For years growing up, I heard from my parents about how magnificent television was for children in the Fifties. And now I have proof they exaggerate. With 22 individual shows on four DVDs, Shout! Factory's "Hiya, Kids!!" replicates a typical Saturday morning of yesteryear.
"Ding Dong School" is excruciating, with a matronly type talking to the camera, teaching those at home how to make soap bubbles, while "Super Circus" attempts to entertain a peanut gallery with vaudevillian tumblers and clowns.
But other shows demonstrate curious charm. "Flash Gordon" and "Captain Z-Ro" have primitive effects, but also imagination; "Sheena, Queen of the Jungle" does them one better in the adventure department.
"Winky Dink and You" is interesting from a standpoint of early animation, if not execution, while "Juvenile Jury" is an Art Linkletter-esque venture with tots providing advice, often funny. Other shows include "Howdy Doody," "Sky King," "Lassie" and "Kukla, Fran and Ollie"; the sponsor's commercials are equally entertaining (and sometimes more).
Shout! Factory's done a great job with this archival release, providing a handy 12-page booklet discussing each program.