Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lunch With Uncle Pete

"Hey, this is your old Uncle Pete inviting you to have lunch with me. Snooper the Squirrel (he's my buddy, you know) and I have a lot of fun every day. We have those funny old-time movies, silly sirens, bells and funny stories. Ask Mommy if you can LUNCH WITH UNCLE PETE at 12:15 pm Monday thru Friday on Channel 3, WPTZ. PS: And Mommy, I'll make sure they eat slowly and drink all their milk!"
WPTZ Philadelphia promo ad for "Lunch With Uncle Pete"
 
I picked up this curious vintage metal TV tray with colorful graphics some time ago at a flea market. I suspected that it had a connection to a children's TV show but I had never heard of "Lunch With Uncle Pete." Half the fun of collecting for POP is in researching the items that I find and rescue.
 
It turns out that LUNCH WITH UNCLE PETE was an early local Philadelphia, PA children's TV show that was broadcast on WPTZ/Channel 3 at 12:15 pm Monday through Friday during the 1953-54 TV season. The show was hosted by "Uncle Pete" Boyle, who was the father of Peter Boyle of YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN and EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND fame.
 
The top side of the tray shows Uncle Pete and his puppet mascot, Snooper (nicknamed Snoopy) the Squirrel enjoying lunch as they did on the show. There are also a number of noisemakers in the scene which Uncle Pete used as props. The show was sponsored by Acme Markets and there is an ad for "Supreme" bread on Pete's drawing board. Apparently Uncle Pete would feature clips from old movies while he and Snooper ran commentary. Sort of a precursor to MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 I suppose.
 
On one episode of EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, Peter Boyle had one of these trays in a scene from the show, as a tribute to his dad.
 
The tray measures approximately 17-1/2 inches wide, 12-1/2 inches high and is in great condition. Here's a chance to own a rare piece of history from the Golden Age of Television.
 
Next up: A Rex Trailer cowboy hat. Would anyone in the Boston area like to contribute a piece on him?