Sunday, February 6, 2011

Kitirik and Cadet Don: Radio & TV, 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History, Sentimental Sunday

The prompt for Week 6 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is Radio and Television:

What was your favorite radio or television show from your childhood? What was the program about and who was in it?

photo from Gary Hunt, ThisIsIt2 on
I remember two local Houston children's television shows from my childhood:  Kitirik and Cadet Don.  Probably just about anybody who grew up in Houston in the 1960s remembers these two shows, both on ABC affiliate KTRK Channel 13:

Kitirik was on in the afternoons from 1954 through 1971. The station's logo featured a black cat (since they were the unlucky number 13) and a contest came up with her clever name by putting i's between the station's call letters. It had a live audience full of birthday parties and Scout troops.  Bunny Orsak played Kitirik.

Capitalizing on Houston's identification with NASA and the space program, Cadet Don was on in the mornings from 1959 through 1968.  He had a puppet buddy named Seymour ("see more") from the planet of Katark (there's those call letters again!).  This show was a little more educational, with frequent appearances by John Werler, then director of Houston's Hermann Park Zoo, with various animals.  Don Travis (real name Al Eisenmann Sr.) even did a couple of albums that I owned, Don & Seymour (pictured above) and a folk album called Don & Mac.

I don't remember a whole lot about either show, but a lot of people out there do.  There are fan groups for both shows on Facebook!  Click all of the links above and links within those links for more info, pictures, and nostaglia.

As for radio, I didn't listen to it a whole lot as a child, more so as a teen though, and always when alone in my car up until five years ago, when I got a car with a CD and cassette player.  I do remember the summer of 1972, listening to just about every Houston Astros game on the radio, even while in the hospital recovering from an appendectomy.  I was a big fan of third baseman Doug Rader, thanks to the Houston Chronicle's Straight A Student program that gave me two free tickets to three Astros games each season for my six years of middle and high school. 

© Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.


  1. Thank you for this info! {Sob} I loved Kitirik and have wonderful after school memories of this show!

  2. Gumby and Pokie on Cadet Don. Left the Houston area in 1968 for Fort Worth where I was introduced to Icky Twerp on Slam Bang Theater. Both by gone classics.

  3. Kitirik at Palm Center Shopping Center, giving out Hostess cupcakes with silver dollars in some and serving hot Dr. Pepper, it was winter in Houston, went on the show for my birthday and won a doll, will never forget the show, my younger brother was on the Cadet Don show for his birthday, was a great time to be a kid and to have children in Houston, thank you for the great memories.

  4. Cindy Taylor ColemanApril 30, 2016 at 7:46 PM

    this is the very picture i got when i was on the show - that seems so very long ago!!

    1. It was pretty long ago, now! Thanks for commenting, Cindy!

  5. Didn't Cadet Don have a chimp called Chatter? I believe it was a video he showed in the mornings. And remember when he used to sing "There's a hole in the bucket, dear Seymour..."?