Throwback Thursday; Children's Wonderland and Salty the Clown
with the Sylvania Spotlight on 1963
Children’s Wonderland began seasonal operations in December 1963 at the Lucas County Recreation Center on Key Street in Maumee, Ohio. It was later sold to the Sylvania Recreation District in 2010.
"Salty The Clown" was created and played by Dick Beach. In 1960, he was given his own show, “The Adventures of Salty and Friends,” on WSPD-TV after first being a fill-in for a Toledo television show, “Fun Farm.” The Salty character featured a tiny whistle sitting on Beach's tongue that changed his voice to a high-pitched squeak. He performed skits with another character, Captain Cotton, and introduced cartoons.
In 1967, Beach was recruited by Boston's new UHF channel, WSBK-TV to host a show there. Beach kept the Salty character, but renamed himself “Willie Whistle.” Beach also became the Boston station’s promotions director.
Beach's Willie Whistle character and television show did very well in the larger Boston market, despite his whistle speech being largely unintelligible. Willie Whistle stayed on the air in Boston for twenty years, until 1987, when Beach retired. Beach received many awards for giving his time as Willie Whistle to the Shriners Hospitals for Children, the Jerry Lewis telethon and numerous other charities.
Beach was a marine veteran of World War II. In June 2018, he was part of the Kentucky Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., that included all World War II veterans. Beach died on December 18, 2018 at the age of 90 in Bardstown, Kentucky.
Sylvania Spotlight Year: 1963
In 1963 Children's Wonderland makes its debut in Northwest Ohio. Also occurring that year in Sylvania, in Ohio, and around the world:
The Sylvania Burnham freshmen basketball team wins the GLL. The Maplewood Fireballs win the sixth grade basketball championship.
Sylvania Township police officers D.D. Smith and Jack Annessor arrest two men on Sylvania Avenue after responding to a Michigan police all-points bulletin about a breaking-and-entering with gunshots fired.
Kate & Maymes opens in the Ottawa Hills Shopping Center.
Joseph W. Diehn Post No. 468 in Sylvania wins the Lucas County Council award for money collected in the “Give to Yanks Who Gave” program.
Martin Luther King delivers his "I have a dream" speech at the March on Washington.
Lawrence of Arabia wins the Academy Award for best picture.
Jacquelyn Mayer of Ohio is crowned Miss America.
Eastman Kodak introduces Instamatic cameras that can be loaded with film cartridges.
General Hospital premiers, and Julia Child debuts in The French Chef on educational television.
Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” is published. Betty Friedan publishes “The Feminine Mystique.”
The Beatles release their first album. The Rolling Stones become the anti-Beatles.
Eva Cassidy, Johnny Depp, Tatum O’Neal, Brad Pitt, Joe Scarborough, Helen Hunt, and Michael Jordan are born. Sylvia Plath, Robert Frost, Theodore Roethke, Patsy Cline, and William Carlos Williams die.
President John F. Kennedy is assassinated.