Monday, March 10, 2014

Ding Dong School

When I was a wee tot the tv programs that I watched the most were those that had real kids in them. Romper Room was both fun and educational. Miss Dorothy was the teacher/mom and real life lessons were taught in her tv classroom. Romper Room first aired in 1953. Of course, I watched it much later since I was not born until 1957. But I remember "Miss Dorothy", the first Romper Room hostess.

Romper Room Archives kptv

My husband is a few years older than me and was too "mature" to appreciate Romper Room when it aired. He remembers Ding Dong School with Miss Frances.

Ding Dong School

Miss Frances also spoke to the television audience which was mainly preschool children. She taught children how to do simple tasks around the house to help themselves and to help mom. Ding Dong School aired from 1952 until 1965 when it was cancelled and replaced with The Price is Right. Watch this early 1950's episode.

Woman's Home Companion Magazine published this 1954 interview with Miss Frances by Anna W. M. Wolf on "How to Play with Your Children".

Woman's Home Companion September 1954 pp 60 - 61

While counting pattern pieces for my CynicalGirl shop on Etsy, I came across this sweet pattern, McCall's 1921. "Child's Self-Help Apron. A Ding Dong School Pattern Approved by Miss Frances".

McCall's 1921

This McCall's pattern was printed in 1954. It was developed for use by parents and children with the aid of America's most popular television teacher - Frances Horwich.  The easy to sew apron dress is a wrap with button tabs in the front, big patch pockets with appliques, finished with a simple bias tape trim around all the edges. Easy to sew and easy to dress yourself. My copy was well loved and probably made over and over and in fragile condition so I have recreated it as a pdf to share. This pattern is in a size 2, breast 21. Pages print as 8.5" x 11" sheets of paper. Download HERE.