Looking back at the history of children’s television

Looking back at the history of children’s television

How do parents appease the restlessness and hyper-activeness of their children? During weekend mornings when moms are busy with housecleaning, food preparation, laundry, etc., and kids are running around and making a mess of everything else, how do moms mellow them down and keep them at bay? This is where TV comes in to the rescue.

Parents tend to breathe and relax for a few hours without the kids’ shouts and cries by letting them watch TV — showing cartoons, kid’s programs, and knowledge shows. With stations airing these kinds of shows, parents can continue their morning routines and chores, and the children can enjoy and learn at the same time. It has truly improved and lightened the chaos in the homes.

But how did this all start? How did the children shows come about? What’s the history of children’s television? Who and when was this initiated?

It was in late 1939 that the first children entertainer or performer was shown on television, Burr Tillstrom of the NY World Fair. This time also, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) started airing regular broadcasts but with limited programming time. It was in the 1950s that the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) followed suit, their first time to televise a show for the kids; and was programmed to air it on Saturday mornings. These were the Animal Clinic — featuring live animals, and Acrobat Ranch — featuring a circus theme in a variety show. In the succeeding years came other children’s shows and animated cartoons like The Small Fry Club, Tillstrom’s Kukla, Fran and Ollie, Howdy Doody Time, the Mighty Mouse Playhouse, etc.

The history of children’s television traces back a couple of decades ago, almost at the same time that television made drastic improvements and enhancements in its technology. If you try to skim back on the history of children’s television shows, you’ll realize that this evolution started and gradually developed as families start to watch TV together, the programs were geared to families especially the young ones, and the advertisements were targeted to adults. Nowadays, not only are there TV stations featuring an hour or two of children’s programs, but there are actually TV networks that only air kids’ shows, wholly devoted to airing cartoons, children’s programs, etc.

Presenting the history of children’s television shows makes people realize that something evolves because of the need and demand of the times. It just didn’t pop-up from nowhere, suddenly hit TV, and then conquered the homes. It has been a gradual transition catering to the masses.