New Zoo Review

If you have vague childhood memories of waking up to a singing frog, hippo and owl, don’t worry; you likely aren’t suffering from dementia. Rather, you are just one of many 1970s kids who remembers watching The New Zoo Review. Airing in syndication throughout the country, this popular children’s show is still fondly remembered by millions.

Debuting in 1972, The New Zoo Review was a half-hour children’s show broadcast on weekday mornings. The jovial human hosts, Doug and Emmy Jo, were joined by three large costumed characters.

 

Charlie the Owl was a cranky scientist who lived in a tree house which he accessed via a nifty elevator. The more introverted Henrietta Hippo wore a tutu and spoke with a slight Southern accent. Finally, there was the naive but fun-loving Freddy the Frog to round out the talented trio.

Each episode featured the group singing songs and passing pint-sized life lessons to their young audience. Typical topics might include how to handle moving away from friends, why one shouldn’t brag, or how to make new friends and get along with others.

Along with skits, music played a major role in the show, with all of the songs composed by host, Doug Momary, who wrote hundreds of compositions for the series.

 

Along with the characters above, the gang was regularly paid a visit by a kindly old mailman named Mr. Dingle. What you might not know is that the actor that portrayed him wasn’t elderly, and went on to become a very well-known game show host by the name of Chuck Woolery (Wheel of Fortune and Love Connection, to name a few).

Another recurring character was Mrs. Goodbody, the typical nosy neighbor. played by prolific TV character actor, Fran Ryan.

 

All told, there were a whopping 196 episodes of The New Zoo Review produced between 1972-1977. When the show ended, reruns were continuously aired through the remainder of the decade. Doug Momary and Emily Pedin, the hosts and creators of the series were married in real-life and, you’ll be happy to know, remain together to this day.

Together, they produced this beloved children’s series that, at its peak, was watched by an estimated 3-million kids each day across the country and is still fondly remembered by many of them to this day.

If you counted yourself as a fan of The New Zoo Review back in the day, I hope you’ll take a moment to share what you remember most about the series with all of us in our comments section below.

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4 Responses

  1. Gina DeMambro says:

    Loved this show

  2. Ryan says:

    Chuck Woolery was great on Wheel of Fortune. I loved that show when I was a kid. It’s too bad Chuckwas fired because of a contract dispute. He was a better host than Pat Sajak.

  3. Mary Beth Maynard says:

    What fond memories I have of that show, I even ordered the 6 discs set from Amazon of Season One, sure hope someone takes up the gauntlet and does the remaining eps on DVD.

  4. Dan G. says:

    I was nine years old when this came on TV in Kansas City and I watch many episodes over the next couple of years. The show had 3 appeals to me: 1. At that time I was into the space program and astronomy and wanted to be a scientist when I grew up. Charlie the Owl was a ‘scientist’ who sometimes did interesting things, and his personality appealed to me. 2. Freddie the Frog was a likable character that I somewhat identified with, and I was always interested in how he was going to get into trouble next. 3. Emmy Jo was the epitome of what I envisioned the perfect girlfriend would be like. She was sweet, charming, cute and had beautiful legs that she often showed off in miniskirts. Even at the age of 9 or 10, miniskirts were very interesting and attractive. I was a little jealous of Doug and his ability to play the guitar and get Emmy Jo to dance!

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