Curiosity Shop (partially found children's educational television series; 1971-1973)
Curiosity Shop was an educational television show produced for children that was created by famous Warner Bros. animator and director, Chuck Jones. It was aired on ABC. It was sponsored by the Kellogg's cereal company, and had many similarities to Public Broadcasting Service's Sesame Street, including live-action segments that included puppets, and animated segments. One segment even involved dolls.
The series was conceived when Chuck Jones left Metro-Goldwin-Mayer after the studio shut down its animation department, in 1970. Longtime collaborators of Jones were brought in to work on the series, such as voice actors Mel Blanc and June Foray, producer Abe Levitow and composer Dean Elliott. Other key staff members include voice actors Don Messick and Bob Holt, animaton director George Pal, and composer Henry Mancini of The Pink Panther fame, who composed the opening credits music for Curiosity Shop. Prominent actors include Barbara Minkus and child actress Pamelyn Ferdin, who voiced the Peanuts character Lucy van Pelt between 1969 and 1971. And Jerelyn "Jere" Fields who is a clinician and former voice actress.
The program starred two boys and one girl, who went down to the titular Curiosity Shop. It was populated with puppets and cool gadgets. The children would learn various educational subjects, like nature, science, and history.
There are two animated characters in Curiosity Shop. The first was named "Professor S.I. Trivia", a literal bookworm, who would be there to give the definition to a word the children don't know. The second one went by the name of "Monsieur Cou Cou", a bird with a French accent and his catchphrase was "That's right!". He attempted to eat Professor Trivia on a regular basis, but the professor would always get out of the way just in time, and Monsieur would accidentally get his beak stuck in a book.
Many famous/not-so-famous artists or animators would make contributions to the series, such as Irving Philips (creator of The Strange World of Mr. Mum), Johnny Hart (creator of The Wizard of Id), and Hank Ketcham (creator of Dennis the Menace). Henry Mancini composed the theme song for the show.
Some of the puppet characters included Flip, an orange hippo with gigantic shoes and a jive-talking voice, and Baron Balthazar, a small bearded little man who would tell stories about his antics in his homeland in Downtown Bosnia. He was based on his character in a 1967 Yugoslavian animated series titled Professor Balthazar. All of the puppets were created by Bob Baker.
The show ran from 1971 to 1973 and began with an episode titled "The Curiosity Shop Special" on September 2nd, 1971, and every episode ran at an hour's length. Most of the series is unaccounted for, and even "The Curiosity Shop Special" doesn't seem to survive in its entirety, only surviving partially on a channel surfing video uploaded to YouTube in 2018, that starts about 19 minutes into the video and ends about 37 minutes into it. Due to ABC's wiping practices in the 1950s-1970s, it is unlikely more of the show will surface. What makes it even more unlikely is that the show ran before home recording machines like the VCR existed. Short clips of the show do exist, such as the intro and the aforementioned doll segment, but other than that, not much else of the show has surfaced.
As of August 2019, the channel surfing video has been removed, leaving "The Curiosity Shop Special" lost, and scattered clips and the intro being the only clips of the show on the internet left. Eventually on 17 Jun 2021, the channel surfing video with "The Curiosity Shop Special" (which appears at the 11:51 timemark) re-appeared on YouTube.
A fan page of the series on Facebook uploads and shares surviving clips, some of which come from Pamelyn Ferdin's own Facebook page.
- IMDb page for the series., Retrieved 15 Mar '19;
- The Curiosity Shop Facebook fan page, Retrieced 28 Dec '19;
- An article on Irving Philips' death that mentions his contributions to Curiosity Shop. Retrieved 15 Mar '19
- A page on Curiosity Shop. Retrieved 15 Mar '19