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Mr. I. Magination was one of the earliest television shows for children. It ran live as a half-hour weekly show on CBS from 1949 to 1952 and was broadcast from Manhattan. (Information about Mr. I. Magination may be found in "Children's Television: The First Thirty Five Years: Live, Filmed And Taped" by George Woolery; Scarecrow Press, Inc.)
The host, Mr. I. Magination (Paul Tripp), dressed as a train engineer, gathered a group of children each week. The same child actors appeared on a rotating basis. Two would be selected to ask about a career, occupation, activity, and such. Tripp would then play a "magic" slide flute, he and the children would board a train and travel to Imagination Land, where they would meet a professional from each of the two areas for that week's show.
Guests were as diverse as Damu, a lion tamer from Ringling Brothers Circus, and test pilot Scott Crossfield. His wife, Ruth Enders Tripp, also acted in the show. The show was also a pioneer in using simple, early special effects, such as making it appear as if the opening train ride went through a tunnel to enter Imagination Land, emerging from the smoke from its engine.
Yul Brynner served as the director of the show at times, but did not appear as a performer. The show also featured performances by Walter Matthau, Richard Boone, Joe Silver, Ted Tiller, and Simon Oakland.
Mr. I. Magination also was featured on several RCA records for children, including "Billy On A Bike" and "Mr. I. Magination Meets Rip Van Winkle", there are at least two versions on a LP (long playing) record.
- "I. Magination" To Get Col. Wax. Billboard. 8 July 1950. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- Life Tours the Children's TV Shows. Life. 24 December 1951. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- Hollis, Tim, ed. (2001). Hi there, boys and girls!: America's local children's TV shows. University Press of Mississippi. p. 361. ISBN 1-57806-396-5. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- Honan, William H. (1 September 2001). "Paul Tripp, 91, Early Children's TV Host". New York Times. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- Gould, Jack; Gould, Lewis L., eds. (2002). Watching television come of age: the New York Times review. University of Texas Press. p. 266. ISBN 0-292-72846-8. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- Mr. I-Magination Meets Rip Van Winkle. Billboard. 3 March 1951. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- Spaceship to Mars (with Mr. I-Magination). Billboard. 22 November 1952. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- TV and Disk Springboard For Greatest Number of Acts on Way to Stardom. Billboard. 8 July 1950. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- Columbia Hypos Kidisk Etchings. Billboard. 15 July 1950. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- Columbia Adds to Kidisk Line. Billboard. 16 August 1952. Retrieved 8 September 2011.