Winky Dink and Me

Winky Dink And You was the first interactive TV show aired on CBS from 1953 to 1957, on Saturday mornings. Hosted by Jack Barry, a popular game show host, it featured the exploits of a character named Winky Dink (voiced by Mae Questel, the voice of Betty Boop) and his dog Woofer. Winky Dink, noted for his plaid pants, tousled hair, and large eyes. Created by Harry Prichett, Sr. and Ed Wyckoff, the show featured Barry and his sidekick, the incompetent Mr. Bungle.

The show required that kids have a “magic drawing screen,” which was a large piece of plastic which stuck to the television screen via static electricity. A kit containing the screen and various Winky Dink crayons could be purchased for 50 cents. At the end of every episode, “Winky would arrive upon a scene which contained a connect the dots picture.” Winky asked children at home to complete the picture, and the finished result would help him continue the story. These gambits included a bridge to cross a river, an axe to chop down a tree, etc.

My parents refused to buy me the Winky Dink screen, so guess what? I drew on the TV, which convinced them I would have a career in TV. Thanks Winky.

5 thoughts on “Winky Dink and Me

  1. Dana Wyckoff

    My father, Edwin Brit Wyckoff, and his partner – Harry Prichett, created Winky Dink in the 1950s.  Dad  has a few copies of the deluxe edition of the screen, crayons, wipes – the original version you mailed away for came in an envelope and had only a screen, wipe and a few crayons – no box or other features.
    He recently unearthed some of the early scripts … really fun to see the ‘written’ version of the show.
    Thanks for the memories.
    Dana Wyckoff

  2. Al Wasco

    I never realized that I wasn’t alone, but was actually part of a whole oppressed minority whose parents wouldn’t spend 50 cents for the damn magic screen. I too used plastic wrap from the kitchen (the wrinkles made it less than perfect) and a grease pencil (seemed too hard to draw those ladders that Winky Dink always needed). An here I am fifty years later still trying to figure out how to make interactive media work.
    Anyone know if the original video is still available somewhere?

  3. Michael Dooley

     
    As always, Steve, thanks for the memories.
     
    You drew on the TV? I’m surprised your parents didn’t peg you as a budding graffiti artist.
     
    My mom couldn’t afford the official “magic screen” but, ever resourceful, realized sheets of plastic wrap from the kitchen would work just fine.
     
    She did buy the Captain Midnight decoder ring for me, though.
     
    And thanks, mom… for everything.
     
     

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