Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Entries : Ding Dong School
Ding Dong School

Ding Dong School

Billed as “The Nursery School of the Air,” Ding Dong School was the brainchild of Judith Waller, an NBC executive. She engaged Frances Horwich, professor of education at Chicago's Roosevelt College, to develop an on-screen child-participation format that would appeal to preschoolers and their parents.

Chicago broadcasts began on WNBQ-TV in October 1952 and nationally a month later. The show received a Peabody Award in 1953 for children's programming and three Emmy nominations as best Children's Program from 1953 to 1955, when production moved to New York. From 1957 to 1959, Horwich, who owned the rights to the program, originated the final 130 episodes, carried locally on WGN, from Los Angeles. Ding Dong School remained in syndication until 1965.

“Miss Frances” gave daily instruction in various activities for children and ended each program with a brief lecture on parenting. Although influential for later children's programs, Ding Dong School eventually closed, due to competition from children's cartoons.

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