My interest wasn’t as high for this as other shows beginning in 1953-1992 actually moving its broadcast studios from Baltimore to Chicago. Each show opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and another studio audience of children rotated every two months. I was sometimes focused on Mr. Do Bee or Don’t Bee and they would recite God is great when eating cookies and milk. But it was always the end of the broadcast when the hostess would look through a “magic mirror”—actually an open frame with a handle, the size, and shape of a hand mirror—and recite the rhyme, “Romper, bomper, stomper boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me, do. Magic Mirror, tell me today, did all my friends have fun at play? I see Jerry, Kathleen, Jimmy, Julie, Tommy, Bobby…never me….Karla was a strange name. I guess children were encouraged to mail in their first names which I did not know.
For me the best hostess was, Jean Harrington from Boston in 1964 that I remember the most. She divorced Bill Harrington in the ’70s and was last known to be an editor at a lifestyle magazine in southwest Florida. She re-married and became a Durkee living in Naples, Florida.
The national version was presented by Nancy Terrell the first hostess of Romper Room when Romper Room was seen on ABC-owned and operated stations throughout the United States in locales that did not have their own hostesses. Sources claim that her daughter took over as Ms. Sally. Nancy died of cancer in 1997.
In Chicago, Romper Room debuted on WGN in 1954, and ran until 1960. From 1961 to 1962, a nationally syndicated version aired. The local Romper Room returned a year later and ran from 1963 to 1975. Three of the Chicago hostesses were “Miss Rosemary” Rapp, “Miss Beverly” Marston-Braun and “Miss Elizabeth” Trench.
In 1981, the format of Romper Room was overhauled and re-titled Romper Room and Friends. One hundred syndicated versions were taped in Baltimore with Miss Molly as host. At that point, they no longer used teachers.