Thursday, September 10, 2009

Happy Felton's Knothole Gang


Even the old Dodgers are happy for Derek Jeter.The pictures are mostly from the 1955 or 1956 season. About Happy Felton, Date of Birth, 30 November 1907, Bellevue, Pennsylvania, USA, Date of Death, 21 October 1964 from baseball-fever
Another popular show on WOR Ch. 9 was "Happy Felton's Knothole Gang", a sports show that helped young baseball players improve their baseball playing skills. (This show was not "Joe DiMaggio's Dugout", which was seen Saturday afternoons on WNBT TV Ch. 4 and in national syndication during the early 1950's, where Mr. DiMaggio and the members of his dugout would try to improve the baseball playing techniques by watching top ball players on film.)
Happy Felton (a former vauldville, stage and radio comic actor and musical entertainer) & the members of NYC's most successful little league teams would see professional players ultilize their ball playing techniques live on the fields of the Brooklyn Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers and N.Y. Yankees Stadiums.
After seeing their heroes play on the fields, the kids were given the chance to play against themselves on the fields and earn the chance to win scholarships for their schools and toy prizes. Plus tickets to upcoming baseball games.
"Happy Felton's Knothole Gang" was seen weekday afternoons and on Saturday afternoons on WOR Ch. 9 from Friday, April 21, 1950 until station execs finally closed up Happy Felton's knothole in the ball parks for good on Saturday, August 24, 1957.
...it was a pre game show before Brooklyn Dodger home telecasts and since the Dodgers televised every home gane on channel 9 it was telecast either during afternoons, evening, Sunday's whatever (only before the first game for a Sunday doubleheader.)...There were 3 contestants not 5 as somebody claimed. It was only held at Ebbets Field...as a matter of fact it was telecast from the Dodger bullpen which was in foul territory along the right field line (since it was only 297 to the right field fair pole (as Warner Wolf would say of course it's the fair pole, if the ball hits it, it's a fair ball) just in front of the right field wall. It was telecast up through the last telecast from Ebbets Field the night Danny McDevit shut out the Pirates, the last major league game that was ever to be played in Brooklyn by the true Dodgers...the winner of that last contest is still probably waiting to collect his prize (a visit with his favorite Dodger,some time in the Dodger dugout and then through the clubhouse)....normally the Dodger telecasts began each season with the Friday afternoon exhibition game against the Yankees the Friday before the season began (the Brooks and Yanks then played Saturday and Sunday at Yankee Stadium)....

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that the Dodgers also played at Roosevelt stadium in Jersey City ! I know because I was on Happy Felton's Knothole in 1955 when they played Cinn.

Robert said...

They did play in Roosevelt Stadium, but only in 1956 and 1957.

Richard said...

I was on Happy Felton's show on 8/14/56, and was lucky enough to be the winner, and came back the next night to ask Pee Wee Reese a few questions on the air, and then march down to the Dodger dugout, and meet the players, and get their autographs. I still have that ball today. On that second night the Dodgers were playing the Giants in Jersey City, and Willie Mays hit a huge homer to beat Dem Bums...it was a high point in my young life....and I was Yankee fan !

Pollo said...

I was also on Happy Felton's show. I think it was around May 1950 in its beginnings. I will be checking the Amsterdam News because they covered the event with a picture of me. I was also a winner. Duke Snide)tossed balls out to me in right field. I returned to the show as a winner and asked Snider a question suggested by Happy Felton (about the possibility of hitting four homers in the same game). Nice reminiscing with you. I'll be back with more information and comments.