The Magic Cottage
Synopsis of Saturday Morning Show
Classic fables and modern tales came to life through splendid drawings on The Magic Cottage. Hostess/artist Pat Meikle already had a large fan base of youngsters thanks to her earlier work on Dumont Kindergarten (a.k.a. The TV Babysitter), and the kids were more than happy to join her on this new program.
Produced by Meikle’s husband Hal Cooper (later the executive producer of Maude and Gimme a Break!), The Magic Cottage was filmed on a stage designed to look like a tiny stone cottage. In reality, the show was filmed at Wanamaker Department Store in Manhattan (also home to Captain Video’s production), where a group of children watched in a live audience as Pat drew her magical pictures on a large easel.
Through her drawings, Pat illustrated stories like “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” while one of her many animated friends helped her narrate. The most famous of these was Wilmer the Pigeon, a carryover from Meikle’s earlier shows, who spoke in pidgin English, naturally. A more cost-conscious helper was Mr. Voice From Nowhere, who kept production expenses down by never actually showing his face. Together with her friends, Pat shared thrilling, non-violent tales, always saving the ending for the next episode in true cliffhanger style.
In between stories, Pat and company kept things moving with games, contests and other material as a change of pace for the audience both in the studio and at home. They weren’t really necessary, since the combination of timeless fables and Pat’ charming drawings was enough to keep kids spellbound. The show ran for two successful seasons, airing weekday evenings on the Dumont network, but its influence has lasted well beyond its relatively brief run, inspiring countless would-be artists and storytellers to pick up the paintbrush and get to work.
Release History7/18/49 - 2/9/51 Dumont
TV Sub Categorieslive-action
Trendle, Wrather Corporation