Tim Moriarty's Memories

As you know, I worked with Sandy for the three years he had the afternoon show on WNEW; the first year ('65-'66) was live - heading down from school (in the East 80's) to the studio (on East 67th) every afternoon could be a challenge; during the second two years ('66-'68, when we went off the air) we taped the in-between cartoon segments on one weekday evening and one weekend day. (It breaks my heart that none of the shows survived - at least none that anyone's posted.)

I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to work on the show, which was mainly due to my parents - especially my father - having been friends of Sandy's for a long time; he used to come into one of our family restaurants ("P. J. Moriarty's" if anyone remembers) which was on East 61st Street & 3rd Avenue, near the Channel 5 building on East 67th. When he relocated to the afternoon slot, he wanted a kid sidekick, but not a professional child actor. He asked my folks if I'd be interested (I'd been on one of the Big Professor's segments a while back) and I jumped at the chance.

We did a screen test and everything was done on a handshake in the station manager's office on the first floor of the building - no lawyers, no agents (try doing THAT today), although I had to join AFTRA (I still have my "Honorable Withdrawal" card) and get working papers from the NYC government and approval from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (or some such outfit).

I remember Sonny Fox (followed by Bob McAllister, although I don't think he and Sandy were as close as Sandy and Sonny had been) and Chuck McCann (who was on right before us when he did his Laurel & Hardy-themed show), but never met Soupy Sales, although their office was around the corner from ours and we passed that way going to the elevators to go up to the studio. (The legend was that you had to be careful going by, 'cause you never know when a pie was going to come out the door, but I never saw it happen...)

Our basic intent was to have the segments provide an ongoing episodic "soap opera for kids" to supplement the cartoons in order to get the viewers to tune in daily to see what was happening to the various characters of "Sandy's Street." My characters were a mix of mini-clones of existing characters Sandy had already created (K. Lastima, Jr., Hambone, Jr., etc.) and new ones developed for the new format (Sinister Sidney and Nit Boy primarily) as well as me in my "own" character paired off with Sandy in his, all of whom would interface with the puppet characters. What was always striking to me was that the show was mostly ad-lib; the script would have a paragraph explaining what each segment was meant to accomplish - from there, we were on our own except in a very small number of segments where the dialog was scripted... talk about a challenge!

Also, some of the viewers might remember that towards the end, we introduced a new song called the "Ha Ha Song" (which I believe was sub-titled "We're Stepping Out Tonight"); I think I still have a 45 of it and will try to find it so you can post the group that did it and the label that put the record out.

Throughout the show he was a fun, patient, and gentle boss and the relationship between us, the production staff, and the stage crew was very much the "family" you heard discussed on the YouTube segmentswhen Sandy, Soupy, and Fred Scott were together with Stewart Klien for the "Off the Set" segment.

After the show went off the air, we spoke with Sandy on-air right after his WNEW-AM radio show began, and heard from him every now and then when he'd come to New York after he moved to Florida. (He used to call me "Rat Fink" when he'd get on the phone.)

I went on to graduate from high school (Xavier) in NYC in '74, went to the Virginia Military Institute and a career as an officer in the Marine Corps, and am now in my second career as a government contractor (now supporting the Department of Homeland Security), but have never forgotten Sandy and carry with me so much of what he taught me both on and off camera. I read the various postings on websites and YouTube and believe our viewers have it right: we will not see his like again - especially on children's TV - and are so much the poorer for it. (I don't remember his show following JFK's assassination in '63, but often wonder how he'd have dealt with the kids after 9/11.)

Continued good luck on the site and best wishes to all "our" fans - from both of us.

All the best,

Tim Moriarty, Jr.



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