Forgotten History Cedar Rapids: Dexter David Donovan
History is fun, no? When I think of historical 'things', I think of the Roman Coliseum, Stonehenge, the pyramids of Egypt, or Dexter David Donovan, the KCRG puppet who did the weather. What's that? You don't remember him? Me either in all honesty. He was on and off TV before I was born. But I was fascinated to learn he even existed. Whether you remember him fondly, vaguely, or this is the first you're hearing about Donovan, here's a little more forgotten Cedar Rapids and Eastern Iowa history.
Finding info on an obscure regional puppet from the 1960's isn't easy
I came across an image of Donovan on a Facebook page called 'The Forgotten Iowa Historical Society', which I highly recommend checking out. There I saw the picture included in this post of a fugly puppet and the info about his timeslot. The commentators were reminiscing about the character, and this sent me down a wormhole which included a blog page created by an Iowan named Bob Andre. His memories of watching Donovans Sunday morning show are better than anything that can be found on the internet. Also, according to a commentator on the blog page, the theme song of the show was called 'Piano Roll Blues'. So mainly what I learned is Donovan hosted a kid's show Sundays and did a little more for KCRG, which I'll get to in a moment.
Bob's article did help me drill down some dates.
Dexter David Donovan III was introduced in 1966
Donovan was 'born' in 1966. The puppeteer/creator was an actor named Ervin Eugene Shoemaker. He was originally from Indiana but moved to Iowa in the mid-60s to create and play the Donovan character for KCRG. The character did the evening weather on KCRG - which, think about that for a moment. Finding out there's a blizzard thanks to a dog... looking... thing.
Anyways, as I mentioned above, he apparently also hosted a Sunday morning kids show that was on opposite a more popular program called "The Dr. Max Show", according to the Bob Andre article - though a commentator contradicts Bob on this. The puppet is described by Bob as a dog who was a one-handed piano player. It appears from the IMDB page for Shoemaker that it ended within a few years.
So do you remember, or know anyone who remembers Dexter David Donovan III? If so, let me know because this is way pre-internet, and we're going off some pretty old memories to piece together the entire existence of this show.
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