The Uncle Floyd Show - Better than the slicks!
By Anthony Buccino
What chance does a low-budget local children’s show have competing against the big guns such as reruns of The Brady Bunch and The Rookies or the network news programs?
For the 86,000 viewers of the Uncle Floyd Show (9 a.m. and 7 p.m., channel 68) the reruns and the networks don’t have a chance. In fact, certain reruns are apt to end up facing the wrath of Uncle Floyd Show’s more than 1,000 fan clubs such as last year’s ‘war’ with Star Trek.
The Uncle Floyd Show is not a slick TV kiddie show. It is not afforded the clean, concise happy endings of other shows. Uncle Floyd often ends up in worse shape at the end of the show than when he started. Thus proving that on TV, just as in real life, happy endings never come.
Floyd Vivino is Uncle Floyd, producer and the creator of the show, and is no newcomer to show business. Raised in Paterson, he studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the American Mime Theater, both in New York.
He has toured in family shows for the Snoopy circuit throughout the South as a standup comic, a carnival barker and baggy pants comedian who caught the tail of Vaudeville as it vanished from modern theater.
The Uncle Floyd Show’s strongest asset in luring viewers away from slick TV is its spontaneity which is achieved by nonstop taping. Skits that do not work right, and the show’s bloopers, are seen at home - just as they occur during taping. There is no “take two.”
The one exception to the second take for a skit is the Karl and Son bit wherein Floyd and regular Scott Gordon, as Karl and Son consistently bungle the commercial they are trying to tape.
The most popular character on the show is a wise-cracking puppet named Oogie who more often than not drives Uncle Floyd to distraction at the beginning of the show.
Vivino also appears as Rocky Rock ‘n’ Roll, a misplaced 50s greaser; Cowboy Charlie, a tumbleweed singer with very large ears; Senor LaBrasura with his sidekick Donkey Oatie; Flojo the TV clown, and other diverse characters guaranteed to tickle anyone’s funnybone.
Semi-regular Mugsy makes sporadic appearances as Peter Punk, a take-off on the punk rock trend in music.
The show is a welcome break from the pat, full-circle every-problem solved in 60-minutes-life portrayed in other shows.
The main reason the show has grown from 500 viewers in 1974 to over 86,000 today is the combined effort of the show’s fan clubs. The clubs spread the word about the show - its good clean fun is catching.
The Uncle Floyd Show is open to local audience participation - little children are welcome on the show but interested parents should write for taping information before visiting the West Orange studios.
New viewers may be at a loss for the first week, trying to understand the jokes - which are mostly about characters on the show, but in time they’ll be strong supporters of the Uncle Floyd Show. The end result is usually worth it.
First published Essex Journal, Nov. 3, 1977
Vivino's first television show, "Uncle Floyd & His Friends" debuted on January 29, 1974, on UA Columbia Network serving much of Northern New Jersey. Later that same year he was featured entertainer on the station's first telethon. In November 1974, the show moved from the cable network to WBTB-TV, Chanel 68 in West Orange, NJ. The show aired on various stations until 1998.
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New Jersey author Anthony Buccino's stories of the 1960s, transit coverage and other writings earned four Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism awards.
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