Chief Halftown - Chief Traynor Ora
Halftown was a full-blooded Indian who hosted Philadelphia's longest
running kiddie show CHIEF HALFTOWN (aired on WFIL and later WPVI)
from the 1951 to 1999.
Traynor O. Halftown grew up in Buffalo, New York about
25 miles from the Senaca reservation. On camera, he always dressed
in full Indian costume which included a full feathered chief's hat,
buckskin, beads and bangles.
Part of the program (once sponsored by
"Bosco" Chocolate syrup) featured lessons about tribal customs,
folklore, sign language, chants, and crafts.
Last seen on Saturday
mornings at 7:00 A.M. on Channel 6 WPVI-TV, his classic trademark
catchphrase was (phonetically) "Eeees dah-sah-suss-a-way" which
according to the Chief's friend Sally Starr, a fellow children's
show host in Philadelphia, means "Let's get started."
the Chief was a consummate performer who loved to appear at schools,
churches, hospitals, parades and other sites in the area like Dutch
Wonderland in Lancaster, PA. The Chief was also a successful night
club singer and a spokesperson for Brunswick Bowling Company (he
loved to bowl and sponsored the Chief Halftown League).
The Chief even got
his own Colorforms Toy kit in 1957 and a trading card (#40) in 1959
on a Fleer Gum Company Indian trading card series.
Sadly, TV pioneer
"Chief" Traynor Halftown died in Brigantine, New Jersey from
diabetes complication on Saturday, July 5th, 2003. He was 86 years
old. Happy Trails, Chief. Happy Trails to you.
TRIVIA NOTE: The Senaca tribe was an Iroquoian tribe in Western New York, the most
powerful of the Five Nations which included a confederation of
Mohawk, Oneida, Onandaga, Cayuga and Senaca-later joined by the
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