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Jolls' puppets searching for Museum; "Walking Dead" revived on WNYO

By Alan Pergament

Cleaning out my notebook before I take a week off.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have spent more time in my Sunday piece on Channel 7 weatherman Tom Jolls talking about his second career launched in 1965 hosting a children's program as Commander Tom.

I've come to that conclusion because since the story ran there have been as many comments about his work as the Commander as there were for his sunny (and not so sunny) forecasts.

I wrote much more about the Commander Tom phase of his life when he retired 15 years ago.

Here are some excerpts from that article:

"After showing some classic television shows, he did segments with puppets between commercials. Jolls wrote the sketches on a program that lasted until 1991... Jolls created a variety of characters: Dustmop, named after a dog he knew growing up; Mattie, an alligator-giraffe combination; Sorcella, a bad witch; Cecily, the witch's good twin sister, and Furryburry, which consisted of a furry head and eyes that juggled atop a pencil body. Furryburry was around to annoy the Commander.”

 "His fame as the Commander is international, as evidenced by a signed photograph in his TV room from hockey great Wayne Gretzky to the Commander. Young Wayne grew up near Toronto watching the program, along with most of Western New York.

"Jolls and his wife made the puppets from scratch and he created all the voices. He believes his experience as an only child helped him develop those characters, as he often had to use his imagination growing up."

Now we’re back to the present. In my recent visit with Jolls, he told me he didn’t know where Dustmop. Mattie, Sorcella, Cecily and Furryburry were anymore.

 "They were in East Aurora in the Fisher Price Museum,"said Jolls. "Somebody was going to put them in a museum but they're still in limbo.I  don't know where they are at this point. At one time they were going to go down to the Jolls house in Orchard Park as part of the historical museum. Dr. Jolls was my  great uncle.

"I don't know what the story is, where they are going to end up. But probably someday in some sort of a museum. Maybe even in the Radio-TV Museum they are working on downtown now. They may even end up there."

WNYO-TV, the Sinclair Broadcasting station that is affiliated with MyNetworkTV, got some “deadly” news this week.

AMC, Twentieth Television and the Fox Television Stations announced that it has sold an edited version of the extraordinarily popular cable series “The Walking Dead” to MyNetworkTV for airing this fall.   

WNYO is the local MyNetwork TV affiliate.

According to the announcement, “two episodes from previously aired seasons of ‘The Walking Dead’ (on basic cable's AMC) will be presented on a designated weeknight.” 

The release notes that "Dead" is the No.1 television show among adults ages 18-49 -- the demographic that advertisers love -- and its popularity has grown every season. It also is the No.1 cable drama series of all time.

The release didn't mention concerns over the violent content or the fact that WNYO and all MyNetwork TV affiliates will be airing an edited version of “Walking Dead.”

I guess I jinxed former Riverside High, University of Connecticut and NBA star Cliff Robinson by writing about his "Survivor" performance a week ago. He was booted from the program two nights ago, thereby eliminating any more reason for me to watch the reality series this season.

Inquiring minds want to know: How have the Buffalo Sabres been doing, ratings-wise that is?

After spiking briefly during a surprising winning streak, Sabres ratings are declining again. The Tuesday night loss in Calgary had a 3.6 rating, which is extremely low by its normal standards even for 9 p.m. games. The two previous games averaged about 4.9 rating.

The second episode of ABC's "Resurrection" won its time slot here Sunday with an 8.8 rating on Channel 7 and the program appears to be a local hit.  CBS' "The Good Wife" was a strong second in the time slot with a 7.2 on Channel 4. NBC's "Believe" was third with a 5.0 here and Fox's "Cosmos" fourth with a 3.6. NBC’s new series "Crisis" had a 5.2 rating at 10 p.m. after "Believe."

On Monday, ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" beat NBC's "The Voice" locally, 10.3-9.5. CBS' "How I Met Your Mother," which ends its run with an hour-finale on March 31, had a strong 8.1 rating. I'm amazed by that "Mother" rating since the episode didn't have one decent laugh. Viewers must be watching to see the set-up for the finale. At least Monday's episode ended sweetly.

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