Ding Dong School

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Ding Dong School
Ding Dong School Miss Frances 1953.jpg
Miss Frances on the air in 1953
Presented by Frances Horwich
Country of origin United States
Production
Running time 25 minutes
Release
Original network NBC
Original release November 24, 1952 (1952-11-24) – December 28, 1956 (1956-12-28)

Ding Dong School, billed as "the nursery school of the air", was a half-hour children's TV show which began on WNBQ-TV (now WMAQ-TV) in Chicago, Illinois[1] a few months before its four-year run on NBC (albeit still produced in the WNBQ studios).

The program was presented from a child's point of view. A 1953 magazine article reported, "Low-angled cameras see everything at Lilliputian eye-level, stories and activities are paced at the slow rate just right for small ears and hands."[1] Each program began with Miss Frances ringing a hand-held school bell.[2]

A precursor to both Sesame Street and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, the show was hosted live by Frances Horwich (aka "Miss Frances"), and at one point was the most popular TV series aimed at preschoolers. The program began in 1952 at Chicago's WNBQ television. After six weeks on the air locally, the program was picked up by the NBC television network. At the height of its popularity, Ding Dong School had three million viewers.[2]

The show and its host, Miss Frances, were mentioned in the comic strip Peanuts in 1955 and 1956. In the February 20, 1956 Peanuts comic, Lucy refers to the "Ding Dong School" TV show as the one that her mother allows her to watch if she eats all of her breakfast.

The show was revived in 1959 as a syndicated program,[3] now videotaped and distributed by National Telefilm Associates. This iteration ran until 1965.

Five NBC kinescoped episodes from 1954-1955 are housed at the Library of Congress, in the J. Fred and Leslie W. MacDonald Collection.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Ding Dong School". Radio and Television Mirror. 41 (1): 16–17. December 1953. 
  2. ^ a b Wakin, Daniel A. "Frances R. Horwich, 93, Host Of 'Ding Dong School' in 50's". New York Times. Retrieved August 22, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Arrow Productions ad for Ding Dong School in syndication". Broadcasting. Cahners Publisching: 12–13. April 13, 1959. Retrieved August 22, 2016. 

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