Downtown Wichita Falls, Texas, in the mid 1940’s was a bustling metropolis for a boy of 7 just away from the farm and ranch community where he was born. My father, a cook and cowboy by trade, had just started as one of the first cooks for the Casa Manana restaurant in 1947. He moved us to an apartment on Ohio Street, right across from the Gem Theater, between 7th and 8th Streets. It’s here that we would stay for the next three years. The Gem Theater became a magic palace for a young mind. But it had to share that distinction with the rest of the magic that was Wichita Falls. I attended San Jacinto and Carrigan elementary schools, as well as Reagan Junior High, and belonged to the Boys Club on 6th Street. Please join, and share your stories and pictures through a Guest Blog, of early Wichita Falls - or your home town. Contact me at or leave a comment. We could use old pictures of movie houses, drive-in theaters, and other nostalgic pictures related to our youths.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Let's Pretend

Let’s Pretend

In the 1940s and early ‘50s, I was a huge fan of Let’s Pretend on Saturday morning. The fairy tales my mother used to read to me when I was very young I could now hear portrayed on the radio by real people – usually children themselves. We didn’t have television until I was sixteen so home entertainment was always radio.
I actually recognized some of the voices back then. One in particular played with the Bowery Boys in the movies. Another young boy that was on the show for many years was Arthur Anderson who, in 2004, wrote the above book about the show, and that time.
I didn’t know at the time, but the woman at the head of Let’s Pretend was Nila Mack (1891-1953), a woman in a man’s work force. She had directed children’s programs on CBS since 1930, and in 1934 retitled one of the programs to Let’s Pretend. It ran until 1953, about the time of her death.
I know I loved the program, at least until I grew out of fairy tale age, but I never forgot that wonderful show. Even though Nila Mack had no children of her own, I think she knew what we liked.

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