Take a gander: Website crowing about rare Garfield Goose video
It’s not quite the Holy Grail, but to fans of Chicago television history, it’s a discovery sure to warm their hearts.
Forty years after the only time it aired, footage from an episode of Garfield Goose and Friends has been unearthed and digitally restored by the Museum of Classic Chicago Television, the online repository of local video gems collected by curator and founder Rick Klein.
Although Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9 aired the daily children’s show in color, Klein said his anonymous donor recorded the 10-minute segment in black and white on an early home video reel-to-reel machine.
On Wednesday, Klein posted about a 2½ -minute “preview” of the footage. (Here is the link to the excerpt.) Believed to be from December 1971, it features host Frazier Thomas describing craft projects sent in by young viewers to Garfield Goose and Romberg Rabbit. Even in the brief excerpt, the genius of puppeteer Roy Brown in infusing life and expression into the characters is a marvel to behold.
In the series, which premiered in Chicago in 1952, Thomas played prime minister to a hand puppet who wore a crown, lived in a castle and believed he was “king of the United States.” He conceived the character in Cincinnati, based on childhood memories of nuns in his neighborhood who’d entertain children with a puppet they called The Hungry Goose. Thomas died after suffering a stroke outside his office at WGN studios in 1985.
“This is a MAJOR discovery since footage from this show is extremely rare," Klein said. "You can pretty much count on one hand the amount of Garfield Goose clips that still exist.” He plans to post the full 10-minute clip next month along with additional tapes now being transferred.
Transfer costs are financed by donations from fans of Klein’s online museum.