Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Carol Corbett

While I'm on the subject of hosts of kid's tv shows, I want to write about Carol Corbett. Ms. Corbett hosted a local kid's tv show in New York on WPIX in the 1960s. I remember her for wearing an artist smock and her friendly personal way of talking. One of the shows, which I believe showed cartoons of "The Mighty Hercules", was on around noontime and she'd have lunch, eating a sandwich and telling the viewers what was in it, and she always had a glass of milk, too.

Later in the 1970s, she hosted "The Patchwork Family" which was shown on CBS locally in NY but syndicated for broadcast nationally. I never watched the show (well, maybe one or two, but by that time, I was no longer a 'kid').

In the early 1980s, I remembered Ms. Corbett and wanted to write and tell her of my memories of her show. I didn't know where she was living, so I called the tv actors union, AFTRA, and they gave me a contact phone number, which was in New Jersey. It was Ms. Corbett's home, and she was married for many years at this point, with her own children. When I called, she answered and we had a delightful several minutes reminiscing about her tv show and some of the other tv show hosts at WPIX. When she heard my last name, she remarked "Oh, Italiano, eh? My husband is Italian, my married name is DeVito". I asked for her photo, and she took down my address. A few days later, I received this post-card-size photo in an envelope, with this handwritten note on the back: "Hi Bill, Thanks for the call, it was nice talking to you. Thanks too, for remembering. Carol Corbett DeVito".

18 comments:

Peter said...

You know, I have the vaguest memories of watching "The Patchwork Family" but I couldn't tell you anything about it. I certainly had no idea that Carol Corbett was the host.

Anyway, thank you for sharing yet another great posting!

Anonymous said...

I remember Carol Corbett's show so well! I was in Kindergarten in Queens, Ny and "had lunch" every day with Carol. My major childhood disappointment way when I went to Gertz Department Store where Carol was going to make an appearance...how shocked I was to see a huge crowd of other kids there...I thought I was Carol's only viewer!

Anonymous said...

As I was performing a google search for the Patchwork Family, I stumbled upon this blog. I was quite young when in the early eighties when cbs would play this show around 6am on saturday mornings. Clearly I had absolutely no clue that they were re-runs. I was convinced that they were in fact current. Looking back however, the fashions displayed were a clear indication that the early seventies were in full swing. It's quite sad that there aren't any episodes posted on you tube. About three weeks ago, my favorite radio program called, "Downtown Soulville" with DJ Finewine(Friday Nights at 7pm EST www.wfmu.org or if you live in or around jersey city, nj it's 91.1 FM) was on and at the end of his set, he played the song that would be played at the end of each Patchwork Family episode. I was immediately transported back to being a child in front of the television set again. The crazy part being, for well over a decade I've been searching to find that particular song. Finally, the search for the artist is over but a new expedition to capture this 45rpm single has begun. Anyway, the Patchwork Family was such a fantastic show and I hope that Carol and Rags are doing well.

Anonymous said...

I was just searching around and found your Blog. I thought you might like to have an update on Carol Corbett. Her daughter is a Video Artist and her latest video is in the Whitney Museum, it's a parody of sorts of her mother's children show. Below is the review from the NYTimes.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/30/arts/design/30bag.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

By the way, I'm Carol's husband and the proud parent of Alex and Damian (who did the puppetry in the video) Thanks for the continued interest, Ron.

Anonymous said...

I remember the Patchwork Family very well! I was a kid guest on the show way back when I was a kid. I called Carol Corbett - Aunt Carol back then & have fond memories of being in her home. She & my parents were very close & have since lost touch. Maybe this may re-kindle a friendship. Nora (daughter of Peggy (Collins))

Anonymous said...

Yes, I remember having many "lunches" with Carol Corbett. Not only was she nice, but I thought she was one of the prettiest ladies on tv.

Ms. Corbett, you rock!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the wonderful memories!!!! I was only about 5 when this show aired but I loved watching it and wish I could find clips of it somewhere online. I hope you are still doing great. Thank you again Mrs Corbett Devito for all the fond memories

Anonymous said...

I adored this show as a kid, can't believe it was only on for a year. Seems my childhood memories had the show on for much longer (re-run memory). Carol was the best! Funny, i am now 43 years old and remember every line of the song! "Sisters and brothers, and all sorts of others..."

Paul said...

Carol, Rags and Jellybean. What great memories! I loved this show. I was about 5 or 6 in 1972 and remember getting up early on Saturday mornings just to watch. I was mesmerized by the slow pace and relaxed mood of the program. Too bad there are no clips of the program to be found.

Dennis said...

"It's certified and stated, that everyone's related in the Patchwork Family!"

I so WISH I could stumble upon video of this show. I am the only person in my family/peers that remembers this show, unfortunately.

Bless Carol Corbett and how cool of her to write you and send that photo.

thejcowboy22 said...

Kevin Butler claims that Carol Never hosted The Gumby show on WPIX-TV and the debate continues.When I was home from school or under the weather 11:30 was Gumby time.

Anonymous said...

Bill thank you SO MUCH for this blog entry and the picture of Carol Corbett. She was WONDERFUL!

I forgot what she looked like, but when I saw that photo - WOW! I flashed back to childhood and it felt so good.

Carol was so WARM and friendly, and never condescending. As Chevy Chase said of Ernie Kovacs, (she too)...had a way of looking at you that said, "I'm not going to hurt you, but boy this is going to be fun".

Watching a show with Carol Corbett and Gumby? Well, what could be better than that! For 30 minutes at least, life was GOOD!

Thanks again; I really can't thank you enough!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill,

What a surprise to find your Carol Corbett story. Usually when I ask people my age about her they don't know who she is. Too bad for them!
Anyway, I was amused to read about your phone conversation with her.
My father used to work with her father-in-law at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, NJ during the summer months. Being from up north, her in-laws, "the DeVito's" rented a house in the next town, Long Branch. One evening when I was about 12 years old, my parents took my sister and I to visit them. My Mom introduced my sister and I to the family, saving Ms. Corbett for last. My Mom asked me if I recogznized her and I said no. The reason being we had black and white TV when her show aired and she looked on TV as if she had blonde hair. Yet here was this woman sitting in front of me with strawberry blond hair that she wore down and she had tons of freckles! Instead of telling her how much her show meant to me when I was home from school, I smiled alot and she did most of the talking! I was so nervous I don't remember much of what was said, but I do remember her being warm and friendly. The DeVito's were a very nice family too, and made my sister and I feel very welcome.

drew said...

I remember Carol Corbett from my childhood. She had a puppet dog named Dudley which I named my own stuffed dog. This brings back many happy memories. Thank you

Mr J said...

I remember the Patchwork Family well, as it aired on WCBS Tv Ch 2 at 6:30 a.m. Saturday Mornings. I often thought it was funny with her puppet friend Raggs, who tried to con her out of Jellybeans. That was his favorite thing to eat. My all time favorite episodes was when a guy had demonstrated and played a set of Orchestral Chimes. It was my all time favorite musical instrument and very rare to hear or see.
An artist often scribbled on a giant sheet of paper and made a drawing from it. An animal expert had demonstrated on how to make a homemade bird feeder. But I remember the background music, but don't know the name of the song. Any help would be appreciated. I also remember the pattern on the wall which resembled an atari 2600 explosion as in the game Missle Command with the colors red, blue, yellow. There was a woman teacher in elementry school that I thought she looked just like Carol Corbette from the show.

Anonymous said...

I was in love with Carol Corbett. I would rush home from catholic school at lunch time and watch it from 11:30 till 12. Mrs. Somebody would bring her lunch on a tray. Doodle-E-Doo (a.k.a. DUDE) was the dog puppet behind a fence. I remember I won a drawing that she drew on her easel. You would send in a postcard and she would pick a name out of a Derby hat. I also wrote fan letters to her and received the same picture that you posted. I do remember Hercules and Gumby, too. What a great children show that was!

Anonymous said...

I too was was a fan of The Patchwork Family and can still recall the theme song after all these years... we'd like to have you as a member of the Patchwork Family, looking for sisters and brothers and all sorts of others, like nieces nephews, uncles, cousins, we need members by the dozen.... all kinds of people in the Patchwork family......

anyhow.. I seem to recall watching this on early Sunday mornings as besides Davey & Goliath - there wa nothing else on TV for kids.

Ro-Beast Rollie said...

Someone posted some footage on YouTube from the show a couple years back for anyone looking:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wflfUzORfHQ