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Children's Show Hosts

Sally Baker as Hobo KellyHobo Kelly - The showbiz pseudonym of actress Sally Baker who hosted the popular children's show HOBO KELLY that first aired in color on KTTV-TV Channel 11 in 1965 from 7:30-9:00 AM and later on KCOP-TV Channel 13 in Los Angeles in 1971 as well as KPTV channel 12 in Portland and WTCN-TV in Minneapolis.

Hobo Kelly - the loveable Irish vagabond - lived in a mythical, magical place called Hobo Junction. She sported a floppy green hat, red hair, and a face full of greasepaint as she entertained a generation of children (her "Mischief Makers") every weekday morning through the 1970s.

Like most local kiddies shows, the program featured the mandatory cartoons ("Cartoons Hoooo!"), contests, prizes, and zoo animals.

From time to time Hobo Kelly donned a pair of over-sizes glasses that allowed her to magically "see" her audience. And there was also her toy machine with a big smiling face on the front that turned junk ("bits and pieces") into fantastic toys that she gave away to the lucky winner of a daily drawing.

Assisting Hobo Kelly were such puppet characters as Dum Dum the bull dog; Miss Molly the Ostrich; Ringo the Rabbit; Bridget O’ Bird (who preferred a swimming pool to a bird bath); Buttercup the Butterfly who helped Hobo Kelly paint magic pictures that came alive on the TV screen; and human characters like Uncle Mike, the bumbling old postman; and The Ginger Bread Man (Sally in a Gingerbread suit).

Hobo Kelly Theme Song

H-O-B-O K-E-Double L-Y
Hobo Kelly, sure and be-gor-ah 'tis I!
Come on along to Hobo Junction
Where fun happens ev'ry minute
It's a mythical, magical kind of place...
--Words an Music by John McCarthy

Off screen, Sally Baker took her job as a children's show host very seriously. She participated in charitable events like Toys for Tots and followed up on fan letters sent to her show and offered advice to children with problems and visited sick children (some diagnosed with cancer) to give her condolences and best wishes.

In the late 1970s, Sally Baker, a veteran of an exercise show, cooking shows and even a weathergirl for the local news, returned to television on KHJ-TV (now KCAL) as the hostess of a morning puppet show called FROOZLES that aired at 7:00am each weekday. The show featured Julie Crutch, an intelligent handicapped character, Michelle, a star Asian athlete, Michael an math-smart African-American, and Manuel a Latino with excellent spelling skills.

Before her career in show business Sally Baker was just plain Sally Schurman who was raised on the north side of Chicago. She created the idea for her Hobo character in 1960 in Peoria, Illinois and then moved to California where she married Walt Baker, a fellow broadcaster who helped direct the highly successful HOBO KELLY program. In fact, within the first 11 months of the show's debut in Los Angeles, Sally Baker received over 350,000 pieces of fan mail.

Throughout her career, Sally Baker has been an advocate of Irish causes and once even convinced the Mayor of Los Angeles to raise the Irish flag over City Hall for St. Patrick's Day.

Where is she now? At last report, we found her attending the KCOP/UPN13 50th Anniversary Celebration retrospective on channel 13's half century of historic and entertaining TV programming on Wednesday, June 24, 1998 at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre.

At an earlier retrospective of local broadcasting in 1991 Sally expressed her concern to the Los Angeles Times that "Children need to be taught consequences," she said. "When there's a host, children can make a connection, but programs today (non-hosted action-adventures shows) are dehumanizing our populace. Things need to be put into scripts to help children grow up safely."

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