Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Friendly Giant Part Deux

I'm glad you all enjoyed The Friendly Giant Clip.
For those of you who weren't familiar with this awesome show.
Here's a little synopsis from

A guitar-playing chicken hangs in a sack on a castle wall while a giraffe with blue spots sticks his head in through a nearby window. They are, of course, Rusty and Jerome, there at the invitation of Friendly Giant, an affable father figure in a medieval costume. Together the three were some of the most enduring characters in the history of CBC children's programming.

A creation of Bob Homme, the program began at a small commercial TV station in Wisconsin in 1954. Four years later Homme moved the show north to Canada and the CBC. Originally there were two puppeteers - one each for Rusty and Jerome - but soon Rod Coneybeare, a CBC radio veteran, was operating both.

For 26 years, young viewers were greeted by the harp-and-tin-whistle tune "Early One Morning" as Friendly (played by Homme) lowered the drawbridge on the miniature castle. He would invite them to have a seat: "One little chair for one of you, and a bigger chair for two to curl up in, and for someone who likes to rock, a rocking chair in the middle." Then: "Look up, look wa-a-ay up…" and there was Friendly, soon joined by Rusty and Jerome. The rest of the show's 15 minutes were occupied by gentle chat among the trio, followed by a story or a musical performance. Friendly played the recorder, Rusty was on harp or guitar, and Jerome sang. Each week a pair of puppet cats - Angie and Fiddle, the Jazz Cats - also performed.
In 1984 the federal government made considerable cuts to the CBC budget. Friendly Giant was cancelled shortly thereafter, though CBC executives said it wasn't related to the cuts. Bob Homme passed away in May 2000 at age 81.


Miss Litzi said...

Hi D. Prince,
Thanks for the history on “The Friendly Giant”; it was most enlightening. The fact that is was first broadcast from a small station in Wisconsin and then moved to Canada in 1958 explains why I never heard of it. It sounds like an early version of “Mr. Rogers”.

D. Prince said...

Yes, except there was just nothing weird about Bob Homme. Not that Mr. Rogers was weird, well, let's face it, he was a little.

Jacqueline said...

I forgot about the jazz cats!

D. Prince said...

Me too!