Kukla, Fran, and Ollie: Kukla discovers America

This tape contains a full episode of Kukla, Fran, and Ollie titled "Kukla Discovers America." The episode seems to have been recorded circa 1970, and primarily focuses on Fran and the puppets putting on a Columbus Day pageant. The tape also contains a 15 minute collection of clips after theman 30 minute episode. The clips focus on the character Ollie.

0:32Copy video clip URL The show begins with the puppets Kukla and Ollie arguing over whether or not they should start by singing “Here We Are Again.” Kukla says it’s tradition but Ollie counters that that’s not very “democratic,” so they call for Fran to come help.

1:15Copy video clip URL The intro to the show, with a montage of shots set to “Here We Are Again.”

1:52Copy video clip URL Fran comes out and they discuss the problem, and end up deciding to vote on it. It comes out 3 (Fran twice, Kukla once) to 1 (Ollie) in favor of singing the song, which they all perform live. Ollie then begins discussing his plans for the show: they will put on a Columbus Day pageant. Ollie assigns roles for the pageant: Fran will be the Queen of Spain, Kukla will be Christopher Columbus, Beulah Witch will be an old gypsy woman, and Fletcher Rabbit will be the sailor who first sights land. Ollie also introduces the two stagehands, Brian and Jim, who will do the waves by moving two wooden cutouts of waves back and forth. Lastly, he gives Fran castanets to play during the first song.

9:50Copy video clip URL They start the pageant. Ollie plays the King, and he sings “Lady of Spain” to introduce Fran as the Queen. The skit continues with lots of banter, including a recurring theme where Ollie as the King and Kukla as Columbus ask Fran about what happened to her jewels. Fran implies that they are currently in a pawn shop, but they manage to find a way to raise the money for Columbus’s trip anyway. There’s also a lot of jokes about Ollie’s inability to get off stage, because the prop throne is in the way.

19:19Copy video clip URL The pageant shifts to the sea, where Kukla as Columbus and Fletcher as the sailor make jokes as they search for land. Once they land, they are welcomed by Fran, who pretends to be a welcoming committee member for an island resort.

25:19Copy video clip URL Kukla and Fran ask Ollie if he knows of any other special events they might want to celebrate today, finally revealing that it’s the show’s anniversary. They sing a special birthday song in commemoration.

27:52Copy video clip URL End credits for the main program.

28:55Copy video clip URL “The Best of Ollie”: A series of excerpts from episodes, all of them featuring Ollie.

29:00Copy video clip URL Ollie pleads with a UFO not to attack them, only to have it be revealed that it’s actually Beulah Witch inside, and the UFO is just a stage prop for a space opera that Fletcher Rabbit is putting on.

31:05Copy video clip URL Beulah and Fran are trying to figure out why it’s so cold and what’s happened to all the pots and pans. It turns out Ollie has been using them to make block ice and has been keeping the house so cold so that the ice doesn’t melt while he creates ice sculptures for the Mayor’s ice sculpture competition.

34:47Copy video clip URL Ollie and Fran help teach Dolores Dragon (Ollie’s younger cousin) the Dragon Prep Pep Songs.

36:40Copy video clip URL Ollie casts a spell that turns him invisible. After surprising Kukla and Fran, they three try to figure out how to undo the spell. They talk to Beulah, but she claims she “never took that course.”

39:40Copy video clip URL Kukla and Cecil Bill look at a mysterious package and card before Ollie’s voice shoos them away. Fran approaches and reads the card, which is addressed to her from Ollie for Valentine’s Day. As per the instructions, she presses the button on the side of the box and Ollie emerges and sings as if he is a mechanical music box.

42:16Copy video clip URL Fran and Ollie sing a duet, with Fran’s parts being a very sweet and romantic piece about finding love at the circus. When Ollie begins singing, the music becomes instantly more circus-y and full of bravado. The effect is a contrast between Fran’s part as a kind of sweet young infatuation with one’s first love with the actually object of infatuation—a comically bafoonish or self-centered circus strongman who is “a one, two, three ring circus rolled into one.”

45:12Copy video clip URL End of tape.


1 Comment

  1. Jerry Pritikin says:

    Back in 1947, my dad head I was sneaking into Steiner’s bar to watch sports on their TV. I was 10 years old. He went and bought the 1st tv in Albany Park that was not in a tavern at Little Al’s Radio & Phonograph Store on Lawrence Avenue. He paid $450 for RCA Victor 10″ wood console. It was October 13th, and we wheeled it home. Until the roof antenna was installed, a temporary antenna was put in place. The first image to appear was a new kids program called “Junior Jamboree” (later changed to Kukla, Fran and Ollie) was making it’s debut on WBKB-4 (Chicago’s only tv station). I became their first fan and often seen the show in person at the studio of WBKB at 190 N. State Street, on the 12th floor. Over the years, I kept in touch with both Fran Allison and Burr tillstrum.

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