New Orleans TV: The Golden Age

New WYES-TV/Channel 12 Documentary Spotlights the Legendary Stars and Shows of New Orleans Television During its “Golden Age”

Are you a native New Orleanian? Think back to your childhood. Do you remember television shows like Mrs. Muffin, The John Pela Show, Romper Room and Morgus? What about the names Mel Leavitt, Phil Johnson, Terry Flettrich and Nash Roberts? Local television and its stars date back 55 years. Relive your fondest childhood television memories — in WYES-TV/Channel 12’s latest cultural documentary, New Orleans TV: The Golden Age.

Narrated by WWL-TV anchor/reporter Angela Hill, New Orleans TV: The Golden Age will debut on WYES-TV Wednesday, August 13th at 7:00 p.m., and will repeat throughout the evening.

Filled with film footage and archival photographs, this one-hour program traces the history of local television from 1948, when Louisiana’s first station (WDSU-TV/Channel 6) signed on the air, to 1972, when Channel 6 was sold, and another station, WWL-TV, dominated in the competition for local viewers.

Chronicling the early history of WDSU, New Orleans TV: The Golden Age highlights the beginnings of well-remembered shows and on-air careers, including that of Terry Flettrich Rohe, famous for Mrs. Muffin and Midday; pioneering newsmen Bill Monroe and Alec Gifford; meteorologist and beloved weather guru Nash Roberts; entertainment critic Al Shea; and Bob and Jan Carr, the married couple who won over viewers on Midday and Second Cup.

In the late 1950s, WDSU got some competition, when the Jesuits of Loyola University introduced WWL-TV. Interviews and archival footage from Channel 4 help profile early stars, including horror show host Morgus the Magnificent; dance show star John Pela; former news director Phil Johnson, who would become America’s longest-running TV editorialist; sportscaster Hap Glaudi; and Popeye and Pals host “Uncle Henry” Dupre.

The program also highlights the early history of the city’s first public television station, WYES-TV; as well as WVUE-TV (which moved all over the dial in its early days); and WGNO-TV, which hit the air in the 1960s as WWOM (which stood for “Wonderful World of Movies”).

Dominic Massa is the producer of New Orleans TV: The Golden Age. Editor is Larry Roussarie. Original music was composed by Philip Melancon. Major funding is provided by Whitney National Bank and the WYES Producers Circle, a group of special donors who contribute to local programming.

Contact Aislinn Hinyup, WYES-TV/Channel 12 – 504-587-9464 ahinyup@wyes.org

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