Tom Hatten

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Tom Hatten
A photo of Tom Hatten in 2013
Hatten in 2013
Born (1926-11-14) November 14, 1926 (age 91)
Jamestown, North Dakota, United States
Occupation Actor, TV Kids' Show Host, Radio Broadcaster

Tom Hatten (born November 14, 1926) is an American radio, film and television personality, known as the long-time host of The Popeye Show (originally The Pier Point 5 Club) and Family Film Festival on KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles in the 1960s through the '80s. He has also appeared in dozens of musicals, movies and television shows.

Early life[edit]

Hatten was born in Jamestown, North Dakota. He served in the Navy during World War II and used the GI Bill to study acting at the Pasadena School of Theater. He graduated magna cum laude in 1950.

The Popeye Show[edit]

In 1952, he started working as a broadcaster at KTLA in Hollywood, later landing the part of the friendly sailor in the station's afternoon children's show, The Pier Point 5 Club. He followed "Skipper Frank" Herman who appeared earlier in the afternoon with Cartoon Carousel.

Dressed in Navy whites, Hatten presented the animated works of Max and Dave Fleischer, easily obtained from a Paramount affiliate, starring as the spinach eating Popeye. A skilled artist and cartoonist, Hatten's included how to segments that taught how to draw the cartoon characters. Guests appeared on each program, and were given a large upright easel and sketch pad. They would draw what Hatten called a "Squiggle". Then Tom would create a drawing incorporating the squiggle without crossing any of the squiggle's lines. Hatten hosted two later versions of the show and told anecdotes about the Fleischers, the cartoons, or their studios.

The Pier Point 5 Club was given a more elaborate studio set and was renamed The Popeye Show. Hatten was dressed as a harbor master in a structure resembling a marina. The squiggle contest was retained and the show expanded to an hour. King Features created a new series of Popeye cartoons for the show. Jack Mercer, who had replaced William Costello (aka "Red Pepper" Sam) as the voice of Fleischer's Popeye, visited the show to recognize Hatten as the biggest promoter of the Max and Dave Fleischer Studio.

Hatten's show aired on Saturday and Sunday until 1985. The guests and games were gone, but it still featured Tom's cartoons. Hatten then hosted KTLA's Family Film Festival, where his cinema expertise was again displayed.

Family Film Festival[edit]

The Family Film Festival was a weekend afternoon feature on KTLA 5 between 1978 and 1992, with Hatten screening a classic movie, often from the 40's, 50's or 60's. During breaks in the show, he would offer anecdotes about the film's history or its actors, or even conduct brief interviews with a cast or crew member (a practice that originally predated the cable networks American Movie Classics and Turner Classic Movies; see those articles for details). Many "Gen X"-aged men and women, born throughout the 1970s and raised in Los Angeles, were introduced to the films of Jerry Lewis, The Little Rascals, and Pippi Longstocking as well as animated films as Gay Purr-ee, Hoppity Goes to Town, The Phantom Tollbooth,Once Upon a Time and Star Blazers, through Hatten's Family Film Festival. The Little River Band's song Reminiscing was used as bumper music.


Hatten's acting credits include portraying a corrupt US Army General in the film Spies Like Us, with Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase. He appeared as Captain Murdock in several episodes of the television show Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., and had a minor role as an officer in three episodes of Hogan's Heroes. Hatten provided the voice of the character Farmer Fitzgibbons in the animated movie The Secret of NIMH. Hatten appeared in a touring production of the musical, Annie as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

For nearly 20 years, Hatten worked as an award-winning entertainment reporter for KNX 1070 Newsradio in Los Angeles, filing regular reports on the movie industry, new films, and celebrity news.[1] He left the station in 2007.

Hatton served on the board of the National Student Film Institute and was a frequent presenter at its annual film festival.[2][3]


  1. ^ KNX - Tom Hatten
  2. ^ Editor (June 10, 1994). National Student Film Institute/L.A: The Sixteenth Annual Los Angeles Student Film Festival. The Directors Guild Theatre. pp. 10–11. 
  3. ^ Editor (June 7, 1991). Los Angeles Student Film Institute: 13th Annual Student Film Festival. The Directors Guild Theatre. p. 3. 

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