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Series / Romper Room

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An American educational TV show that was highly influential to the Edutainment Show genre, Romper Room aired from 1953 to 1994 and was a rare case of a show being franchised and syndicated (i.e., local affiliates could produce and air their own versions without having to air one single national version, although there was a national version made for affiliates that didn't have their own local version of the show). The format also was exported to other countries, such as the UK, Japan, and Australia. The show was created by Bert and Nancy Claster of Claster Television.

The general premise of Romper Room was that a woman serving as the hostess of the show would spend about an hour doing various activities with a group of children, such as storytelling, exercising, singing songs, etc. At the end of each episode, the teacher would look into a "magic mirror" and say the names of the children who the magic mirror thinks are having a good day.

Not to be confused with Romper Stomper.

This work provides examples of:

  • Alliterative Title
  • Anti-Role Model: Don't Bee demonstrates to children how not to do certain things.
  • Edutainment Show: Likely a Trope Codifier, being one of the earliest American edutainment shows out there (by no means is it the first one from America, though; Ding Dong School predates it by a year).
  • Every Episode Ending: All episodes ended with the teacher looking through the Magic Mirror to see who was watching.
  • Fake Interactivity: Yup, it used this. In particular, the concept is played with using the Magic Mirror that the teacher would look through at the end of each episode to "see" who was watching the show. Since 1. this was a show franchise produced by local stations and 2. the teacher named off children who had written to the show, it was likely that she might give the name of a child who was watching.
  • Long Runner: Ran for 41 years. Romper Room was known as the longest running children's television show in America until Sesame Street beat that record in 2010.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Claster Television, the show's creator, was bought by Hasbro in 1969, making Romper Room merchandise inevitable. A watchdog group called Action for Children's Television (ACT) actually confronted the version of the show that aired on WHDH-TV in Boston due to the show's tendency to promote its line of merchandise, and as a result of their intervention the show stopped promoting its own merchandise.
  • Phoney Call: Several local versions have had the teacher receive "a phone call" from a safety officer (usually, "the police chief" or "the fire chief") as part of a safety lesson. Often, these lessons tended to be graphic, even for 4- and 5-year-old kids... such as what happens when children run with scissors or look directly at the sun. Usually, a large phone prop was sitting on the desk, and was first seen after a commercial break... letting viewers know that they can expect the phone to ring (obvious sound effects) at any moment.
  • Product Placement: The show had a tendency to promote its Hasbro-produced line of merchandise, which they stopped doing after their run-in with ACT.
  • Protagonist and Friends: Well, more like Show Title and Friends, but the show was given a revamp in 1981 under the name Romper Room and Friends.
  • Punny Name: There was a puppet character featured on the show named Do Bee, which is meant to sound like "do be", whose purpose was to teach children proper etiquette.
  • Retool: In 1981, the show was reworked and syndicated as Romper Room and Friends. In addition to having one host, Molly McCloskey, three puppets were added to the show: a full costume puppet named Kimble, a clown named Up-Up and Granny Cat. These puppets appeared in short skits inserted into local versions of the show.
  • Right Way/Wrong Way Pair: Do Bee, who teaches children what to do, and Don't Bee, who teaches children what not to do.
  • Short-Runner: The Paraguay version only ran for 17 episodes due to all three of its hosts having a Role-Ending Misdemeanor of some kind.
  • Strictly Formula: Episodes begin with a greeting from the teacher, who then does various activities with her group of children for about an hour, and then ends the episode by looking through a magic mirror to see who's having a good day.
  • Title Theme Tune and Word Salad Lyrics: In the theme song used for Romper Room and Friends: "Ding dong, knock knock, hey nanny noo! Bing bong, tick tock, bee bop boom! Flip flop, up up, meenie miney moo! Bompity stompity Romper Room!"
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: The format was exported to various countries, including Canada (first with various local versions in the 1960s as in the U.S., then with a national version on CTV from 1972-92), the United Kingdom (ITV franchises Anglia, Ulster and Grampian each had their own versions in the 1960s-70s), Australia (who also did local versions as well as a national version on Seven Network from 1974-88), Japan (Ronpārūmu aired on NTV from 1963-79), Hong Kong (Siusiu Lokyuen aired on Asia Television's Chinese channel in the late 60s-early 70s) and Paraguay (a 17-episode run in 1988; its run was cut short by a series of role-ending misdemeanors on the part of its hosts).