Tag Archives: February 20

BIRTHDAY #100

20 Feb

100 years ago today, on Monday, February 20, 1911 children’s TV host Paul Tripp was born in New York City.

Of course, Tripp was much more than simply a “children’s TV host.” He was also an actor, author, musician, and educator.

A cherished possession I have saved for 45 years; an “autographed” photo of Paul Tripp from “Birthday House.”

It was Paul Tripp’s work with children that got him and his wife, Ruth Enders Tripp, noticed by TV producers. That eventually landed Tripp a job as “Mr. I Magination” on CBS, Sunday nights from 1949 until 1952.

Tripp and his wife Ruth then hosted a CBS morning show for kids called, “On The Carousel” from 1954 to 1959. During that time Paul Tripp also hosted a summer series for CBS on Sunday nights in 1955 called, “It’s Magic.”

But I best remember Paul Tripp as the host of “Birthday House” on WNBC in New York, from 1963 to 1967. It was a kid’s show, broadcast each morning that was really just one big birthday party.

For others Tripp may be best remembered as the author and creator of “Tubby the Tuba,” a children’s song from the 1940s.

Paul Tripp died in his native New York City on August 29, 2002 at the age of 91. Today I honor the 100th anniversary of his birth simply because he gave me joy when I was a child, and I’m certain he made millions of other children happy as well.

Interestingly, while watching a clip of “Birthday House” this week it made me think of my late mother.

Thank you Paul… and Happy Birthday.

KING OF THE MINI-SERIES

20 Feb

64 years ago today, on Thursday, February 20, 1947 actor Peter Strauss, the king of the mini-series, was born in Croton-on-Hudson, New York.                        

Strauss’s earliest TV appearances were in the early 1970s in episodes of shows like “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Hawaii Five-O,” and “Medical Center.” It was the groundbreaking mini-series “Rich Man, Poor Man” which premiered February 1, 1976 on ABC that catapulted Strauss to stardom. It did the same for another young actor named Nick Nolte.

An autographed photo of Peter Strauss, from the 1970s.

What made “Rich Man, Poor Man” unique was that it aired weekly for just 7 weeks with just 9 episodes. It was the first time any series was scheduled this way and it turned out to be a blockbuster.

That led to a sequel called “Rich Man, Poor Man Book II“ which premiered as a regular weekly series in September 1976. It ran for just one season. Strauss then became the “go-to” guy for starring roles in mini-series, including “Masada,” “Tender Is the Night,” and one of my all-time favorites, “Kane & Abel.” (Really, ANY film with an almost shirtless Ed Asner would be one of my all-time favorites).

Peter Strauss has also starred in many TV movies like “Young Joe, the Forgotten Kennedy,” “Angel on My Shoulder,” and “The Jericho Mile” which won him an Emmy Award as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Special.

A close-up of Peter Strauss's autograph on the above photo.

Strauss may also be known by some who love the outdoors. A ranch he once sold to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy is now part of the National Park Service. “Peter Strauss Ranch” is located in Cornell, California.

Peter Strauss will be appearing in the play “Divine Rivalry” at Hartford Stage in Connecticut starting this Thursday, February 24th.

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