(Left to right) Martin Pinsker, WFIL Engineer Carmen Gentile and Temple Instructor John Culver
"WFIL Studio Schoolhouse"
WFIL Radio Studios in the Widener Building
Fall 1951

WFIL's Studio Schoolhouse started on radio in 1943 and on TV in 1947. The program on both radio and television lasted until 1968 or 1969. Although sharing the same title, the radio and TV broadcasts were not simulcasts. They usually didn't even share the same theme. Through most of the quarter of a century of "Studio Schoolhouse" broadcasts, the show was produced in cooperation with Temple University and the School District of Philadelphia.

Martin Pinsker was graduated from Temple in 1951 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and almost immediately went to work for WFIL Radio. Within months, he was appointed Production Supervisor. A few years later when Marty moved on, broadcast legend Jerry Donahue (a member of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia) returned to WFIL from the United States Armed Service and was assigned to Pinsker's old job. Donahue, who was inducted into our "Hall of Fame" on November 19, 2004, would retain that position for three and a half decades.

Carmen Gentile who was a WFIL technician when the above picture was taken, previously worked for Temple University in a similar position. John Culver, who produced many of the "Studio Schoolhouse" programs in the early fifties, was an instructor of radio and television production at Temple University.

Bill Stock, who works in New Ork City for the March of Dimes, was involved with many of the "Studio Schoolhouse' presentations in the early to mid-sixities. Bill wrote:

These 15-minute shows were taped about three weeks in advance in Studio A (in the WRTI studios which were located in the basement of Thomas Hall at that time) and were aired each weekday at 9:45 am on WFIL. These programs (which we have condensed versions below) are from the "Storyland" series which aired every Tuesday.

There was also an "Americana" series (great moments/people in American history) and a "Fun With Rhythm" series (kids with blocks and rhythm sticks playing to live piano music). That accounts for three days and for the life of me, I can't remember what we did on the other two.

The shows were basically live-to-tape. We stopped every once in awhile, but not often as I recall. We had a read-through and a dress rehearsal on mike for about an hour and then we recorded.

The "Storyland" and "Americana" series were supervised, written and narrated by Marguerite M. Farley from the Philadelphia Board of Education. She was a lovely person, about early 30's, a little on the prim side, but lots of fun. We had many a laugh during the rehearsals, but she took the job seriously when the "ON AIR" light went on, as you can hear from her narration.

Dr. Farley taught at Villanova after working for the School District of Philadelphia for a quarter of a century. Marguerite was the 20th President of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia (1982-1983).

(Left to right) 3 unidentified persons with John Roberts (on right in back) & Claire Coleman (on right in front)
"WFIL Studio Schoolhouse's 10th Anniversary "
WFIL Radio Studios
Spring 1953

John Roberts was a professor of communications at Temple University for almost a half century. He also did the weekend news on Channel 6 for two decades. Roberts was the 30th President of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia (1992-1994). Claire Coleman, after being graduated from Temple University hosted "Romper Room" on WFIL-TV for several years. Claire married former United States Senator Richard Schweiker who served as Secretary of Housing and Human Services during the Ronald Reagan presidency.

We have three condensed versions of "Storyland" which were the Tuesday programs on "Studio Schoolhouse." First up is "Peter Pan." The program consisted of three 15-minute programs and we have the first installment. Bill Stock writes: "This was a three-parter that aired on three consecutive Tuesdays in October, 1963. I seem to remember that we taped at least two of these (maybe all three) on the same day, because of the large cast. ...The sound truck got a good workout on these three. Someone rocked back and forth in a creaky old chair for the boat, and the crocodile was an alarm clock and (the) mike (was) covered over with that old metal wash-tub from the sound effects cabinet."

  • STEVE BERGER - Announcer
  • BILL STOCK - Peter/Nana
  • WENDY ROBIN - Wendy
  • DALE ZARIS - John
  • JUDY KIVIAT - Michael
  • BILL REED - Captain Hook
  • JOYCE DANHEISER - Various Boys
  • JERRY HENDERSON - Sound patterns
  • JOE TARITARO - Technical Director
  • HERB SMITH - Graduate Assistant, Producer
  • STAN MARINOFF - Director

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The next program is "The Littlest Angel, a Christmas broadcast. Bill Stock writes: " I always thought this was one of our more touching efforts. This aired in December of 1963. Must have been a slow week at the studios, because HERB SMITH played everything! (Announcer, senior angel and God). DALE ZARIS was the angel. ETHEL GOLDBERG handled sound patterns and JOE TARITARO was technical director. BILL STOCK gets a credit for production assistant, but I can't remember what I did."

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Our last one is "Happy, the Healthy." Bill Stock remembers: " We always got a kick out of this show, because the 3rd and 4th graders from the local schools would come in to sing the club song and take the club pledge. About 20-30 kids, all scrubbed up and in their best clothes and tremendously excited because they were going to see a RADIO SHOW! It was such an innocent time. These shows were always taped in Studio B (of WRTI) because we used the piano (which lived in that studio). MARGUERITE FARLEY would narrate and the other members of the cast were from the Philadelphia Dairy Council - all very professional, as you can hear. This program aired on March 10, 1964. The program intro was done by Herb Smith.

  • HARRY T. KAUFFMAN - Happy The Healthy/Writer
  • EVELYN VISHNEVSKY - Various roles
  • ROSEMARY SCOTT - Various roles
  • HERB SMITH - Graduate Assistant, Producer
  • BILL REED - Graduate Assistant, Director
  • BILL STOCK - Technical Director

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From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Audio originally donated by Bill Stock and the WRTI Old Gang website
Special Thanks to Broadcast Pioneers member Jerry Klein
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All Rights Reserved

The e-mail address of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia is pioneers@broadcastpioneers.com