Friendly Giant - The TV persona of Robert Homme who played
the role of a friendly giant on the children's show THE FRIENDLY
GIANT which ran from September 1958 until March 1985 (over 3000
The original format for "The Friendly Giant" began in
1953 on WHA-AM 970 Radio in Madison at the University of Wisconsin.
In 1959, the fifteen-minute show debuted on the University of
Madison, Wisconsin's WHA-TV.
In the late 1960s, The Friendly Giant
was pulled from Educational TV stations all over the United States
in favor of a new concept entitled SESAME STREET. Consequently, the
easy-going giant (a precursor to the gentle-natured Mr. Rogers)
moved to the Canadian Broadcast Network but his show continued to be
offered in the US.
The Friendly Giant lived in a castle. His friends were a cast of
cute hand puppets including:
- Jerome the Giraffe, a speckled rebellious know-it-all with a
low voice who came when The Friendly Giant whistled (Jerome
usually returned the whistle as he approached the castle window)
- Rusty the Rooster, the inquisitive harp-playing
(performed by John Duncan) bird with a high-pitched voice who lived
in a cloth sack hanging on the castle's wall
- Angie and Fiddle, a couple of puppet cats
Puppeteers Judith Lawrence, Joe Murphy and Rod Coneybeare
operated Jerome and Rusty (Rod did their voices) and John & Linda
Keogh operated Angie and Fiddle.
Each show began as the castle's drawbridge lowered and The Friendly
Giant welcomed his pre-school viewers with the words "Once upon a
time, not long ago and not far away..." The show's theme song
(played to the the sound of a harp and tin whistle) was "Early One
Morning." To see the face of The Friendly Giant, the camera started
at the boot of the giant and panned up his towering body to his face
while the Friendly Giant instructed all his tiny visitors to "look
Regular features on the show had The Friendly Giant visit with
puppets Rusty and Jerome, read stories in front of his cozy
fireplace, exchange jokes, move tiny furniture for his guests to sit
on, play his recorder flute, pennywhistle or clarinet, sing songs
and expose his young viewers to snippets of classical and jazz
At the conclusion of each show, the castle's drawbridge slowly
closed as night fell over the castle, and a cow jumped over a full
Props from the show like the furniture, puppets, castle backdrop as
well as the Friendly Giant's clothing are on display at the Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation's Radio and TV Museum located at the CBC
Broadcasting Centre, 250 Front Street West in Toronto, Ontario,
In 1998, Bob Homme was made a Member of the Order of Canada.
Governor-General Romeo LeBlanc traveled to Bob's home town of
Grafton to present him with the Order in person. Accepting the
honor, Homme said, "I'll always remember this day as a perfect cap of
30-odd years of just having a wonderful time simply being friendly."
Born 1919 in Stoughton, Wisconsin, Robert Homme died May 2, 2000 of
prostate cancer at his home in Grafton, Ontario, Canada. He was 81.
Homme left behind a legacy of love as well as Esther, his wife of 51
years and their four children.
Back to Top