Kids' TV - a partial picture; Kids' TV: The First Twenty-Five Years, by Stuart Fischer. New York: Facts on File Publications. 277 pp. $12.95 (paper).
Stuart Fischer's encyclopedic guide to children's television programs is not without flaws. Yet members of the TV generation will so enjoy what is here that one can only hope that criticism will lead to a revised and expanded second edition.Skip to next paragraph
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Fischer's book covers children's television from 1946 to 1973 (actually, the first 27 years), listing the programs season by season along with brief notes and essays accompanying each listing. Flipping through the pages you will uncover a world you may have thought you had forgotten about: Howdy Doody, Captain Kangaroo, Underdog, Dudley Do-Right.
Two serious errors mar this work, one of commission and one of omission. Fischer illustrates his text with stills from the programs and, in the case of the animated series, has tended to rely on printed advertisements and comic books rather than production stills. This, of course, may be attributed in part to lack of availability.
The other problem is Fischer's choice of what programs to exclude. Where are ''Dennis the Menace'' and ''Leave It to Beaver,'' two situation comedies that were geared to the younger audience? Public television shows like ''Sesame Street'' and ''Mister Rogers' Neighborhood'' are hardly mentioned. No guidelines are offered to explain these omissions.
Nonetheless, anyone who has ever enjoyed such shows as ''Ding Dong School'' and ''Kukla, Fran, and Ollie'' will derive some nostalgic pleasure leafing through the pages of ''Kids' TV.''