Virtual Allwood Drive TV

Click on picture for video
Sandy Becker had an afternoon kid's show on WNEW-TV, Channel 5 in New York from the fifties through at least the mid-sixties. It had various incarnations, at one point known as The Sandy Becker Show and at another, Sandy's Hour. Sandy also hosted Wonderama before Sonny Fox took over. Among the things that made Sandy's show so popular were the recurring, offbeat characters he'd do. These included Norton Nork, a naive young man who never spoke. Norton would be guided, by Sandy's offstage voice, through one of the practical little lessons of life, like how to fold the paper to read while hanging onto a subway strap (remember, this was a New York show). Another character was The Big Professor, who wore a mortarboard and academic gown, walking on camera to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance. Every day he'd answer a question sent in by a young member of the audience.
But no Sandy Becker fan will forget Sandy's most popular character of all -- Hambone. Dancing onto camera at each appearance to the wild Hambone Song, which had enjoyed some popularity on top 40 radio in New York and which Becker said was the inspiration for the character, Hambone wore a pith helmet, what looked like the uniform of an officer in some 19th century European army and a pair of telescoping glasses. At each appearance Hambone would come out with a completely incomprehensible slogan, like "Cut the grass, so the ants can pass." Hambone can only be fully appreciated when seen in performance. Click on his picture above for video of the one and only Sandy Becker as Hambone.

Sandy's theme song, at least in the early to mid- sixties, was Bert Kaempfert's catchy Afrikaan Beat. He also used Kaempfert's That Happy Feeling going in and out of commercials; Channel 5 used the same tune for its "We are experiencing technical difficulties" moments.
In the fifties and early sixties Sandy was on twice a day, with a morning show at 8 and the afternoon show at 6:30. In addition to the live characters he created, Sandy used a number of puppets -- the best known of which was Geeba-Geeba. And Sandy's dog, Schatzi, was a fixture on the program.

Sandy and His Characters
left to right: Norton Nork, Dr. Gesundheit, Sandy, Hambone, The Big Professor

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