Kid Connection Interview

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of being a guest on Kid Connection, a new radio program devoted to Central Coast children and their families. The show is broadcast over KVEC every Sunday morning from 9:30-10:00. It is hosted by Caity McCardell, who besides being the mother of two children, is also a radio host of the first magnitude. I have been interviewed many times but this session with Caity marked the first occasion I have been so comfortable in a Q&A situation. She had, as they say in the trade, “done her homework,” and done it thoroughly. Her observations on “Fire Truck!” and “Strolling in My Stroller” were clear and intelligent. I had no choice but to respond the same way. Thank you, Caity McCardell, for conducting an interview that felt more like a play date.


Caity & Ivan

Caity & Ivan in the studio at KVEC

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Preparing the Record Boxes

Thanks in part to format changes at our local flagship station (KYNS 1340 San Luis Obispo), Treasure Ivan will air a rebroadcast this weekend. You can still tune in Saturday & Sunday at 7 am — even if you’re not on the central coast, you can stream KYNS online.

In the meantime…we’ve been preparing to rehouse and catalog the Treasure Ivan Treasure Trove. At the center of the collection are hundreds of hand-picked 78 rpm children’s records from the first half of the 20th century, collected by Ivan over his lifetime of musical appreciation.

Record box being sealed

Any storage solution needs to be a compromise between conservation and access, since the collection is still in active use for Ivan’s weekly broadcasts. After researching the options, we settled on wooden crates housed in metal shelving. Because wood is a volatile material, it leaks chemicals (off-gassing) which can harm delicate materials — like vintage paper record sleeves. To reduce this problem, we will seal the wood with water-based polyurethane. In addition, each record will be wrapped in a poly sleeve, and packaged along with its original paper sleeve in a second, sealed poly bag.

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Show 59: Howdy Doody Redux

“Oh, that Clarabell! You never know where he’s going to hide his rolling papers!”

Buffalo Bob Smith

Buffalo Bob Smith

So begins the next Treasure Ivan Show when Buffalo Bob reunites with the Peanut Gallery to give a behind-the-scenes look at the Howdy Doody Show. The kids are all grown up now (20-somethings) and they gather at Fillmore East in 1971 to hear this incredible hour-long tribute to the earlier days of television.

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Show 58: Going to the Moon

This program is mostly about space ships and rocket travel as perceived before the moon landing of 1969. The songs we selected are from the 1960’s but the story records are all tied to the 1950’s. There is a definite difference in space awareness in those two decades. Listen for yourself.

Mr. Moonlight
The Beatles

Everybody Gets to Go to the Moon
Thelma Houston

By Rocket to the Moon

By Rocket to the Moon

By Rocket to the Moon
Ray Camargo; story by Jay Williams Music by Raymond Scott

This was the first science record released by Young Peoples Records, in 1951. It was described as “an exciting musical presentation of many of the important facts of elementary astronomy…but most of all the record is good fun.” It was also the favorite childhood record of Barry Hansen, who grew up to be the zany musicologist Dr. Demento.

Foodini's Trip to the Moon

Foodini’s Trip to the Moon

Foodini’s Trip to the Moon
Bunin Puppets

Foodini was a puppet character from the earliest day of television. Before there was Howdy Doody, Rootie Kazootie, or Kukla, Fran and Ollie, the endearingly arrogant Foodini and his pal Pinhead entertained children until more well organized shows came along.

Mister Spaceman
Holy Modal Rounders

Tom & Jerry’s Rocket to the Moon

In the 1950’s, MGM Records adapted the cartoon adventures of their famous cat and mouse duo and created a series of 6 phonograph records for children. They sold lots of records and provided hours of imagination stimulus for countless girls and boys.

Mister Spaceman
The Byrds

Buzz Corry Becomes Commander-In-Chief

Buzz Corry Becomes Commander-In-Chief

Buzz Corry Becomes Commander-In-Chief
created by Mike Moser

I don’t know if any addition Space Patrol records were ever released, but Space Patrol was a staple of children’s television and radio during the early 1950’s. It inspired countless hours of dramatic play for me and my neighborhood pals. This was decades before big budget productions like “Star Trek” and “Star Wars.”

Harry Nillison

Urban Spaceman
Bonzo Dog Band

That’s Amore
Dean Martin

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Show 57: Assorted Treasures

This week’s show is a random bunch of treasures from the Treasure Ivan Treasure chest. One of them  — Tom and Jerry and the Fire Engine — was all I wanted for Christmas when I was 7 years old.

Hand Jive
J.C. Burris

J.C. Burris, Blues Professor

J.C. Burris, Blues Professor

Hotcha Cornia
Spike Jones

Tom and Jerry and the Fire Engine

This is my favorite of the several Tom and Jerry records released by MGM records in the early 1950’s. There are no credits as to the people who created this series, but the records retain all the excitement of the famous cat-and-mouse cartoons.

Fire Truck!
Andy Morse

Margaret O'Brien

Margaret O’Brien

The 3 Billy Goats Gruff
Margaret O’ Brien

Margaret O’ Brien was a very popular young movie star during the 1940’s. She was featured in “Jane Eyre,” “Little Women,” and co-starred with Judy Garland in “Meet Me In St. Louis.” She received an Academy Award for Outstanding Child Actress of 1944 and still appears in films and television.

Kansas City Star
Roger Miller

Frank Luther

Frank Luther

The Little Red Hen
Frank Luther

Frank Luther tells this well known tale for children and has some very catchy songs to go along with it. Cak-cak-cak-ca-dak-et is the sound of the little red hen as she does her chores without any help from others.

Chisholm Trail
Will Geer and Tom Glazer

This recording was released by Young Peoples Records in the 1950’s. Will Geer (Grandpa on “The Waltons”) tells the story and Tom Glazer (“On top of Spaghetti”) sings the historical songs.

He Taught Me to Yodel
Patsy Montana

Strolling in My Stroller
Ivan Ulz

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Show 56: New Year’s Doggie Treats

Turn, Turn, Turn
The Byrds

Turn, Turn, Turn
Pete Seeger with the Rivertown Kids

Based on “The Noisy Book” by Margaret Wise Brown and narrated by Norman Rose, this is the story of a little dog named Muffin who has a bandage over his eyes because of a recent mishap. He cannot see a thing—but Muffin can hear!

Muffin in the City
Norman Rose

I Wanna be a Dog
Barry Louis Polisar

How Much Is That Doggie in the Window
Ivan Ulz

Arfie, the Doggie in the Window

Arfie, the Doggie in the Window

After “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window” became a million seller for Patti Page, she made an agreement with Childcraft Records to appear on a story record which tells what happened after that dog found a home.

Arfie, The Doggie in the Window
Patti Page

From 1942-1960, Art Linkletter hosted “People Are Funny” on radio, and then moved over to television. The premise was to send contestants out on something like a scavenger hunt, then trick them once they got there. This children’s record from 1950 is a parody of the show, with pets taking on the roles that were for people. The highlight is when Art offers a parrot a cracker, and instead gives him firecrackers.

Pets Are Funny
Art Linkletter

During the 1950’s Jerry Lewis made several children’s records for Capitol Records. All of them are a little strange by today’s standards, but that is what makes them fun. In this story, Jerry is an animal abuser who dreams he is a tormented puppy, and he awakens with full understanding of the Golden Rule.

The Puppydog Dream
Jerry Lewis

Jerry Lewis

Jerry Lewis

Ivan the Ice Cream Man
Ivan Ulz

In 1970 I recorded an LP which was called “Ivan the Ice Cream Man.” The title song came from my experience in 1968 as a hippie selling ice cream man in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Imagine my surprise when 40 years later I was searching for my record on Ebay and stumbled onto this 1939 song of the same name by a group called the Kidoodlers. Because it is so bright and bouncy, this version is now the theme song for The Treasure Ivan Show.

Ivan the Ice Cream Man
The Kidoodlers

The Kidoodlers

The Kidoodlers

Lynne Farr was a writer and producer of countless television programs, most notably “The Bob Newhart Show” in the 1970’s. I have no idea what inspired her to write and record this song, but I’m sure glad she did.

(That’s Why) I Love the Ice Cream Man
Lynne Farr

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Show 55: Pete Seeger at Town Hall

After 70 years as a performer, writer, and social activist, Pete Seeger is a living American institution. While preparing for this program, I was reminded of what a masterful performance Seeger can deliver to a crowd of children. You can just hear the way he takes over the audience, exciting them to fevered participation before bringing them gently back to listening mode. He once said “Participation! It’s what all my work has been about.”

Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger

I saw Pete Seeger perform at the First Unitarian Church in Los Angeles while in my early teens and listened to his Folkways recordings over and over. Several years ago in New York, I had the privilege of meeting Pete at a book shop where he gave an informal concert on a Sunday morning. He signed my well-worn copy of “Abi Yo Yo,” turning one of my favorite storybooks into a real treasure.

Pete Seeger: Children’s Concert at Town Hall, April 28, 1962

Oh Shenandoah

Skip to my Lou

Git Along, Little Dogies

Didn’ Ol’ John Cross the Water on his Knees

Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal

I’ve Been Working on the Railroad

Riding in my Car

Put Your Finger in the Air

The Foolish Frog

Ilka’s Bedouin Tune

Frere Jacques

Fisherman’s Song

It Could Be a Wonderful World


Let Everyone Clap Hands Like Me

Michael Row the Boat Ashore

Ha, Ha Thisaway

De Grey Goose

Be Kind to Your Parents

This Land Is Your Land


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Show 54: Merry Christmas

Our second holiday program opens with a mid-20th century classic:

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
Fred Waring Orchestra

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Christmas is a Coming
Lead Belly

There have been many retellings of the Christmas story, but the 12-minute version Gene Autry recorded for CBS Records in 1961 remains my favorite. It is a no-nonsense version of the story of the Nativity, perfect for all youngsters regardless of religious orientation.

A Child at Christmas
Gene Autry

Gene Autry

Gene Autry

“Pussycat’s Christmas” is based on a story by Margaret Wise Brown, author of “Goodnight Moon,” “Runaway Bunny,” and many other classic stories for children. The recording is narrated by Albert Grobe, music director for many years on New York’s classical music station WQXR. This is the only commercial record he ever made.

Pussycat’s Christmas
Albert Grobe

There may be Christmas records older than “Santa Claus Visits Children,” released by Victor in the early 1920s, but I haven’t heard them. Gilbert Girard stars as a Santa who recites nursery rhymes and does animal impression.

Santa Claus Visits the Children
Gilbert Girard

The Three Stooges

The Three Stooges

Wreck the Halls
The Three Stooges

Ireene Wicker was the Story Lady on WOR radio in New York City during the 1940s. She is totally unique in her approach to any tale. The “Tale of Christmas Stocking” is the perfect vehicle for Ireene to showcase her many voices — yes, every voice you hear on this recording belongs Ms. Wicker.

This is Christmas, Ireene Wicker

This is Christmas, Ireene Wicker

Tale of a Christmas Stocking
Ireene Wicker

We Wish You a Merry Christmas, by the Weavers

We Wish You a Merry Christmas, by the Weavers

We Wish You a Merry Christmas
The Weavers

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Show 53: Happy Hanukkah

You don’t have to be Jewish to love the Treasure Ivan Show.


This edition is a celebration of Hanukkah, with Nancy Raven’s rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “Hanuka Dance” and Tom Lerher belting “I’m Spending Hanukkah in Santa Monica.” On a more serious note, you’ll also hear “Let’s Play Maccabees,” a recording from 1955 which is described “as a child’s participation album for Chanukah.” March around the room like Maccabee solders or lumber like elephants…this is an opportunity for everyone to enjoy the festival of lights.

Also on this program is Nelson Eddy narrating and supplying all the voices for the 1946 Columbia album “The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met.” There’s a preview of Christmas, with Vicky Dale’s “Are My Ears on Straight?” Finally, we have Danny Kaye’s delightful version of the frantic and frenzied “Triplets” from “The Band Wagon”. You must hear this one a lot of times before you will be able to sing along.

Wake Up!
John Legend

Wake Up
Woody Guthrie

Wakin’ Up is Hard to Do
Neil Sedaka

Let's Play Maccabees

Let’s Play Maccabees

Let’s Play Maccabees
Heidy Mayer & Ben Parrish

Hanuka Dance
Nancy Raven

(I’m Spending) Hanukkah in Santa Monica
Tom Lehrer

The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met

The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met

The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met
Nelson Eddy

Are My Ears on Straight?
Vicki Dale

Danny Kaye

Danny Kaye

Danny Kaye

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Show 52: Choo Choo

Trains (sans Thomas) are what’s happening on this edition of the Treasure Ivan Show. We open with Jerry Garcia’s rendition of “Freight Train” and close with Bob Dylan singing “This Old Man.” Little Feat’s Lowell George will be heard performing “Two Trains” somewhere in the middle of the program. There are story records about trains by Ed Asner, Burl Ives, and Tom Glazer. Is this any way to treat a toddler? We say yes, and his mama and papa and grandparents too.


A Train…

Ella Jenkins

Freight Train
Jerry Garcia & David Grisman

The Little Engine that Could
Ed Asner
Courtesy of Little Golden Records

The Little Engine that Could
Mitch Miller Orchestra, featuring Anne Lloyd & the Sandpipers

Chugging Freight Engine
Tom Glazer

Freight Train
Ida, featuring Elizabeth Mitchell

Two Little Trains
Burl Ives

Two Trains
Lowell George

Fire Truck!
Uncle John Vettel

This Old Man
Bob Dylan

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