Fryar graduated in 1950 with a bachelor's degree in speech from Indiana University. He began his broadcasting career as an announcer, emcee and writer as a teenager in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the mid-1940s. By the 1960s, he had developed his entertainment talents as host of programs geared to young audiences in radio and TV in Ohio.
Hal Fryar was the host for a local Indianapolis children's show on WFBM-TV that ran from 1960 to 1972, that highlighted the old Three Stooges shorts. He appeared under the name "Harlow Hickenlooper" and was one of a trio of hosts with Curley Myers and Captain Star (Jerry Vance aka Larry Vincent). Together, they sang songs and did skits for a live studio audience of children. Fryar fell into the Stooges' slapstick comedy routines with passion. His idea of Harlow Hickenlooper's personality was for him to be a character for whom nothing ever went right, no matter how hard he tried. Hickenlooper regularly ended up with a (shaving) cream pie in his face. Fryar was also the host for several other children's shows over 43 years in local television.
In 1965, Fryar was cast in the Three Stooges movie, The Outlaws Is Coming, playing the part of Johnny Ringo. Upon the movie's release, Fryar quickly received a number of complaints from English teachers because he appeared in a movie with the grammatically incorrect title. Many younger children, who went expecting to see his trademark battered straw hat and striped coat, were unable to recognize him in his outlaw makeup. Older kids and their parents were able to appreciate the comedy.
Today, Hal Fryar lives in Franklin, Indiana with his wife Henrietta and their bichon, Muffin. He is employed part-time with Community Development, Inc, a builder of homes for baby boomers who have reached the age of 55 years or more. He still makes regular public appearances.
- Indiana University (2008). Four IU alumni being inducted into the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame. Retrieved on 30 December 2008.
- Hollis, Tim (2001). Hi There, Boys and Girls!: America's Local Children's TV Shows. Published by Univ. Press of Mississippi. OCLC 46683468 ISBN 978-1-57806-396-3.
- Indianapolis Star (2003). Harlow Hickenlooper and Curley Side by Side Once Again. Retrieved on 4 January 2009.
- Internet Movie Database (2008). Hal Fryar. Retrieved on 29 December 2008.
- Butler, Kevin (2004). The Outlaw Is Coming. Retrieved on 29 December 2008.
- Pyatte, Steve (2005). Harlow Hickenlooper: Introducing Hal Fryar. Retrieved on 29 December 2009.
- Fryar, Hal (2005). Harlow Hickenlooper: Harlow Today. Retrieved on 29 December 2008.
- Indiana Broadcast Pioneers (2008). Newly inducted members into the Hall of Fame. Retrieved on 30 December 2008.