More than 50 years ago, with the flip of a switch and the turn of a dial, local television became an unforgettable part of the New Orleans culture. As a result, for people who grew up with this new medium, there are very special memories from watching shows like Mrs. Muffin, Romper Room, Morgus, Midday and The John Pela Show.
NEW ORLEANS TV: THE GOLDEN AGE traces the history of local television from 1948, the year the city’s first station – WDSU-TV – signed on the air, to 1972, when the station was sold to an out-of-town owner and another station, WWL-TV, became dominant.
Filled with film footage and archival photographs, the program chronicles the early history of WDSU, highlighting the beginnings of well-remembered shows and on-air careers, including that of host and anchor Mel Leavitt; Terry Flettrich Rohe, famous for Mrs. Muffin and Midday; pioneering newsmen Bill Monroe and Alec Gifford; meteorologist Nash Roberts; and Bob and Jan Carr, the married couple who won over viewers on Midday and Second Cup.
In 1957, WDSU got some competition, when the Jesuits of Loyola University introduced WWL-TV. Interviews and archival footage help profile that station’s early stars, including horror show host Morgus the Magnificent; dance show star John Pela; news anchor Bill Elder; 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.
Local broadcasting pioneers help tell the fascinating story of NEW ORLEANS TV: THE GOLDEN AGE.