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Iowa History Daily: December 10 - Bart's Clubhouse

Iowa History Daily: On December 12, 1958, “Bart’s Clubhouse” first went live on Iowa’s airwaves. The popular children’s television program hosted by Bartly Curren aired on Mason City’s KGLO-TV  from 1958 to 1976.

A flagship program for the fledgling KGLO-TV shortly after the station first went on the air, Curren opened the show by pulling off his Popeye sailor hat and taking a seat in an easy chair before welcoming the local children lucky enough to get a spot in the studio audience. Featuring locally-produced skits and popular cartoons like “Popeye” and “the Little Rascals,” the program kept children glued to the tube.

Local Mason City Librarian Marie Colby, known on the show as the ‘story lady,’ read children’s stories as a part of the program. Other station employees played notable characters including Sven Svenson, Professor Fizzle, Sneezer McBeezer, and Charlie Gullible. Former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, of Leland, once remembered in a letter to Curren: “I well remember being on the show when I was about 7 years old…You did a wonderful job of entertaining and encouraging the best from children.” 

In 1991, over 500 adults who loved the show showed up at the television station for “Bart Curren Day” when the beloved program host retired. Curren spent 37 years working for Mason City’s KGLO and KIMT serving as the sports director and TV production director, in addition to his role on “Bart’s Clubhouse.” Curren passed away from cancer during 1996. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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