Kelly - The showbiz pseudonym of actress Sally Baker who
hosted the popular children's show HOBO KELLY that first aired in
color on KTTV-TV Channel 11 in 1965 from 7:30-9:00 AM and later on
KCOP-TV Channel 13 in Los Angeles in 1971 as well as KPTV channel 12
in Portland and WTCN-TV in Minneapolis.
Hobo Kelly - the loveable
Irish vagabond - lived in a mythical, magical place called Hobo
Junction. She sported a floppy green hat, red hair, and a face full
of greasepaint as she entertained a generation of children (her
"Mischief Makers") every weekday morning through the 1970s.
most local kiddies shows, the program featured the mandatory
cartoons ("Cartoons Hoooo!"), contests, prizes, and zoo animals.
From time to time Hobo Kelly donned a pair of over-sizes glasses
that allowed her to magically "see" her audience. And there was also
her toy machine with a big smiling face on the front that turned
junk ("bits and pieces") into fantastic toys that she gave away to
the lucky winner of a daily drawing.
Assisting Hobo Kelly were such
puppet characters as Dum Dum the bull dog; Miss Molly the Ostrich; Ringo the Rabbit; Bridget O’ Bird (who preferred a swimming pool to
a bird bath); Buttercup the Butterfly who helped Hobo Kelly paint
magic pictures that came alive on the TV screen; and human characters
like Uncle Mike, the bumbling old postman; and The Ginger Bread Man
(Sally in a Gingerbread suit).
Hobo Kelly Theme Song
H-O-B-O K-E-Double L-Y
Hobo Kelly, sure and be-gor-ah 'tis I!
Come on along to Hobo Junction
Where fun happens ev'ry minute
It's a mythical, magical kind of place...
--Words an Music by John McCarthy
Off screen, Sally Baker took her job
as a children's show host very seriously. She participated in
charitable events like Toys for Tots and followed up on fan letters
sent to her show and offered advice to children with problems and
visited sick children (some diagnosed with cancer) to give her
condolences and best wishes.
In the late 1970s, Sally Baker, a
veteran of an exercise show, cooking shows and even a weathergirl for
the local news, returned to television on KHJ-TV (now KCAL) as the
hostess of a morning puppet show called FROOZLES that aired at
7:00am each weekday. The show featured Julie Crutch, an intelligent
handicapped character, Michelle, a star Asian athlete, Michael an
math-smart African-American, and Manuel a Latino with excellent
Before her career in show business Sally Baker was
just plain Sally Schurman who was raised on the north side of
Chicago. She created the idea for her Hobo character in 1960 in
Peoria, Illinois and then moved to California where she married Walt
Baker, a fellow broadcaster who helped direct the highly successful
HOBO KELLY program. In fact, within the first 11 months of the
show's debut in Los Angeles, Sally Baker received over 350,000
pieces of fan mail.
Throughout her career, Sally Baker has been an
advocate of Irish causes and once even convinced the Mayor of Los
Angeles to raise the Irish flag over City Hall for St. Patrick's
Where is she now? At last report, we found her attending the KCOP/UPN13 50th Anniversary Celebration retrospective on channel
13's half century of historic and entertaining TV programming on
Wednesday, June 24, 1998 at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre.
earlier retrospective of local broadcasting in 1991 Sally expressed
her concern to the Los Angeles Times that "Children need to be
taught consequences," she said. "When there's a host, children can
make a connection, but programs today (non-hosted action-adventures
shows) are dehumanizing our populace. Things need to be put into
scripts to help children grow up safely."
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