Lunchtime Little Theatre (Series) (1962-1967)

Aka: Johnny Jellybean

Lunchtime Little Theatre
Ted Zeigler wrote, directed and starred as Johnny Jellybean in Lunchtime Little Theatre, a popular show for kids (but just as popular with adults). The Johnny Jellybean character had originally appeared on an American version of the show which went off the air in 1960 and came back to life at CFCF-TV in Montreal. This was a live 60-minute weekday show for local viewing. A weekly show was broadcast for the CTV television network from 1962-63 under the title "The Johnny Jellybean Show".

Zeigler, in a candy-stripe-suited, mugged, performed comic pratfalls, did funny voices, ran cartoons and flashed reaction shots at a collection of off-camera characters: Morrie the Mailman, Toomie the Duck, Duck Tracy, Enzio Pesta, Burd, The Ole Wrangler, Charles the Friendly Poet, Crud Man and Marmaduke.

Ted Zeigler .... Johnny Jellybean
Bill Merrill .... Toomie the Duck

Original Broadcaster(s): CFCF, CTV

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Comments (9)
Johnny Jellybean would have me doubled over in laughter. I would love to have them for my grandchildren to watch.
byClick here to see the profile of this user denissined, January 22, 2011
First of all a small problem. The thumbnail image on this page shows the "Johnny Jellybean Clubhouse: which aired in the afternoon. "Lunchtime Little Theatre" aired at noon and did NOT have a live audience. In Ted Zeigler's 1992 interview, he actually confirmed that at one time there WERE 100 of his live shows that were recorded on videotape, but they were erased because CFCF needed to recycle the tape. WAA-AAH!! What a loss!! Just recently as part of their 50th Anniversary celebrations, CTV Montreal made this entire 25-minute interview available online which I have digitized. It included the only film of Ted Zeigler as Johnny Jellybean in existence. Everything else is gone!(The footage shows the Lunchtime Littl Theatre opening credits + a little supplementary footage of him at his "job"). I hope to upload it to youtube in the next week or so. Just search for "Ted Zeigler" or "Johnny Jellybean".
I LOVED this show, even though I was 16. My dad, Ted Murphy, worked for CFCF TV and he took my girlfriend and me a couple of times to see the show live. We were thrilled. I also have a large photo of JJ and the Squawk Box personally autographed by him. It says, "To Mary, my million-dollar girlfriend. Love and soggy pretzel stix, Johnny Jellybean." Needless to say, I was thrilled.
There is some confusion on the videotape situation for these shows. The erased tapes everyone refers to were for "The Buddies", the afternoon show Ted did with Dave Cullen, which came after "Lunchtime Little Theatre" a/k/a "Johnny Jellybean" finished its run, which I believe was for only 2 years or so.
The latter was done live, and as far as I know no tapes or kinescopes ever existed. In 1992 Ted was interviewed on Canada AM and they showed the opening credits to the show, that 1 minute is probably the only video of Ted as Johnny Jellybean in existence.
In 1964 I worked on the show as a stagehand. Ted was a brilliant man, you must remember that the show was live 5 days a week. Unfortunately the shows that were recorded were erase. Very Sad
It was a great time to work for a television station.
Vince Pons
I was part of the audience of one show . My dad took me & a couple of friends there . My mom was bitterly disappointed as she only saw my shoes when the camera panned the audience as she watched from home . My poor dad had to endure the whole thing in the flesh .... :-D
byClick here to see the profile of this user ibizans, January 23, 2008
Do any tapes or kinescope exist for this show? I read a terrible rumour on another site that they had been erased or destroyed. Please say it ain't so, and if they still exist, can they be obtained through CFCF Montreal, or through NFB or where?
byChristine 54, December 4, 2007
At Radio-Canada we are able to get a hold of old very old TV shows.
Is there a way I could get a hold of tapes from that TV show.

byDave Johnston, August 1, 2007
Very weird show for a 10 year old (at the time) My mother would just shake her head but I found it hilarious. Seems it was only on one season so I guess the other 10 year olds didn't get it.

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For an in-depth look at CBC programs (1952-82),
Blaine Allan's directory