Uncle Floyd Vivino meets Bloomfield Mayor John Kinder
By Anthony Buccino
Bloomfield Mayor John W. Kinder last Saturday afternoon welcomed TV personality Floyd Vivino of The Uncle Floyd Show to Bloomfield.
Uncle Floyd’s right- and left-hand man Oogie also popped in during the meeting to discuss Oogie’s possible future in politics.
Uncle Floyd brought along greetings from his show’s cameraman, Tony Petrillo, a resident of Bloomfield and former candidate for mayor.
Mayor Kinder jokingly grabbed the collar of Uncle Floyd’s plaid jacket offering to show him the fine detention area of the Law Enforcement Building. Uncle Floyd politely postponed the tour to some future date.
“I have many viewers who would like to know how one becomes mayor,” Uncle Floyd said as he invited Mayor Kinder to visit his show. (We must warn you Mr. Mayor not to arrive early on a rainy day or WBTB management will toss you out onto Eagle Rock Avenue until they are ready to tape the show.)
Uncle Floyd discussed the rapid growth of the number of viewers his show has as compared to a year ago. His show, though on an obscure UHF station claims two points in the Neilson ratings, or 80,000 viewers.
When asked what he would do if he made the “big time,” Uncle Floyd said he’d buy a mansion to put all the gifts and props he has accumulated in his three years on the air.
Uncle Floyd also mentioned his other career as a night club entertainer and stand-up comedian. Vivino compared the slow but sure success of Bob Hope to the overwhelming overnight success that destroyed Freddie Prinze.
Vivino said too many young comedians want to go straight to Johnny Carson. Vivino said they should build slowly until they are able to deal with the strains of success.
Uncle Floyd noted that the Royal Theatre was once a very popular Vaudeville house. He told us of a very old record he had by the featured organist at the Royal Theater.
The possibility of his doing a matinee show there such as the one he did in Bergenfield earlier this month was mentioned.
Glen Ridge Middle School intern Dawn Vincenti asked Uncle Floyd how he selected the pictures on the wall for the show. He replied that he tries to present a cross section of pictures from his viewers.
In fact, he said it is his first task of the day to sort through the over 400 drawings he receives each day. “There are even more that come in when the weather is bad,” he added.
The more drawings a viewer sends in, the better his/her chances are of having one turn up on the wall.
The scrambled picture on channel 68 after 8 p.m. was compared to the future of cable television. It was reasoned that the several small cable networks would in the future merge to cut down costs.
“Uncle Floyd And His Friends,” his first television show began on a cable network serving eight Northern New Jersey towns.
Who would have thought that a baggy pants comedian from Paterson could woo and charm over 80,000 viewers away from the “slick” high budget reruns? Floyd Vivino did it, and it is only the beginning for this bright and talented young man.
We’d follow him from the Municipal Parking lot to California even if he didn’t pay our tolls as he did on Saturday. Uncle Floyd is all the reasons you need to install UHF on your television. Ask Mayor John.
First published in The Independent Press of Bloomfield, March 17, 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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