Good news! Someone’s dead, someone’s alive!

Celebrate! Tom Metzger is dead and rotting.

Tom Metzger, a racist ideologue who became one of the most influential figures in the nation’s White supremacist movement and mentored a violent generation of neo-Nazis from his Fallbrook home, has died.

He’s one of those people you can just feel gleeful at hearing that he’s dead, without feeling the slightest twinge of guilt.

But perhaps that news, while satisfying, is a little grim for your taste. Here’s something lighter: I learned today that Wunda Wunda has turned 100, and is still alive!

Most of you are scratching your heads and saying “Who?”. She was a local children’s TV host who people of a certain age who grew up near Seattle will remember fondly, a kind of Mr Rogers predecessor, who read children’s stories to her puppets. I’m curious how many of my readers will know who I’m talking about.

Anyway, one vicious, nasty racist dies, one kind gentle woman lives on. The balance of the universe has improved.


  1. says

    In Oregon the “books read aloud to kids on a show with puppets” role was played by Bumpity, himself a puppet. I still remember Bumpity fondly, and I further remember a time in the latest 1990s or early 2000s when I entered the library to pick up my holds and there were flyers up asking for anyone who remembered Bumpity to participate in a documentary.

    I did not end up giving an interview to the documentarians, but I was excited to see that the documentary was being made and reminiscing about Bumpity. All of which is to say, I can imagine a little bit of what you must feel upon hearing of Wunda Wunda again (and in a good context). Happy day for you, then!

  2. says

    The one I remember from those days was the Ramblin’ Rod show. A low budget Portland show on the last independent broadcast station in the state with just enough money to buy licenses for a few old Tom and Jerry cartoons and some cartoony plush costumes. Oh the 80s. A time of simple pleasures, because you couldn’t afford anything besides the barest necessities.

  3. hemidactylus says

    She must be local to the Northwest. My childhood was Championship Wresting with Gordon Solie and Creature Feature (pre MST3K treat).

    In my day watched on B&W TV with rabbit ears and a UHF dial you had to get off the seat to tune. We were poorer more so some years than others. Oh and no air conditioning in summer Florida.

    When visiting relatives in New England I was introduced to the Banana Splits. There was a recent nostalgic BS movie that scarred me for life. Not the happy go lucky kids variety show I recalled.

  4. JoeBuddha says

    Friend of mine lived down the street from her. She was known as a weird lady. And she was. I watched her anyway. They were ALL pretty strange, now that I think about it.

  5. raven says

    I do not remember her at all, and I remember J.P. Patches!

    I remember J.P. Patches too, although not well. He was on but I never watched him. Don’t remember Wunda Wunda.

    From that era, it was Superman, Cosmo (Topper), The Lone Ranger, and Howdy Doody.

  6. hemidactylus says

    Come to think of it I recall we had an outdoor antenna beside the house and I think I turned it to improve reception. It may have helped for VHF and UHF, but when we had cable I rigged an attachment to that outdoor antenna for picking up FM radio. Wasn’t much into AM.

    Now I am more concerned with cellular tower adjacency. Different times.

  7. brightmoon says

    I remember Shari Lewis and Lambchop . Bozo the clown and Romper Room . I remember the woman on Romper Room had a magic mirror and she tell the kids that she could see them . I remember being so jealous of my little sister because she called her name . Flash forward, 30 years , a new version of Romper Room was on and she finally called my name . I was elated and felt silly at the same time :)

  8. tororosoba says

    From the Metzger article:
    “Metzger ran for a North County congressional seat and won the Democratic primary”.
    What? I guess we can be glad another candidate (Republican?) won in this case.
    “three local skinheads beat to death an Ethiopian college student”
    Metzger means “butcher”. No offense to butchers (some of my friends are butchers), but its a fitting name.
    For more information, including a TV interview with Metzger by Whoopie Goldberg (this is not a joke), see

  9. Thomas Scott says

    Wanda Wanda, J.P. Patches, Brakeman Bill, Capt. Puget, Stan Boreson, I remember them all. They were great friends and I’m not ashamed to say that I miss them.

  10. wburton says

    Sure I remember Wunda Wunda. Great children’s shows in the Seattle area with her, JP Patches (my favorite), Brakeman Bill, and Stan Boreson.

  11. captainjack says

    I watched Captain Penny, Ron Penfound, in Cleveland in the 50’s afternoons after school. He was a good guy but his show was mostly a platform for Little Rascals and Three Stooges shorts, and Warner Brothers cartoons. I have 3 brothers and consider myself lucky I grew up without haven’t an eye poked out.

  12. robro says

    I don’t know this specific one, but like others here I remember our local version of it. I think her name was “Miss Penny…” something. She would have children on the show to read to them. Imagine, a nation using the latest media technology to model literacy and gentelness. I wonder what nation that was.

  13. wzrd1 says

    I remember a few, Fred Rogers, Captain Kellogg (sp?), insulin shock from Captain Noah and fragments now and again, but I was born in late 1961.
    My earliest memory was Mom telling me, uselessly, not to squirm or I might get stuck with a diaper pin. Predictably for me, got stuck with the pin.
    I do have good timing at times,visually to my benefit…
    Next memory in line, unusually, Mom wanted to have the Muntz TV babysit, while she took the curtains down for laundering. JFK died while I watched.
    The curtains got done the following day.

    There are moments that I hate humanity, then someone does something so special, unique and at such a great risk, as to fall in love with our species all over again.
    What a species of confounders!!!

  14. says

    Growing up in British Columbia, I watched JP Patches. Wunda Wunda was before my time, though considering what Seattle TV shows were like, it would have been worth watching.

  15. vucodlak says

    Wasn’t really allowed to watch that kind of show, growing up, so I never really connected with any of this sort of thing during my childhood. But then, a few months ago, I saw for the first time a clip of Mr. Rogers going on about how he loves us just the way we are, even if we don’t do anything special to ‘earn’ it, I’d have broken down sobbing if I weren’t too broken to do that sort of thing.

    No one told me.

    Never heard of her, but I’m glad Wunda Wunda lives.

  16. redwood says

    I’m still waiting for the kids’ TV show featuring Master Bates. I think that was his rank in the Navy.

  17. fergl says

    Redwood. That show was Captain Pugwash with Master Bates and Seaman Staines. Unfortunately this was a myth as no such characters appeared in the show.

  18. birgerjohansson says

    it would be delightful if it turns out he died from complications of COVID19 -as the nuts regard the pandemic as a hoax. As many of that lot believe in social darwinism this will be a demonstration of selection pressure in action.
    Childrens TV hosts -what about the TV hosts set in the “present”?

  19. Loree says

    I grew up in the Seattle area and I remember both JP Patches and Wunda Wunda as well as Brakeman Bill, Romper Room and The Stan Boreson show. Stan Boreson was famous for his Norwegian accent, playing the accordion and making parody versions of songs like “Yingle Bells”. He was the original Weird Al.

    I also spent my very early childhood in Portland Oregon and was part of the studio audience on a local kids show called Uncle Charlie’s Den once.

  20. birgerjohansson says

    The balance of the Universe has improved?
    Not so fast. Stephen Colbert has a scary analogy about Ctulhu.

  21. Reginald Selkirk says

    Someone else I won’t miss:
    Davis Hawke’s father says his son wanted power and influence, but settled for spam money

    Police declared last week that it was Hawke’s remains that were found in a burned-out vehicle on the Cheekye Forest Service Road back in June 2017. …
    Hawke, who was born Andrew Britt Greenbaum, had been sued by the internet service provider because he had made a sizeable sum of money spamming clients of the service for penis enlargements…
    Hawke started a hate a group and a neo-Nazi website…
    “Then that flopped when he tried to organize a neo-Nazi march in Washington D.C., and hardly anybody showed up for it. When that happened, he just abandoned that, I think, completely, and that’s when he really got into the spamming. And he made quite a bit of money spamming.”

  22. redwood says

    @23 Thanks, fergl. I knew I’d heard of that somewhere (I forgot about Seaman Staines, poor sod) and I knew it was fake, but I wish it would be real. They could have guests like Ben Dover and I. P. Freely on.

  23. charley says

    I got to go on Buck Barry’s Buckaroo Rodeo for placing in their essay contest on “What Christmas Means to Me,” by transcribing my mom’s thoughts on the topic. My prize was a Crime Buster multifunction toy gun half as big as me.

  24. maireaine46 says

    Captain Kangaroo, Howdy Doody,, Romper Room,, Shari Lewis and Lambchop, and when I was a really little kid, Uncle Fred’s Junior Frolics in the NY-NJ area. Uncle Fred showed very old Farmer Gray cartoons which featured many mice. Glad Wunda Wunda is still among us, and one evil neo-nazi is not.

  25. says

    Romper Room was both syndicated and locally produced. There was a program produced for the national market, and bigger stations often produced their own local versions. So whoever the Miss X was you saw depended on when and where you saw it. That pattern applied in Canada for some years as well. The version that came out of CKCO in Windsor became the national broadcast starting in 1972 until the show ended in 1992.

    This is more my style:

  26. says

    @12 yup all of those! Stan Boreson had a great theme song AND Nomo! JP Patches was HILARIOUS and got funnier the older you got. Those guys were having a ball, the stuff that must’ve been going on off stage (evidenced by how often, JP, Ketchacan the Animal Man, Gertrude, Professor Wiener von Brown, Miss Smith, etc all played by the same actors) broke character . JoeCephus JoeCya Tooey was the producer\ director and all part of the reigning insanity . He was also The Count , host of the late night Nightmare Theater. I once went to a JP event in my late teens to get a photo with him and like the douche I was at the time asked if I could sit on his lap (har har har) he was so embarrassed, and good guy that he was politely declined. I apologized. I LOVED those guys! Oh, and when I was little I REALLY wanted a duck like the one Wunda Wunda had that picked cards with it’s bill.

  27. hackerguitar says

    Good riddance to Metzger. I remember being horrified when Rolling Stone profiled him back in the early eighties.

    Kids shows…..I had a friend who ran a local one on local cable, and it was wonderful. There were a few programs that repeated year over year with variations (basic be nice lessons, alphabets, numbers, colors) but on the whole it had enough latitude to be great, and it was, within its small metro area.

  28. davidc1 says

    Ah ,British Kids TV ,The Wooden Topps ,Andy Pandy ,The Flowerpot Men (which had a flower called weed in it )
    All those Gerry and Sylvia Anderson shows .
    The Magic Roundabout .
    And the American stuff ,The Hair Bear Bunch
    Wacky Races ,and it’s spin offs .
    The Banana Splits .
    Top Cat ,or as we knew it ,Boss Cat .Top Cat was a brand of Cat food ,so the BBC changed it’s name .
    Whenever i read on faceache about a gammon ranting about Sharia Law being forced on GB .
    I say, wasn’t she the one who worked with Lamb Chop.

    Off to listen to the theme tune from Fireball XL5 .

  29. says

    oh and JP was one of the only non creepy clowns – mostly because he didn’t portray a “HEY KIDS-YUCK YUCK YUCK IT’S MEEEE JAY PEE!!!!!!!! – ” Krusty-like schtick – he was just a guy, who just happened to have a clown face – he always looked thoroughly bemused and had the kindest eyes in the buisness!

  30. Owlmirror says

    “Metzger ran for a North County congressional seat and won the Democratic primary”.
    What? I guess we can be glad another candidate (Republican?) won in this case.

    Keep in mind that at the local level, there’s nothing to prevent a bigot from filing as a Democrat. Kim Davis, for example, was such a Democrat (who later switched to Republican).

  31. davidc1 says

    @40 And Chorlton And The Wheelies ,my late father and myself used to force my niece to watch it because we liked it .
    Not proud of myself ,but i would do it again .
    Just joking .