Smilin' Ed McConnell and His Buster Brown Gang (Andy's Gang)
Synopsis of Saturday Morning Show
This beloved children's program starred host Ed McConnell, who, with the aid of a revolving cast of characters and puppets including Midnight the Cat and Squeaky the Mouse, told stories and introduced filmed segments like Ghanga the Jungle Boy and Buster Brown (the shoe manufacturer was the show's sponsor). When Smilin' Ed hollered, "Plunk your magic twanger, Froggy!", it meant an appearance from one of the show's most popular characters, Froggy the Gremlin.
Smilin’ Ed McConnell was a most unlikely childrens show host. A larger than average man wearing thick, horn-rimmed glasses, he seemed to lack the fatherly kindness of Fred Rogers or Bob Keeshan. Nevertheless, he hosted Smilin’Ed McConnell and his Buster Brown Gang for four years until his death in 1954.
Aside from the strangeness of McConnell himself, the series also had a bizarre senese of humor. For some reason, Froggy delighted in causing destruction, not just to Ed and his gang, but all over the world. One of his “harmless” pranks involved changing the weather in Alaska because he wanted to hurt the Eskimos
When Smilin' Ed died, the network aired a season of reruns before finding a suitable replacement. Gravel-throated Andy Devine took over as host in 1955, and the show was retitled Andy's Gang. The retooled show was broadcast only locally in New York for the rest of its run, apart from one season on NBC in 1957-58.
Release History8/11/51 - 6/28/58 CBS, NBC, ABC
TV Sub Categorieslive-action
Television CastHost Ed McConnell
Host Andy Devine
Midnight the Cat June Foray
Old Grandie the Piano June Foray
Tige Bud Tolefson
Froggy the Gremlin Archie Presby
Poet Algernon Archibald Alan Reed
Percival Shortfellow Alan Reed
Buster Brown Jerry Brown
Various Characters Bill Gilbert
Various Characters Bill Rodriguez
Ghanga the Elephant Boy Nino Marcell
Indian Little Fox Nino Marcell
Rama Vito Scotti
Maharaja of Bakore Lou Krugman