Channel 3 Clubhouse and West Michigan Children’s TV Programming

I don’t know how much TV I watched as a little kid. It was enough that I still know the schedule of the programs I actually cared about. On weekdays, Bozo the Clown on WZZM–an ABC affiliate, Captain Kangaroo on WMMT (then WKZO), and Channel 3 Clubhouse following it.

Pretty much everyone’s heard of Bozo and Captain Kangaroo. Outside of West Michigan, Channel 3 Clubhouse is unknown.

It lasted from 1955 to 1985. It included a host (Cynthia Kay when I was watching), puppets (Nigel and Lambert the lion), a crowd of local children, games and possibly (I’m not sure of this) cuts to cartoons.

As it happens, Cynthia Kay has since gone on to run her own media production company. The website includes links naming her as one of the most influential women in West Michigan, her business as a top women-owned business in West Michigan, and also as small business of the year (2005).

Oddly enough, one of the places I work for regularly contracts her to create video presentations. On Friday, I dropped by her business to pick up a stack of DVD’s she’d produced.

Though she’s been at various offices that GRACE has owned, I’d never actually talked to her before and thus never mentioned that I’d watched her on TV.

I did this time.

She put her hand on my shoulder and said (exactly as she might have if I’d been five and on the show), “So, what’s your name? How old are you?”

I laughed, and we moved on to talk about things relevant to the task at hand.

I told my wife about it though.

“I’m jealous,” she said. “I always wanted to be on that show.”

So yeah, no matter what honors and success Cynthia Kay achieves she will still be known (to people who spent the 1970’s watching children’s TV in West Michigan) as the host of Channel 3 Clubhouse. I’ve no idea whether this amuses or disturbs her. Perhaps I should have asked.

P. S. Oh, and should Cynthia Kay google herself and read this entry, I have a question for her. My wife wants to know what happened to the puppets after Channel 3 Clubhouse was canceled. Do you have any idea?

74 thoughts on “Channel 3 Clubhouse and West Michigan Children’s TV Programming”

  1. The first time I was on Club house was in 1956 Bennie Brown was the host and we started the show by saying “Bennie, Bennie,Bennie Brown where are you? At the end of the show we were given a jar of Bosco.

  2. My mother-in-law tells a story of the time my husbands older brother and he were on Club House. It must have been in the late 50’s when my husband ( at about age 3 the time ) was egged on to spank Beanie Brown by his brother and his older cohorts AND HE DID!!! ON LIVE TELEVISION!!! When I heard the story I have neeeveeer laughed sooo hard. If I could only watch the old film I’m sure it would be a thing of magic. Any help would be great. Is Beanie Brown or Linderman still alive?

  3. i was on the club house in the late 70s mayby early 80s. is there a way to view the older shows?

  4. Thanks for your post- I was trying so hard to remember the name of this show! Boy, I will never forget how I got to be on the show. Even more amazing was when I met Cynthia Kay in the bathroom and she said hi to me! I vaguely remember that she wore maybe a checked brown shirt and brown overalls and had feathered hair???

  5. I was a neighbor of Bennie Brown ( Ted Linderman) he had 4 children his 2 girls are the ages of my sister and I, we were on the show several times in the early 60’s, just this week I had diner with one of his daughters, I would love to know how to find footage of some of his show’s, before clubhouse he had a show I believe it was Ted and me he was a ventriloquist, would love to see some of this footage also.

  6. I appeared (with my twin sister) on Channel 3 Clubhouse August 12th of 1975 or 1976. Is there a way that I would be able to get a copy of this? Wanted to surprise Twin A!

  7. I donated my black and white pony, with 4 white socks to the Cheff Therapeutic riding center and you had him on once back in the late 70’s. His name was Boots or Bootsy. Do you have any pictures from then.

  8. Called about 6 yrs ago asking about a copy of me at the club house.. the man said he would have to see were that film had be placed and they have it you know how I can see or get a copy would of been 72 or 73 sonoma school..thank-you

  9. My sister and I were on the first Beany Brown show. My dad, Ward Swenson was involved somehow. I was about 5

  10. I was on the clubhouse in 78 maybe 79, maybe 80…I remember there being a tortoise , I called it a turtle I may have petted it or tried to. Would love to see a copy.

  11. I would like to know how to get a copy I was on ch3 clubhouse when I was 5 I would love to have copy I was wearing a Bugs Bunny dress.kathy sweet

  12. WOW, I was on this show in the late 60’s! Some of my cousins, my sister and went on the show! played games on commercials and won those HUGE Slow-poke suckers! Since not all of us won one….my mom broke it up with a hammer and we all got some.

  13. I was on the show must have been 71 great memories, would love to hsve s copy of that.

  14. I was on late 70s early 80s… probably 79-80 … if I remember the question was about things that flew and I think I said helicopters… Tommy Lunsford would have been who I was then. did they keep records of the guests?

  15. Us Mills cousins are also Channel 3 Clubhouse Alumni. My brother was so nervous he repeated his cousin Tom’s name instead of his own, and I sat with my thumb in my mouth. lmao
    How fun it would be to find the archived recording, I think that’s my next mission, especially since my brother died from brain cancer just 4 months ago. I wish I’d thought of this earlier so we could share some belly laughs of our geeky, short pants, thumb sucking claim to fame.
    Thanks for the flashback, Jim!

  16. I remember our cub scout den being on the Sat. AM Buck Barry Rodeo (1957?) and Buck was doing the Bemo auction–that’s where you used the cut out prices on the bags as “money”. I don’t remember the item up for bid but there was some kid (now this was all live) bidding up a storm. What ever the bid was this kid raised it to the ceiling. Not sure what the final bid was–let’s say it was 8,000 points–well, Buck says “here’s the lucky winner”…and the poor kid had like 150 points in his bag. Old Buck stood there, stuttering, “Well, I guess we gotta find the 2nd highest bidding…”

    Those were the days…10 cent comics, nickel candy bars, 25 cent movies…

  17. I would like to see footage of Beanie Brown doing his drawing from a wiggly line ; a kid would make a small scribble and Beanie would turn it in to a picture . I wonder if he is still living .

  18. My sister was on there with her brownie troop in ’78 or ’79. How can I get a copy of the episode???

  19. My dad was Tex, top hand of the “Golden G Ranchers Club”, sponsored by Lockshore Farms and was frequently a guest on the Beannie Brown Show in the late fifties early sixties. On one occasion he brought a Holstein cow on stage that had an accident and let loose all over the camera man! He was not a happy camper, to put it mildly. Great memories!

  20. My son was on channel 3clubhouse in 78-79. Heljust turned 42yrs an I would love to surprise him with a copy How do I get it please let me know if you can help me.

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