I was just reading a series of articles on the AVClub’s web site about ‘90s music year- by- year. Those were my teenage years and the time when culture felt the most influenced by and representative of my interests. Somehow, this got me thinking to what I watched on TV in the years preceding my love of alternative rock and bands like Pearl Jam, which continues today.
One thing that seems to have fallen by the wayside is the morning or afternoon block of kids cartoons, and the hosts of those blocks. It seems every city had one. For me, Dave Koz was the man who introduced my Transformers, Tiny Toons, Denver the Last Dinosaur (remember that one?) and God- knows- what else cartoons in the late- 80s, early- 90s.
Koz hosted “The Koz Zone” on WFLD Fox 32. Though I lived in southeastern Wisconsin, I still got the station, both on local cable and with an antenna. Koz would do goofy kid- related skits with characters he’d play and puppets, and in the beginning played up being a pirate broadcast. Koz was kind of a goofy- looking, non-threatening guy who seemed perfect for entertaining children.
I even was a member of the Fox 32 Kids Club, which was free and gave me all the benefits you’d expect with that price.
My favorite (or the one I best remember) memory of Koz is from a New Year’s Eve program on the channel where they played the video for a song “I Wanna Be Rich” by Calloway, and he said something to the effect of “I am Rich!” Hilarity!
Koz later became horror movie host Svengoolie on UHF channels in the area. I read that he suffered a cardiac event in November, but is doing fine now.
Koz, at least in my opinion, has a place with other Chicago broadcasting icons like Harry Carey and Bozo the Clown. He is part of my childhood memories and someone I still associate with the Windy City.
As I figured I would, I found a video from the Koz Zone on Youtube, and those characters seem vaguely familiar.
Though it’s nostalgia for me, I don’t claim that this was necessarily GOOD television, but it was locally produced and referenced the area. Other than the hours and hours of local news the affiliates run today, you don’t see other programming have that local flavor any more. I have a toddler who inevitably will have his favorite shows, but will probably be watching them on cable stations or even just online. Who knows what his memories from those programs will be.
Do you have similiar memories of your local cartoon show hosts? If so, please comment!