Happy 95th, Sonny Fox

(Above: Sonny Fox and friend on ‘Wonderama,’ source YouTube video)

If you were a kid in the New York City area during the 1960s, you may have a smile on your face after reading the above headline. That’s because Sonny Fox, who turns 95 today, June 17, ruled over your Sunday mornings as host of the four-hour extravaganza Wonderama.

Fox’s Wonderama ran from 1959 through 1967 on channel 5, now New York’s Fox (no relation) station. He presided over a mix of cartoons, interviews with guests or just with children in the audience, instructional and cultural segments, and just about anything else that would interest kids and fill up his marathon timeslot.

Very few clips of Sonny Fox’s Wonderama exist. You can find five of them at SonnyFoxTV on YouTube, including a touching segment with kids questioning Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and another with Fox walking the beat with a city cop.

The following two, even rarer, clips come from Ira H. Gallen’s TVDays. In the first, guest Lew Gifford discusses the art of animation. In the second, possibly the longest extant Wonderama clip (20 minutes), Korean performers introduce kids to another culture.

Older readers outside New York may also remember Fox due to his nationally hosted shows: Let’s Take a Trip (CBS, 1955-1958), The $64,000 Challenge (CBS, 1956), On Your Mark (ABC, 1961), The Movie Game (syndicated, 1969) and Way Out Games (CBS, 1976-1977).

Here are complete episodes of Let’s Take a Trip and The Movie Game:

But, for a generation of New Yorkers, Sonny Fox will always be synonymous with Wonderama. So here’s another gem from that show, which is also Fox’s personal favorite:

For more, visit sonnyfox.tv.

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About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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