The Ramblin' Rod Show 1970-1979

The opening to the show, 1972, began with Rod's trusty life

The 1970s may have ushered in a new era for American culture, but for The Ramblin' Rod Cartoon Show, it was business as usual.  The same ingredients that made Rod's show an immediate hit in the 1960s, proved just as popular in the next decade.

Popeye and Bugs Bunny continued to be the primary source of animated entertainment, along with Hanna-Barbera favorites Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Lippy the Lion, Wally Gator, Touch Turtle and others.  Children still competed in the "smile contest" for candy and prizes. Birthday guest were still serenaded by a bleacher full of tone-deaf well-wishers. 

As the decade progressed, however, the television landscape began to change.  KPTV, as an independent, had ample time during the day for local programs. The other Portland stations, however, found themselves with fewer available hours, as ABC, CBS and NBC expanded their soap opera, game show and news franchises. The local children's shows, so abundant since TV's early days, started to disappear. By 1973, even KPTV stalwarts "Rusty Nails" and "Hobo Kelly" would sign off, leaving Rod as the last local kid's show in the market.

Younger viewers may not realize that Ramblin' Rod's sweater
didn't always have buttons!

Another change would take place in 1975, as for the first time, The Ramblin' Rod Cartoon Show would be tape recorded, instead of airing live. KPTV moved the show to weekday mornings, and children who appeared on the show in the afternoon could now watch themselves the following morning.

Buoyed by a lack of competition, Rod's show was expanded to an hour. Parents, anxious to see their child on TV, found themselves having to make reservations weeks or even months in advance.

Rod's popularity continued to rise, and he continued to make public appearances at parades, fairs and festivals. He also reached outside of the children's community, doing live commercials for Mike Salta Pontiac, appearing on the yearly Jerry Lewis Telethon and taking over the hosting duties of 12 in the Morning from Gene Brendler. 

Rod's attire expanded, too, to include a brown sweater, which by the end of the decade, began sporting buttons given to him by adoring fans. 

The opening moments of another Ramblin' Rod Show: Rod
welcomes an excited--and fidgety--group of children.

Rod gives a tip of the hat to long-time sponsor, Shakey's Pizza.

1972: KPTV's station identification for Rod included his cartoon

Orange Crush, an early sponsor of the program, got prime
positioning on Rod's boat.

Rod's boat gets a 70s upgrade, a new logo and racing stripes.

Rod gets ready to introduce "another cartoon... here we

Rod chats with his guests. Every child on the program got his
or her moment in front of the camera.

1973 station identification for the show.

Late 1970s: Opening credits are produced, featuring a TV set
and a pair of hands desperately looking for (what else?)
Ramblin's Rod Show.

Sitting in the bleachers next to a young fan, Rod never tried
to separate himself from the children who came to see him.

"So long, everybodyyyyyyy!" Another Ramblin' Rod Show 
ends as Rod waves and "rides" his boat behind the set and off

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This page last updated on January 13, 2006

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