Big Brother Emery
- Affectionately called "Big Brother" by his kindergarten age
viewers, Bob Emery hosted one of network television's first
successful children's program THE SMALL FRY CLUB broadcast daily in
New York (five days a week in 1950) on the Dumont network from
The program, which debuted on March 11, 1947 under the
title of MOVIES FOR SMALL FRY, was a continuation of Emery's radio
format he established in 1921 in Medford Massachusetts that taught
his viewers manners and to respect their parent's wishes.
Dressed in a business suit and wearing
dark-rimmed glasses, Big Brother Bob entertained his youngsters with
silent films, cartoons, songs, skits and puppet characters like
Honey the Bunny, Peggy Penguin, Mr. Mischief the Panda, and Trina
He opened up the program with the theme song "The Grass
is always Greener" (a popular 1924 song) and closed each show with
``So long small fry, it's time to say goodbye...''.
early success in children's programming helped plant the seeds of
inspiration for the many children's shows to follow on the new
medium of television.
Emery began his career at radio station 1XE
(later known as WGI) where he read stories and answered kids'
letters to Santa under the guise of a man named "Big Brother."
years later he started the Big Brother Club, complete with
membership card and pin, a pledge to do good deeds and be good
citizens and the club slogan, `Be Somebody's Big Brother or Sister
In November of 1952, he negotiated a contract with WBZ-TV
and spent the remainder of his TV career in Boston where he
entertained generations of children until he retired in 1968.
the years, his program was shifted around and retitled: Clubhouse 4,
Big Brother and Flash, and Big Brother's World, but the quality of
the programming and the devotion to his viewers never waned.
Claire Robert Emery in Abington, Massachusetts, he died in July of
1982, at the age of 85.
Below: Official Member Card and letter from the Small Fry Club -
(Courtesy of Bo Lewis, WNAV Radio)
Small Fry Club Marionette
Back to Top