
     changed its name to just "Brown Shoes" to be easier to
     remember; Then, in 1904 while attending the St. Louis
     World's Fair, a shoe executive met a cartoonist 
     who had created a popular newspaper comic strip known
     as "Buster Brown"; it featured a little boy in a 
     Dutch hat and sailor suit who had a dog named "Tige" 
     (short for "Tiger") and a sister named Mary Jane;

     Brown Shoes purchased the rights to the "Buster Brown" 
     name in order to promote their line of shoes for children;
     Between 1904 and 1930 a touring company of midgets were
     sent on public appearances in the role of Buster Brown
     wearing the Dutch hat accompanied by dogs named "Tige"...

     Then in 1943 Buster Brown Shoes creating a children's
     radio show called "Smilin' Ed McConnell and the Buster 
     Brown Shoe Gang"; Ed McConnell was an overweight man
     who had been a children's radio host since the 1920s;
     the name "gang" had an innocent connotation in those 
     days...such as the "Our Gang Comedies" demonstrated;
     the radio show became very popular;

     A few new characters were added -- a puppet cat named
    "Midnight" who purred "Ni-i-i-ce"...for anything, often
     at inappropriate moments...and "Squeekie, the Mouse";

     But the sensational evil puppet character named "Froggie,
     the Gremlin" who appeared to the sound of an amplified
     musical saw (called "a magic twanger") was the star
     of the show; His appearances were eagerly anticipated, 
     and accompanied by squeals of glee from the audience;

     He always created mischief by interrupting a story told
     deadpan by the host to the audience of children; Froggie's
     jibes would always send the thread of the story in an
     unwanted direction and fluster the host; this always
     created great hilarity in the young audience...Ultimately
     the puppet Froggie would be sent packing and disappear in 
     a puff of smoke;

     In 1950, Smilin' Ed brought the radio show to television
     on the NBC network, first as an evening show and then
     in the mornings...early episodes were filmed in front of
     a live audience, and then as Smilin' Ed's health began
     to fail, audience reaction shots from earlier shows were
     intercut with the studio sequences...

     The TV series also included a low-budget jungle boy serial
     which included stock jungle footage and a few custom scenes
     shot on a location trip; the jungle boy Gunga Ram was played
     by a handsome young USC college student named Nino Marcel,
     who looked good in a leotard and dark tan makeup;

     In 1955 Smilin' Ed died of a heart attack; his replacement
     was another overweight character actor named Andy Devine,
     who had played a sidekick named "Jingles" on the western
     series "Wild Bill Hickock"; at that time, the name of
     the series changed to "Andy's Gang" but included all the
     old elements...For some reason the chemistry wasn't the
     same and the show lasted less than one more season;

     The Brown Shoe company is still in business, having played
     with changing it's name to the "Brown Group" and flirted
     with owning department stores, it reverted to "Brown Shoes"
     and sold off its non-shoe businesses; it is listed on the 
     New York Stock Exchange; and sells brands of shoes under
     under the names "Naturalizer", "Connie" and "Life Stride";
     they also own a few shoe stores under the "Famous Footwear"
     name, and the Dr. Scholls foot product line]


Theme 1: "The Happy Gang"

    [this was a Buster Brown shoe jingle sung to the tune of
    "Mademoiselle From Amentières" (also known in the U.S. as
    "Hinky-Dinky Parlez Vous")]

     Composer: [traditional folk tune]

     1978 Publishers: [in the public domain]
     2001 Publishers: [in the public domain]

     Copyright Date:
     Renewal   Date:

     Recordings:


Theme 2: "I Gotta Gang"

    [this was a Buster Brown shoe jingle, sung to the tune of
    "I Got Shoes"]

     Composer: [traditional Negro Spiritual]

     1978 Publishers: [in the public domain]
     2001 Publishers: [in the public domain]

     Copyright Date:
     Renewal   Date:

     Recordings:


Theme 3: "Buster Brown Shoes"

    [this was a Buster Brown shoe jingle, sung to the tune of
    "I Got Shoes"]

     Composer: [traditional Negro Spiritual]

     1978 Publishers: [in the public domain]
     2001 Publishers: [in the public domain]

     Copyright Date:
     Renewal   Date:

     Recordings:














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