Remembering Sonny Fox

Word reached The Savvy Screener today about the January 24 death of Sonny Fox. To honor him, we are republishing — with some updating –the following article that we wrote on the occasion of his 95th birthday last June.

If you were a kid in the New York City area during the 1960s, you may be extra sad learning about Fox’s death. That’s because Sonny Fox 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 time slot.

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 and a city cop walking the beat.

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 was also Fox’s personal favorite:

For more, visit sonnyfox.tv.

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

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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