The Magic Cottage (TV series)
|The Magic Cottage|
|Presented by||Pat Meikle
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original release||July 18, 1949– September 12, 1952|
|Related shows||Your Television Babysitter|
The Magic Cottage was hosted by Pat (Mary Patricia) Meikle. In each episode, Meikle would tell a story using her "magic chalkboard", from which colorful fairy-tale characters would appear, including Maxwell the Mouse. The series was produced by Hal Cooper (February 23, 1923 - April 11, 2014), Pat Meikle's husband. The married on December 21, 1944, had two children Bethami (b. August 16, 1954) and Pamela. Meikle and Cooper divorced in 1970.
The Magic Cottage was a spin-off of Meikle and Cooper's Your Television Babysitter which aired in daytime 8:30 to 9 am ET Monday through Friday on DuMont beginning November 1, 1948. However, The Magic Cottage was aimed at slightly older children who had just entered school, and aired on weekday evenings from 6:30 to 7 pm ET.
It was a very low-tech show, consisting largely of Meikle telling stories about Wilmer The Pigeon while drawing elementary pictures on a large pad, and chatting with visitors like Oogie The Ogre. The basic set - the interior of a cottage with a window and Dutch half-door at the rear, may have influenced similar sets of later shows like Soupy Sales and PeeWee Herman.
According to the book The Forgotten Network, both series were well received by television critics at the time. Meikle was described by Variety as "the answer to a mother's prayers. She's already being touted as a new TV star." The Magic Cottage continued on DuMont's flagship station WABD until 1955. Meikle continued to work at WABD after both series had finished their runs.
Other cast members included Don Hastings, who is perhaps best remembered as the Video Ranger on DuMont's popular children's series Captain Video and as Dr. Bob Hughes (from 1960-2010) on the long-running CBS daytime drama As the World Turns. Guest actors included several Broadway veterans including Ruth White who appeared regularly as librarian "Bessie Bookbinder".
A kinescope of one episode is held at the UCLA Film and Television Archive, with another kinescope (dating from December 28, 1950) held by the Paley Center for Media. An additional episode may survive as part of the Peabody Award collection.
- List of programs broadcast by the DuMont Television Network
- List of surviving DuMont Television Network broadcasts
- 1949-50 United States network television schedule
- Playroom, DuMont children's series
- Kids and Company, DuMont children's series hosted by Johnny Olsen
- Happy's Party, DuMont children's series broadcast by WDTV-TV in Pittsburgh
- Your Television Babysitter
- David Weinstein, The Forgotten Network: DuMont and the Birth of American Television (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2004) ISBN 1-59213-245-6
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, Fourth edition (New York: Penguin Books, 1980) ISBN 0-14-024916-8
- Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows, Third edition (New York: Ballantine Books, 1964) ISBN 0-345-31864-1