Flashback: Soap Box Derby Mania

Flashback: Soap Box Derby Mania

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Hundreds of thousands tuned in on the radio to the 1936 All-American Soap Box Derby, held in Akron, Ohio. This was only the Derby's third year in existence, but its popularity soared as America was looking for something to root for, still struggling from the Great Depression. The All-American Soap Box Derby has been held annually in Akron ever since.

Hot Rod High Flint’s GearHeads

The coolest kids around are those participating in the Back to the Bricks’ up-and-coming program, Hot Rod High.

Kicked off at last year’s B2B event, the program uses building and tinkering with cool cars and hot rods to attract the next generation of auto enthusiasts. In partnership with area high schools, skill centers, community colleges, and universities, Hot Rod High introduces teens and young adults to collector cars as a hobby, and provides them the opportunity to explore careers in auto mechanics or body repair through hands-on experience. Led by professionals in their respective fields, participants will be able to attend seminars and workshops, see working displays, and tackle a variety of mechanical, auto body, 12-volt electrical, and engineering projects, individually or as a team.

This year during B2B, the Hot Rod High crew will take over the Flat Lot to illustrate for kids and teens all the different components of car building and restoration. Representatives from local colleges including Baker and Kettering will also be there to discuss their automotive training programs with prospective students. One of those representatives is Bob Ayre, a welding instructor at Baker College and one of the Hot Rod High organizers. He became involved with the B2B Committee six years ago when he was approached by the program’s mastermind, Dale Frey Frey was the one who saw the need in the community for a program such as this.

“Our automotive heritage is the biggest thing that the city of Flint has to hang its hat on.”
Bob Ayre

“We are all about promoting our passion,” Ayre says. “There aren’t enough young people involved to keep this hobby alive. We’re trying to stimulate a whole new generation of ‘car people’ to keep our automotive heritage alive. Our automotive heritage is the biggest thing that the city of Flint has to hang its hat on.”

Ayre estimates that at last year’s B2B, a couple of thousand young people came through Hot Rod High’s display at the Flat Lot. “It was well received,” he says. “We had a steady flow of young people during our event.”

For this year, Hot Rod High will display hands-on workshops including a transmission specialist, plasma cutting, a spark plug “installation speed” contest, and a commercial airbrush artist to perform demonstrations and offer hands-on experience. They provide all the equipment such as welding helmets, gloves, and the tools.

Students from Kettering and UM-Flint who have already been building cars have been invited to show off what they’ve built, including bringing along their robotics display, which will also be interactive for younger participants. From Committee members, there will be a display of old soap box derby cars.

The Committee’s goal is to eventually make Hot Rod High a year-round activity at the schools with facilities at Baker, Mott, Kettering and UM-Flint – and the colleges are very receptive to the idea and responding with immediate support. “We’re really excited about working with all of the schools,” says Ayre. The crew anticipates next year having all the area high schools involved, as well.

“We hope that these classes will be an introduction,” Ayre explains. They will cover topics of welding, electrical, transmissions, auto body, airbrushing, complete engine trainers demonstrated, air conditioning, and how brakes work.

“The college students have been tremendous,” Ayre says. “The university directors have been able to pick the cream of the crop, so the young people who have come to work at our displays have been tremendous.”

And passion is contagious.

“The B2B Committee is extremely passionate,” Ayre says. “The event is already nationally trademarked and they’ve invested a lot already. I think Hot Rod High will become the focal point for Back to the Bricks.”

We’re gonna tear it up in the parking lot
‘Cause a quick half-hour is all we got
When the lunch bell rings we’re gonna split
‘Cause all we care about is the shifting bit
Nothing but winners, all you losers scram at Hot Rod High

“Hot Rod High” by the Hondells, 1964

Show off your Pinewood Derby Car Building Skills!

Guitar Derby Car
from Hollie Sarchet

Army Humvee Hummer Army Humvee - built from Pinewood Pro pinewood derby design plan
1st in den, 2nd place overall 2007
Pack 381
Matthew Podraza, tiger cub

Firebird Design Plan
Mike Thurber - won Den, Pack, and District championships.
Thanks, Pinewood Pro!
(PRO Speed Wheels, PRO Speed Axles)

Zinger 2007
Michael Hornburg's Pinewood Derby Car
Oshkosh, WI

Stealth Glider pinewood derby car
1st Place

Flying Tiger car
Bill Williams
1st place in Den, 3rd in pack

The Yellow Jacket
2004 Winner Best Derby Car Design Royal Ranger Commander Class Jim Lockhart, Fredonia Kansas

Red Zebra car picture
1st Place

Raptor Rocket Derby Car
Fastest car in Emerson, NJ !

Velocazipper pinewood derby
Sam Miller

Shimme car
Finn Duignan, Age 7
Pack 191
Long Island, NY

Pinewood Derby Hammerhead Shark
CJ Shina

Big Red Arrow Head
Geremia Thomas
1st Place

Fire Bird derby car
Rea LaRoche
Best Looking Car

Big Green Mean Machine
Guy Cesario III & IV

Black Firebird
won den class and second in pack
Ron and Tyler Wheeler

Green Bird
won the fastest new car in the open class
Ron and Tyler Wheeler

Blue Cobra
6th Place in District Race
Ron and Tyler Wheeler

Hole in One
Josh Patterson
1st Place

SpongeBob Square Pants
Paul and Channing Doi
2nd Place

The Magnum
Craig Piat
1st place Districts out of 175 cars!

Christopher's Crusher Car
Basking Ridge, NJ

Scott Gibson
Pack 89
Tampa, FL.

Red Streak
Kevin Carter
AWANA Grand Prix
Best Looking Car

Godzilla Starfighter
Jim and Nicholas Zale
Pack 76

Black Widow Spyder
from Brian M.

from Mike G.

Blue Spider Derby Car
from Billy L.


KSTT first took to the air on July 7, 1946, as a 250 watt daytime-only station (sunrise to sunset). Its location on the radio dial was at 750 kilocycles. The offices were located in the Davenport Hotel and its studio was the mezzanine of the hotel’s ballroom. Popular music of the day, news, and local sports was aired. Within a year, KSTT became an affiliate of the Mutual Network and could offer its programs as well.

During 1949, the FCC allowed KSTT to increase its power to 1000 watts and it could now stay on the air 24 hours a day. Its new location on the dial was 1170.

The station was sold to Fred Epstein in 1955. He continued with the mix of programs that KSTT had been airing at that time. One of his early hires was a young announcer straight out of announcing school – Lou Gutenberger.

KSTT maintained a schedule of local and network programing, while still searching for a format that would capture listeners. In 1958, the right mix of people and the right choice of format came together.


Early in 1958, Fred Epstein hired Ken Draper as the station’s program director. Draper convinced Epstein that the direction the station should take was rock-and-roll. It was the music of choice of a younger audience and no other station in the Quint Cities was exclusively programming that music. The announcing staff became “the Knights of the Turntable” and included Tom Elkins, Ruth Epstein, Draper, Dale Holt, and Mark Stevens.

Draper arranged for the station to host weekly dances and appearances by the deejays at restaurants, drive-in theaters, and dance halls, with many of them partially broadcast. Heavy newspaper and on-air advertising helped bring the teens out to meet their favorite announcer.

Another Draper innovation was the local pop music chart. KSTT was the first station in the area to track local record sales and compile a weekly “survey” of the 30 top-selling pop songs. The survey sheet was called the King’s Court Record Survey.

On January 29, 1959, the station booked the Winter Dance Party show, which starred Dion and the Belmonts, Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Richie Valens. It was billed as the KSTT Concert of Stars, with two shows at the Capitol Theater. Stevens and Draper emceed the concerts, and although an ice storm hit the area that evening, both shows were sold out. Just a few days later, Holly, The Big Bopper, and Richie Valens would die in a plane crash.

As the year continued, it was highlighted by station-sponsored dances, personal appearances, remote broadcasts, promotions, and contests. KSTT’s popularity was growing and it was becoming a force to be reckoned with among Quint Cities radio stations.


Year 1960 began with a branding change. KSTT was now Big K Color Radio and the announcers were no longer the “Knights of the Turntable.” Now known as the “Big 6,” three new deejays were added: Pat Patterson, Pat Downey, and Gordon Vann. The station was heard 20 hours per day and the sound was just a little different.

One of the trends emerging in Top-40 radio was reverberation, and KSTT picked up on this trend. Chief Engineer George Stephenson added a slight echo delay on the microphone outputs, which gave the announcers a little more depth and sparkle and enhanced the term Color Radio.

The Kings Court Record Survey became the KSTT Top 30 Survey, and it changed from a large mimeographed sheet to a smaller, offset printed, bi-fold sheet. It featured photos of the on-air staff, the list of hits, and pick hit and album choices by each of the announcers.

The station was still heavily involved with appearances, promotions and contests. One of the more notable contests was the appearance of the “B.K. Booty Bottle” (perhaps the forerunner of the Hidden Key contests that would appear in the later 60s). Booty Bottles were actually pill bottles that were hidden in various Quint Cities locations, and contained forms which would allow the finder to claim a prize. Location clues were given over the air and, with some imagination and cunning, listeners would be able to discover the bottle and its prize. It was not uncommon to see crowds of people foraging around a particular location searching for a bottle.

Color Radio was certainly a hit with the listeners. But it wasn’t just the music, contests, and promotions that helped build listenership. The news department was given a greater presence, too.


What was Big Red? The KSTT mobile news cruiser. Several red station wagons were obtained, equipped with two-way radios. The station’s call letters were emblazoned on the sides, along with the name Big Red. There were only two, but unit numbers were painted on the front fenders. On one side, for instance, it said “Unit 2,” and on the opposite side, “Unit 5.” Depending on which side someone saw the car, it appeared there was an entire fleet of news cruisers.

The cars were used by the news staff in news-gathering and for live-from-the-scene reports. They were also used at many promotional events, as they functioned as rolling billboards.

In addition to the cars, a red boat was used during warm weather months for stories on the river, and an airplane was also at the disposal of the news department.

Bob Moore was hired as news director. He brought an authoritative voice and organizational skills that represented the kind of news coverage Epstein desired the station to air. That direction included national news that tied in with the local or regional slant on the story. Moore was probably the person most responsible for creating the direction KSTT took in its presentation of the news, even long after he had departed the station.


Bob Moore’s organizational skills helped create alliances with many of the Quint Cities’ business and political leaders. Stories pertaining to them were treated with balance and fairness. But the news department didn’t avoid the controversial either.

Digressing for a moment… When Ken Draper joined KSTT, the station was airing a phone-in program called Listen Ladies. It aired recipes and shared subjects related to the homemaker. Draper felt it didn’t fit the new rock format and he changed the program to a more adult, issues-oriented call-in discussion called The Phone Show.

When stories with great local impact arose, Moore’s news department would team with Draper’s Phone Show to inform listeners with additional coverage and analysis other area stations weren’t able to provide. Civil rights, segregation, federal mandates, and large-scale zoning changes were a few of the subjects covered by the team effort.

To involve listeners and perhaps get a jump on the local competition for a news story, KSTT began paying for news tips. Anyone who phoned in a tip would be eligible for a payment of from $1 to $5 if their lead provided information on an item that could be broadcast. And although it doesn’t sound like much money, remember that $5 would fill one’s gas tank back in 1960-61. The checks stated, “This check makes you an honorary member of the KSTT News Staff,” and was signed by station owner, Fred Epstein.


Up until more recent years, the FCC required stations to provide a certain amount of broadcast time to the public at no charge. This was usually done through religious programming on Sunday mornings, or some sort of public service programming relegated to overnight hours.

KSTT looked at public service in a different manner. Draper felt that public service and charitable causes could be used to an advantage if they were given entertainment and promotional value. Many of the causes were tied to and publicized by appearances of the announcers. The station promoted free air time for social, safety, health, and job opportunity announcements. And the announcements weren’t buried late at night, but aired during prime listening time.

One of the longest-running examples of this idea was the Trading Stamps for Needy Children promotion. Listeners would send in their trade premium stamps (S&H, King Korn, Plaid, etc.) to the station or take them to appearances by the deejays. The Disabled American Veterans would redeem the stamps for toys at Christmas. Station personnel would be present when the toys were distributed to the area’s less fortunate children. Draper often stated that radio was a powerful medium and should help those to whom the radio airwaves belong.


In the early 50s, KSTT moved from the Davenport Hotel to new offices and a studio on Harrison Street above Griggs Music Co. In early 1961, more space was needed, especially for a growing news department and for production capabilities. The new home would be on the fourth floor at 736 Federal Street, in the Eagle Signal Building. Besides business offices, there were now three studios, and each was equipped to allow the operation of every piece of equipment from any one of the other studios.

Along with that move came a branding change. With listenership up, it would seem a new “direction” for the station wasn’t needed. After all, Mark Stevens had over 15,000 members in his fan club. But the change was responding to its gathering force in the media marketplace and to emphasize each segment of its broadcast day.

KSTT was no longer Color Radio it was now known as the Sound of Accent. There was Accent on News, Accent on Information, Accent on Public Service, and, of course, Accent on Music. And with the change, KSTT became a primary network affiliate of the ABC Radio Network and could offer the resources of that operation, including ABC news reporting.

Personnel changes included the return of Jim Watt from the general manager’s chair at another station Fred Epstein owned in Algona, Iowa. Watt not only called the action on University of Iowa football broadcasts, but became the station’s sales promotion director. Lou Gutenberger returned as the morning drive announcer and Bill Vancil was hired to take Pat Downey’s place. The announcing lineup was now Lou Gutenberger, Ruth Epstein, Ken Draper, Bill Vancil, Mark Stevens, and Gordon Vann.

And even though the brand and some of the personnel changed, KSTT’s emphasis was still on the younger audience, the promotions, the contests, and the personal appearances.

More Changes and “Conversation”

In early 1962, KSTT lost the services of Ken Draper. He had accepted an offer from Westinghouse Broadcasting to become program director at several of their larger market stations. Draper wasn’t really looking leave Davenport, but the offer was one he couldn’t refuse. Draper said of the other Quint Cities outlets (WHBF – of all stations) had sent a tape of Draper to Westinghouse, basically to get him hired away from the station.

With Draper’s departure, the Phone Show received a new name and new hosts. Fred Epstein and Draper had discussed who would host the show if Draper ever left. Draper told Epstein, “Why don’t you do it. You don’t have anything to do anyway.” They decided that the show would work with two people, and the Phone Show became Conversation with Ruth and Fred. The Epsteins made the show a little more controversial, concentrating on politics, race relations, and later, the Vietnam conflict.

A few months later, Mark Stevens took his irreverent humor and sharp wit to Texas, where he spent many years as half of Houston’s top deejay duo. Jim Watt took over as program director, and Jim Austin (on-air as J.A.) and Larry Cooper were added to the deejay staff.

In early 1963, Jim Watt was appointed station manager and Bill Vancil became the program director. Lee Shannon, Lyle Wood, and Clark Anthony joined the announcing staff.

The news department distinguished itself with coverage of the loss of the nuclear submarine “Thresher” and all aboard. Bob Moore found and interviewed a local resident’s relative who had served aboard the submarine earlier. The crewman felt that a flaw in a forward compartment caused the sinking, and death of the 129 crewmen. Moore fed the interview to United Press International which sent his report to other stations across the country.

The Good Guys

In late 1963, the station was one the move again. A one-time street car barn at 1111 East River Drive was leased and turned into the new home – some would say the iconic home – of KSTT.

One unique feature of the building was the on-air studio’s large picture windows. People driving east on River Drive, or parked in the lot west of the building, could watch the deejay at work and see what a radio studio really looked like.

With the actual move to the River Drive studios at the close of the year, Bill Vancil changed the focus of the station’s self-promotional efforts. Gone was the Sound of Accent. Lee Shannon, Lou Gutenberger, Bill Vancil, Larry Cooper, J.A., and Clark Anthony were now known as the Good Guys, and KSTT was now The Home of the Good Guys.

January 1964 was a watershed moment for the music industry – the Beatles broke their first song on the US pop charts and began the British Invasion of artists and songs onto the airwaves. These groups did nothing but fan the flames of KSTT’s popularity. While other Quint Cities stations played some Beatles songs, KSTT played every Beatle release. During May, survey show host Larry Cooper had a highly-promoted phone interview with the Beatles.

KSTT was well-known for its contests. One of the major contests that year ran for 15 weeks and consisted of guessing mystery sounds. A new sound was heard each week and prizes included men’s and women’s wardrobes, jewelry, and even a mink stole. The grand prize was a Volkswagen Micro Bus, dubbed the KSTT Picnic Wagon.

Bi-weekly weekend live broadcasts and dances from the Bel-Aire Drive-In Theater and Lake Canyada brought hundreds of teens out to see their favorite announcers, win prizes, and dance. And KSTT would be heard blaring from car radios as guys and gals drove “the ones” – the one way streets in Davenport and Rock Island – to show off their cars and themselves. The station was on a roll that just wouldn’t stop.

News director Bob Moore left in the fall, destined for bigger and better venues that included WCFL in Chicago, VP of News and chief White House correspondent for Mutual Broadcasting, and special assistant at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington.


In late 1964, Bill Vancil created a great promotional vehicle for the station, as well as a way for non-profit groups to raise money for their organizations – Good Guy Basketball.

Several times each week, the Good Guys would play various teams like high school faculties, Jaycees, the DeMolay, even the Chicago Bears, and allow them to charge admission and raise money for charity. That first year team consisted of general manager Jim Watt Vancil announcers Lou Gutenberger, Larry Cooper, and Gordon Vann news director Gene Lewis and salesmen Dan Olson, Pete Hronek, and Steve Borota. While there were elements of comedy and fun, the Good Guys did play to win, and sometimes did.

Another promotion from 1965 was a concept that Fred Epstein would name “the most popular station promotion ever at KSTT.” An NBC television program called “Hullabaloo” began airing that spring. The show featured top recording stars, backed by elaborate production and mini-skirted dancers. One of those dancers was in a “cage” surrounded by hundreds of flashing lights.

Bill Vancil’s play on this was simple: provide promotion for the station and give teens an attraction for the summer. KSTT would sponsor a weekly dance at the Col Ballroom, provide a live band, have a deejay emcee, and have go-go girls dance in cages surrounded with flashing lights. The cages were built in the basement of KSTT by station engineers, and Vancil flew to San Francisco to have the Go-Go Girls’ costumes designed and produced.

Auditions were held for dancers. Hundreds showed up hoping to be one of the chosen few, but Cyndi Saldivar, Debbie Foley, and Linda Hollister were selected as the first KSTT Go-Go Girls.

Every Tuesday night during the summer of ’65, the Col was home to Good Guy A-Go-Go. The station did a half-hour live remote prior to the start of the dance to help build the audience. Contests, prize giveaways, appearances by the Good Guys, a local band, and of course, the go-go girls attracted huge audiences each week. (During the several-year run of Good Guy A-Go-Go, the dance set an attendance record for the Col that to this day is still unbroken. 3,000+) Good Guy A-Go-Go was a definite hit – for both the teens and the station!

Gridiron and More Go-Go

As the summer of ’65 wound down, it was time for high school football. KSTT would differ from the other local stations in its coverage of those games. The other stations would broadcast a Moline, Rock Island, or Davenport game from start to finish. KSTT would broadcast them all with “Gridiron.”

KSTT Gridiron would send correspondents to all the area’s games. Those reporters would call in reports at every score change and do a live report on the current action of the particular game they were covering. If no scoring took place for awhile, the reporter would recap what had happened since the last score had taken place. At the end of each game, the reporter would five a total scoring recap of the entire contest. By the end of the program, the listeners would have information on all the games played and would not really miss hearing any one game.

This two-and-half-hour program was able to broadcast seven or eight games every Friday. Bill Vancil or Larry Cooper anchored the show at the studio, and the correspondents were other Good Guys, newsmen, and station ad salesmen.

Listeners embraced Gridiron, as it allowed them to follow several games at once, especially when two teams were vying for a top football conference spot. Advertisers loved the program, as they were getting much more coverage for their advertising dollar.

As 1966 started, there were some changes in deejays and news personnel. Larry Cooper, who had been splitting his time between news and the Survey Show, became the news director. Bob Henry took over the Survey Show, and Jeff Blake became the newest Good Guy heard in the 10:30-midnight airshift.

Good Guy A-Go-Go returned during the summer of ’66 for another hit season. The Go-Go girls now consisted of Cyndi Saldivar, Debbie Foley, Jan Ramsay, and Caryl Seiberling. The X-Ls became the featured live band. Once again, the Col Ballroom was the place to be on Tuesday nights.

More Promotion Just Keeps Coming
…and Chickenman Arrives

During the summer of 1966, KSTT, added a feature which played off the popularity of airing golden oldies hits – theInstant Flashback. The concept was simple: the audience would hear a listener request an oldie, and the song was played immediately after the request. The mechanics of this were just a little more involved. When the Instant Flashback phone line was opened for calls, the deejay would record thelistener requesting the song. He would then have time to look for the record and pull it from the record library, cue it up, then play back the recorded request followed immediately by the song. Since the request might have been recorded the previous half-hour, it wasn’t always instant, but the whole feature was very popular with KSTT’s listeners.

In early 1967, Bob Henry began recording weekly hour-long shows to send to the Armed Forces Radio Network for playback to the troops in Southeast Asia. Relatives, wives, and friends would call, and Henry would include their greetings within the program content. It proved very popular and brought a bit of home to the young Quint Cities men serving overseas.

A feature no one has forgotten began airing… “Chickenman.” Originally produced by Chicago’s WCFL, the series featured two-to-three-minute comedy adventures. The station aired itin conjunction with several sponsors, with Chickenman creating local tie-ins. KSTT was the second station in the country to air the series, which ended up being heard on over 1,500 stations and is the longest running radio series in history.

This year’s local soap box derby races were celebrated with a grand parade. The Derby Day’s parade wound through the downtowns lead by Big Red and followed by the Good Guys and a band riding on a flatbed truck. Throughout the day, KSTT would do live updates from the derby, announcing the winners of the various heats right through to the winners in each class. The local derby had never before had that kind of exposure.

A Bus, Money Balls, and KSTT Gets Rich

Promotion is everything and Fred Epstein came up with an unusual way to keep KSTT in the eyes of the Quint Cities. While on vacation in France, he purchased an addition to the station’s rolling stock – a real French bus. Over 40 years old, it looked similar to an old trolley car. It was used for publicity, was seen in several parades, used as a limousine in a station contest, and occasionally used as a remote studio.

In August of 1967, whenever money was given as a prize, it was awarded by the KSTT Money Men. A rather unique promotion was initiated by the station and McDonald’s restaurants with the purchase of thousands of green, Styrofoam balls dubbed Money Balls. Visitors to McDonald’s would obtain one (or more) and place it on their car’s radio antenna. Deejays and yours truly would drive around in Big Red and follow a vehicle displaying the Money Ball. We’d go on the air via two-way radio, describe the car and its location, and if the driver heard the announcement and pulled over to wait for us, we’d have a cash prize for them.

After an excited young driver ran into Big Red (honest, it wasn’t my fault), an unidentifiable car was used. Listeners on their car radios never knew when or where they might get stopped. With over 30,000 Money Balls given away, it was a great promotion, but one that couldn’t be used in today’s world.

Late that year, Jeff Blake resigned to take a job in finance and Bill Vancil had accepted a program director position at WEAM in Washington, D.C. After a short time, Bill decided he preferred the Quad-Cities to the nation’s capitol and returned to pursue a career path similar to Jeff Blake’s. To fill Vancil’s position of program director, KSTT hired Bobby Rich to his first program director post. Rich tightened up production, created more features, contests, and station promotions to liven the sound and find an even larger audience for the station.

Full Time Fun

Bobby Rich kept the Home of the Good Guys branding for the station, but also added the concept that KSTT would be the Full Time Fun station. Each week brought a new contest, occasionally with several contests running at the same time. Whenever there was a special holiday coming up on the calendar, a contest relating to that holiday was sure to start.

Rich also began initiating programming targeted specifically for the weekends, called “Wonderful Weekend.” Listeners would call the station all day Saturday with their requests for oldies. On Sunday, they would hear the then-current Top-40 songs played back-to-back with the hits of the previous year. Throughout each weekend, there was a chance to win a prize every hour. The result of this programming rewarded audience loyalty and made sure KSTT’s audience stayed tune to the station all weekend long.

Along with these changes, the playlist of songs used on the various deejays’ programs was lengthened. The KSTT Top 30 Survey was now known as the Super 40 Survey.
By April, some familiar voices had departed KSTT. Gone were Lee Shannon, Bob Henry, and Lou Gutenberger. John Novak was now heard in the mornings, followed by Fred and Ruth, J.P. Lamont, Bobby Rich, Mark Mathew, and Clark Anthony. Spring also brought something new to the station’s fleet of vehicles – the Thing Ray. Rich found an old flatbed truck that he had painted red, lettered, and adorned with many attention-getting accessories. The Thing Ray was used to declare the presence of the Good Guys at various sites and promotions around the Quint Cities, with the personalities passing out giveaways and running contests from the truck.
During Easter break of 1968, the station hosted the final Good Guy A-Go-Go. With the day’s music, fashion, and culture being influenced by the “hippie” movement, it was time to update this venerable promotion. It still holds the attendance record at the Coliseum Ballroom in Davenport (over 3,000)

Psych Circus and the News Makes News

In updating Good Guy A-Go-Go, Bobby Rich took its best features, built upon the concept, and created the KSTT Psychedelic Circus. He updated the flashing lights, added a San Francisco-style light show, and added a new band. Instead of using just one host, all the Good Guys were the hosts for the night. The new Psych Circus kicked off the summer of ’68 at the Col Ballroom and was again a super hit for area teens.

Over summer, Jeff Blake and Bill Vancil were back at KSTT. Vancil returned to the airwaves from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and Blake rejoined the news department. And while the programming department was creating some exciting promotions and contests, the news department wound up creating some of its own excitement.

Earlier in the year, Congress created civil rights legislation and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. That legislation stated no one could discriminate by race, color, or national origin when selling a house or renting an apartment. Action Center News chose to see if landlords were complying with the new law.

Wes Sidney, an African-American member of the news staff, went to an upscale apartment complex in Davenport and tried to rent an apartment. He was told there were no vacancies. News Director Morry Alter then went to the same apartment complex and was shown several units that could be immediately rented. The results of the test, aired in a series of reports during prime newscasts, brought attention to the fact that area landlords weren’t complying with the law.
That test and the news reports also brought attention to the station in another manner. Because of those newscasts, a local savings and loan firm cancelled an advertising contract with the station worth $15,000. In 1968, that was no small sum of money. To his credit, Fred Epstein stood behind the reporting.
Epstein wanted to let it go, but General Manager Jim Watt confronted the bankers and shamed them into reinstating their contract. Within three weeks, the commercials were back on the air.

Psych Circus and the News Makes News

In updating Good Guy A-Go-Go, Bobby Rich took its best features, built upon the concept, and created the KSTT Psychedelic Circus. He updated the flashing lights, added a San Francisco-style light show, and added a new band. Instead of using just one host, all the Good Guys were the hosts for the night. The new Psych Circus kicked off the summer of ’68 at the Col Ballroom and was again a super hit for area teens.

Over summer, Jeff Blake and Bill Vancil were back at KSTT. Vancil returned to the airwaves from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and Blake rejoined the news department. And while the programming department was creating some exciting promotions and contests, the news department wound up creating some of its own excitement.

Earlier in the year, Congress created civil rights legislation and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. That legislation stated no one could discriminate by race, color, or national origin when selling a house or renting an apartment. Action Center News chose to see if landlords were complying with the new law.

Wes Sidney, an African-American member of the news staff, went to an upscale apartment complex in Davenport and tried to rent an apartment. He was told there were no vacancies. News Director Morry Alter then went to the same apartment complex and was shown several units that could be immediately rented. The results of the test, aired in a series of reports during prime newscasts, brought attention to the fact that area landlords weren’t complying with the law.
That test and the news reports also brought attention to the station in another manner. Because of those newscasts, a local savings and loan firm cancelled an advertising contract with the station worth $15,000. In 1968, that was no small sum of money. To his credit, Fred Epstein stood behind the reporting.
Epstein wanted to let it go, but General Manager Jim Watt confronted the bankers and shamed them into reinstating their contract. Within three weeks, the commercials were back on the air.

Dick Clark and a Superstar

The Miss Teenage Quint-Cities contest was held once again, sponsored by Dr. Pepper and KSTT. This year’s winner was Lori Rhea, and she would advance to the national competition for Miss Teenage America. Prior to leaving for the competition, Bobby Rich had a surprise for her. American Bandstand host Dick Clark was in town to promote a motion picture in which he starred. Rich convinced him to come to the Rhea home to surprise Lori. He did surprise her and her entire gathering when Rich brought Clark down the stairs to the Rhea’s rec room to wish her good luck at the national competition. Rich stated, “Dick was terrific to do that, and he gave me a fabulous hour long co-host that afternoon on my show. It’s still one of my truly great radio moments.

Having Dick Clark show up at her house was probably one of Lori Rhea’s best memories, too. Well, maybe second best, as she won the title of Miss Teenage America that year. Audience participation in contests is a sure ratings winner, and Bobby Rich kept creating contests to keep the audience tuned to KSTT. One of the bigger contests was aimed at creating a “KSTT Superstar.” Listeners were invited to send in their names and the special talent they possessed. The winner of the contest would appear in conjunction with a KSTT-sponsored concert by the Fifth Dimension, do his or her own record show on the station, and receive several weeks’ worth of humorous publicity.

The winner of the contest was Frank Harkin. His talent was singing and this didn’t go unnoticed by Rich. He and Bill Vancil wrote a song using the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” as background, and along with Harkin, recorded it at a Davenport recording studio. The song was given airplay on KSTT to publicize both Harkin and the Fifth Dimension concert. In addition, Harkin was the subject of many gag promotions and, in general, was made into a superstar.

As 1969 came to a close, KSTT rang in the New Year with five days of Flashbacks. All the songs that became popular during the ‘60s were counted down until the most popular song of the decade was reached just before midnight. Locally, that song was “Hey Jude” by the Beatles.

Sunday-Sunday and the Big Switch

KSTT began 1970 in the same manner it had in many previous years – number one in the ratings among all listeners 18-49 years of age. While many of the programming ideas begun in the ‘60s carried over into the new year, there were a few minor changes. The station dropped its affiliation with the ABC Contemporary Network. Since most of the network offerings were used for news rather than programming, most listeners probably didn’t notice the change. The news department was no longer called Action Center News, but became known as KSTT Metro News. With new sounders and formatted introductions, Metro News emphasized a broader daily coverage throughout the entire listening region and added more evening newscasts.

Bobby Rich continued to use the weekends in the station’s Full Time Fun concept. While other stations used Sunday nights to satisfy the FCC requirements for public service, Rich programmed 10 p.m. to midnight for entertainment. Sunday-Sunday featured something different each week: specific-period oldies, programs devoted to music by one featured artist or group, and an occasional feature where listeners could call and ask questions about broadcasting in general and KSTT in particular.

Over the summer, the music, contests, and Summer Fun Patrol continued as in the past. But in September, Rich created a promotion that caused great commotion. Called the Big Switch, it was set up as if KSTT was going to change its programming format. Production spots had listeners believe that the station was going to switch to country, classical, or even big-band music. Rich even ran promos including listeners’ speculation as to what was going to happen. In reality, the promotion was used to call attention to several minor format changes that included new jingles and an identity adjustment. The identity adjustment was a play on words. KSTT was now the station “KS…TT with Love.” But the Home of the Good Guys didn’t disappear the Good Guys just “kissed” the listeners with 1170 love. The kissed-with-loveidentity opened up more opportunities for promotions and contests. Listeners applied the KS…TT window sticker to their vehicles and were asked to “spread the love” for chances to win prizes.

Conversation Ends and Security is Tested

March 1971 brought an end to “Conversation with Ruth and Fred.” The show ran for 13 years first known as “The Phone Show” hosted by Ken Draper, and since 1962, with Ruth and Fred Epstein. The program had covered a lot of ground over the years, bringing many issues to the forefront. The show got many potholes filled, but did much more than that. The Epstein’s had introduced some liberal points of view into the area’s normally conservative character, which perhaps got people to open their minds and at least consider those ideas. Fred noted, “I was especially proud of the work that I, Ruth, and the station did in the civil rights movement.” The modern-issue talk shows that proliferate on AM stations today are really nothing but extensions of what the Epstein’s began in 1962.

This was also a period of increased military action in Vietnam. Many more demonstrations against the war, the military establishment, and the government in general were taking place in the Quint Cities. The Federal Building in Davenport and the Rock Island Arsenal were the main “targets” of these demonstrations. The Arsenal reported that it had stepped up security on the island to avoid continued demonstrations.

KSTT news decided a test was in order. Newsman Bob Huber wrapped up bundles of old survey sheets in brown paper, then wandered around various “secure” locations at the Arsenal. With recorder in hand, he created reports on where he was and how easy it had been to enter places where the general public was not allowed. He left a bundle wherever he went to note that someone had gotten to those secure areas.

The purpose of Huber’s action was not to embarrass the Arsenal brass, but to let them know that their idea of security was nowhere near effective. Many changes were made at the island on account of KSTT’s reporting.

Where the Keys Weren’t

Fun contests were a mainstay of Good Guy radio. One of the more popular, originating with the BK Booty Bottles, was the hidden key contest. If you remember, keys to some big prizes like a motorbike, snowmobile, or an off-road terrain vehicle, were hidden somewhere in the Quint Cities, and clues to the whereabouts of the keys were given over the air. Bobby Rich had one key contest that proved so popular, that KSTT had to caution listeners as to where keys would not be found.

One of the contest keys was hidden at John O’Donnell Stadium and the clue was “a player in black.” The clue referred to one of the baseball team’s uniform colors. However, listeners interpreted the clue as referring to golfer Gary Player, who always dressed in black. KSTT received many calls from golf course managers complaining that hundreds of people were swarming over tees and greens at their golf courses, looking for “some key.”

In response to the complaints, the station had to tell listeners where the keys weren’t. The crowds looking for the key not only illustrated the popularity of the hidden key contests, but it demonstrated the massive power KSTT had with its audience. In future years, whenever the station ran a hidden key contest, it had to do the same thing… tell listeners where the keys wouldn’t be found.

In mid-June of 1972, Bobby Rich decided it was time for new ventures and left the station. Over the years, he brought higher ratings to stations wherever he stopped, and he has become a legend in the broadcast industry. Former KSTT sales manager Dan Olson noted, “During Bobby’s tenure at KSTT, ratings were incredible. Listeners really appreciated his talent, the talent he brought to the station, and what he did on the air.”

The Changing Face of KSTT

In mid-1972, KSTT was still dominant in the ratings, but some of the familiar began to change. It seems nothing is forever and the station phased out the Good Guy identity. It hadn’t been used much in the previous few months, yet for 10 years KSTT and the Good Guys were synonymous. It had all started with the move to River Drive and the picture-window studio. It wasn’t just a radio studio. It was the Home of the Good Guys.
Every air personality was a Good Guy to whom thousands of listeners related and tuned to every day. The Good Guy Basketball team raised huge dollars, Good Guy A-Go-Go gave thousands of young people a place to go every summer Tuesday night, and the Good Guys gave away thousands of prizes in hundreds of contests.

But “Good Guy” radio was on its way to becoming a bit of nostalgia. Still, the station led the ratings. The news department still made headlines. One of its biggest stories was literally in its back yard the Robin Hood Flour grain elevator blew up just two blocks away. Reporters ran back and forth all day and evening with reports.

And, a new announcer took KSTT by storm – Spike O’Dell. Hired as the morning personality, he quickly became one of the most popular in KSTT history. Listeners took to his humor, his infectious laughter, and the fact that he really was “one of them.”

Program director Jim O’Hara created a new audio and visual identity for the station, as it would now be known as “Someplace Special.” The new visual identity incorporated the use of a rainbow in the KSTT logo, and rainbow stickers were everywhere. KSTT’s ratings were still at the top with great music and contests. But there was something else on the horizon for radio listeners – the emergence of FM and its better sound in stereo. Over time, more local stations were ramping up their FM frequencies with popular music. New FM stations began to appear as well, and KSTT’s audience began to be siphoned away. Over the course of the next 15 years, FM had succeeded in killing off KSTT as everyone knew it.

By March of 1993, those illustrious call letters disappeared. Soon they were picked up by a station in sunny California and became an adult pop station. The west coast station uses the call letters sparingly, mostly calling itself “Coast FM.”

Perhaps a fitting place for the call letters to “retire,” but the soul of KSTT-1170 will always remain in the “Quint Cities.”

What KSTT Meant To So Many

With the nature of the radio business today, it would be difficult to imagine any station creating the magical entity that was KSTT, embodied by the “Good Guys.” KSTT 1170 gave listeners many years of great music, personalities, news, sports, events, promotions, and contests. In addition, the Good Guys were helping listeners create memories, timeless recollections of where they were, what they were doing, or whom they were with as they heard a particular song, announcer, news report, contest, or jingle. Booty Bottles, Big Red, the Good Guys, Good Guy A-Go-Go, Remember When, and Someplace Special – all hold unique places in our minds as we reflect on those years.

KSTT not only offered memories it launched careers. So many talented people sat behind a microphone in the KSTT studios. Former general manager Jerry Dunphy became a highly popular news anchor in LA. John Drury was a long-time anchor in Chicago. Ken Draper, who put KSTT into top-40 music, worked his magic at WCFL and other stations across the country. Mark Stevens became a legend in Texas radio.

Bob Moore went on to cover the White House for Mutual Radio News. Morry Alter capped a long career as the feature reporter at WCBS-TV, in New York.and won more than 20 Emmy awards. Lee Shannon was named Country Music Association’s disc jockey of the year two different times. Clark Anthony became a popular radio and TV personality in San Diego, Larry Cooper became a vice-president of CBS Radio News. Lou Gutenburger’s humor and characters were heard on Reno area radios for over 30 years.

Bill Vancil became the Exec.VP/GM of five Madison radio stations and was inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Bobby Rich moved on to several major markets including Seattle, New York, San Diego, and Tucson and was inducted into the Arizona Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Spike O’Dell became the top-rated morning personality at WGN, Chicago. Milo Hamilton, Charlie Steiner, Wayne Larrivee, and Fred Manfra are the voices of major league baseball and professional football and basketball.

Many others became air personalities, program managers, or news directors in large broadcast markets. Some left broadcasting entirely to find success in other fields. Newsman.Jeff Blake (real name Jim Orr) became a vice president of Happy Joe’s Pizza and later franchised a string of successful video stores and tanning salons. Disc jockey Brad Scott (real name Mark Moskowitz) became a successful oncologist.

It is doubtful that KSTT’s owners had any idea of what a legend “their” station would become in the history of local broadcasting. To them, it was a business, earning a living.

To the thousands of listeners, it was entertainment, information, and memories… truly the fabric of their lives.

Secret Stepping Stone Falls

The water feature was part of a proposition made to the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in 1964 to create the Genesee Recreation Area, which today includes the 650-acre C.S. Mott Lake, Crossroads Village, Huckleberry Railroad, Bluebell Beach, the Mounds, and miles of woodland trails. The original master plan for the area included a myriad of other facilities and amenities that never came to fruition such as an 18-hole golf course, a zoo, a soap box derby hill, a music and fine arts center and an equestrian arena. Mr. Mott was supposedly anxious to realize the lengthy project that he donated upwards of six million dollars to speed up the process. “I want to see this area used by the people of our community while I am still alive,” he is reported to have said often.

On January 11, 1971, Mott himself signaled bulldozer operations to begin work on the dam that would create the eponymous lake. The company hired to complete the project was Erickson and Lindstrom Construction Group. Finished in 1972, Bluebell Beach, located on the lake, opened to hundreds of beach-goers on the second of July. Mott himself visited the falls and took a ride on the lake during one of his last outings. The name of the falls was decided through a contest, and a Miss Debbie Holbrook of Flint submitted the winning entry, “Stepping Stone Falls.”
Little else is known of the falls. The brutalist architecture is a common hallmark of the time period in which it was designed, but the architect remains a mystery. ♦


SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedRankRating
First airedLast airedNetwork
136September 29, 1960 ( 1960-09-29 ) June 8, 1961 ( 1961-06-08 ) ABC1325.8 [a]
236September 28, 1961 ( 1961-09-28 ) June 7, 1962 ( 1962-06-07 ) 1124.7
339September 20, 1962 ( 1962-09-20 ) June 20, 1963 ( 1963-06-20 ) 2821.0
437September 19, 1963 ( 1963-09-19 ) May 28, 1964 ( 1964-05-28 ) 2721.9
536September 17, 1964 ( 1964-09-17 ) May 20, 1965 ( 1965-05-20 ) 1325.5
632September 16, 1965 ( 1965-09-16 ) April 28, 1966 ( 1966-04-28 ) CBS1523.8
732September 15, 1966 ( 1966-09-15 ) May 11, 1967 ( 1967-05-11 ) 2920.2 [b]
830September 9, 1967 ( 1967-09-09 ) March 30, 1968 ( 1968-03-30 ) 2420.8
928September 28, 1968 ( 1968-09-28 ) April 19, 1969 ( 1969-04-19 ) 1422.8
1026October 4, 1969 ( 1969-10-04 ) April 4, 1970 ( 1970-04-04 ) 1521.8 [c]
1124September 19, 1970 ( 1970-09-19 ) March 20, 1971 ( 1971-03-20 ) 1920.8
1224September 13, 1971 ( 1971-09-13 ) April 13, 1972 ( 1972-04-13 ) 47 [1] 17.2 [2]
  1. ^ Tied with 77 Sunset Strip
  2. ^ Tied with I Spy, The CBS Thursday Night Movie, and The F.B.I.
  3. ^ Tied with Ironside and The Johnny Cash Show

Season 1 (1960–61) Edit

The main characters are presented, including the three sons: Mike aged 18, Robbie aged 14, Chip aged 7, and Tramp the dog. The basic relationships within the family are established, that Steven Douglas is of Scottish descent, and has been a widower for 6 years.

A missile launch, sleeping in and daylight saving time make for an interesting Monday morning. The Douglas household is a chaotic affair of lost Indian arrowheads for Chip's turn in show and tell at school, Robbie's missing trumpet and some important lost plans of Steve's that Mike has nearly burned in the incinerator. In the end, they went through all that trouble for nothing. This episode features the voice talent of Paul Frees narrating the missile lunch for the entire episode.

When Steve invites his second cousin Selena to come and visit, Bub gets the strange impression that he is being neglected and isn't really needed. He decides to take up the offer of managing a movie theater in Plainview, and nothing the boys say or do can make him change his mind.

With Steve away in Seattle on a business trip, the Douglas household's version of man's best friend has been known to drag home anything he can get his jaws into. This time Tramp slinks in with a large stick of dynamite that has somewhere and somehow survived since the end of the Second World War.

Season 2 (1961–62) Edit

An old high school sweetheart calls for Steve while he is out. Feeling nostalgic, Steve tries to locate her in town, but never seems to be able to catch up with her as he reminisces about their past relationship. As he arrives home the door bell rings and he gets a disappointment then a surprise.

Steve takes a week's vacation from the family to stay at a wilderness fishing lodge, where he finds that the older couple who run the lodge are trying to play matchmaker, having invited an attractive woman there also. She is unsociable towards Steve at first until he points out that he only came along on the trip to appease his fellow campers.

Season 3 (1962–63) Edit

Chip sees a ghost while trick-or-treating.

Season 4 (1963–64) Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
1121"Almost the Sound of Music"Gene ReynoldsEd James & Seaman JacobsSeptember 19, 1963 ( 1963-09-19 ) 401
Robbie decides to enter a rock 'n' roll contest.
1132"Scotch Broth"Gene ReynoldsGeorge TibblesSeptember 26, 1963 ( 1963-09-26 ) 402
The Douglases go to Scotland to see their castle.
1143"Didya Ever Have One of Those Days?"Gene ReynoldsMilt Rosen & Danny SimonOctober 3, 1963 ( 1963-10-03 ) 403
Steve has a terrible day.
1154"Dear Robbie"Gene ReynoldsBob Fisher & Arthur MarxOctober 10, 1963 ( 1963-10-10 ) 404
Robbie becomes the school advice-columnist.
1165"A Car of His Own"Gene Reynolds TBAOctober 17, 1963 ( 1963-10-17 ) 405
Robbie deals to get a car to win a girl.
1176"How Do You Know?" TBA TBAOctober 24, 1963 ( 1963-10-24 ) 406
Mike announces he has found true love -- Sally Ann Morrison (played by Meredith MacRae) in her first of 29 appearances on the show.
1187"My Friend Ernie" TBA TBAOctober 31, 1963 ( 1963-10-31 ) 407
Chip and his pal Ernie go treasure hunting.
1198"The End of You-Know What"Gene ReynoldsJames Allardice & Tom AdairNovember 7, 1963 ( 1963-11-07 ) 408
Chip and Ernie conclude the world is ending.
1209"The Toupee" TBA TBANovember 14, 1963 ( 1963-11-14 ) 409
Bub tries to cover his baldness for a woman's visit.
12110"The Ever-Popular Robbie Douglas" TBA TBANovember 21, 1963 ( 1963-11-21 ) 410
Robbie runs for student council.
12211"The Proposals" TBA TBANovember 28, 1963 ( 1963-11-28 ) 411
Mike bungles his attempts to propose, but Sally says yes by the episode's end. (They will marry in Episode 185 -- Season 6, episode 1.)
12312"Steve and the Viking" TBA TBADecember 5, 1963 ( 1963-12-05 ) 412
Steve must escort a visiting dignitary's daughter, played by a heartily robust Sally Kellerman.
12413"Par for the Course" TBA TBADecember 12, 1963 ( 1963-12-12 ) 413
Robbie decides to take up golf to please Steve.
12514"Windfall" TBA TBADecember 19, 1963 ( 1963-12-19 ) 414
Chip's reward for saving a dog makes him popular.
12615"Top Secret" TBA TBADecember 26, 1963 ( 1963-12-26 ) 415
Bub is curious about Steve's top-secret project.
12716"Will Success Spoil Chip Douglas?" TBA TBAJanuary 2, 1964 ( 1964-01-02 ) 416
Ex-Vaudevillian Bub laments that there hasn't been a member of the Douglas family in show business for over thirty years, so he is delighted when Chip is selected to portray Christopher Columbus in a school play.
12817"Second Chorus" TBA TBAJanuary 9, 1964 ( 1964-01-09 ) 417
Mike and Sally think Steve is dating a singer.
12918"Never Look Back" TBA TBAJanuary 16, 1964 ( 1964-01-16 ) 418
Steve prepares for his 25-year high-school reunion.
13019"Marriage By Proxy" TBA TBAJanuary 23, 1964 ( 1964-01-23 ) 419
Helping a pregnant woman gives engaged Mike pause.
13120"The Chaperone" TBA TBAJanuary 30, 1964 ( 1964-01-30 ) 420
Bub acts as chaperon for Robbie's costume party.
13221"My Fair Chinese Lady" TBA TBAFebruary 6, 1964 ( 1964-02-06 ) 421
Robbie teaches American customs to a Chinese girl.
13322"House for Sale" TBA TBAFebruary 13, 1964 ( 1964-02-13 ) 422
The family may be moving to Hawaii. Note: In her first of 135 appearances, Tina Cole guest stars as Robbie's girlfriend Ina three years later she'd appear as Katie Miller, Robbie's girlfriend and eventual wife.
13423"Stone Frog" TBA TBAFebruary 20, 1964 ( 1964-02-20 ) 423
Chip's stone frog may indeed be magical.
13524"Stage Door Bub" TBA TBAFebruary 27, 1964 ( 1964-02-27 ) 424
The show-business fever reawakens in Bub. Pert Kelton had an important role in this episode.
13625"Fish Gotta Swim, Birds Gotta Fly" TBA TBAMarch 5, 1964 ( 1964-03-05 ) 425
Mike decides to teach Sally how to fish. Note: This is the first of eight appearances for Doris Singleton, two as Sally's mother and then six appearances in Season 11 as the mother of Chip's wife.
13726"Cherry Blossoms in Bryant Park" TBA TBAMarch 12, 1964 ( 1964-03-12 ) 426
Mike's Japanese former girlfriend comes to town.
13827"What's the Princess Really Like?"Gene ReynoldsStory by : Cynthia Lindsay
Teleplay by : Cynthia Lindsay & Gail Ingram Clement
March 19, 1964 ( 1964-03-19 ) 427
Steve's former sweetheart is now a princess. A pre-Sgt. Schultz John Banner has a bit part.
13928"The People's House" TBA TBAMarch 26, 1964 ( 1964-03-26 ) 428
Steve submits his house for a decorating contest. Jean Stapleton and Dianne Foster have featured roles in this episode.
14029"The Tree" TBA TBAApril 2, 1964 ( 1964-04-02 ) 429
Bub joins a women's group to save a tree.
14130"The Substitute Teacher" TBA TBAApril 9, 1964 ( 1964-04-09 ) 430
Robbie's class harasses a substitute teacher, and when Robbie mentions her name at home, Mike immediately recognizes it and Robbie gets an earful from Steve.
14231"Mike Wears the Pants" TBA TBAApril 16, 1964 ( 1964-04-16 ) 431
Mike and Sally waffle over a marriage decision.
14332"The Guys and the Dolls" TBA TBAApril 23, 1964 ( 1964-04-23 ) 432
Mike and his Air Force Reserve friends collect money for surgery for a mute girl. Martin Sheen has a pivotal role in this episode.
14433"The Ballad of Lissa Stratmeyer"Gene ReynoldsStory by : Glenn Wheaton & Mannie Manheim
Teleplay by : Glenn Wheaton & Mannie Manheim and Douglas Tibbles
April 30, 1964 ( 1964-04-30 ) 433
Members of a losing team may lose their girlfriends.
14534"Tramp Goes to Hollywood" TBA TBAMay 7, 1964 ( 1964-05-07 ) 434
Tramp is scheduled for a Hollywood film test.
14635"Adventure in New York" TBA TBAMay 14, 1964 ( 1964-05-14 ) 435
Mike and Robbie take a song to a New York publisher. J. Pat O'Malley has a featured part in this episode.
14736"Huckleberry Douglas" TBA TBAMay 21, 1964 ( 1964-05-21 ) 436
Ernie and Chip re-enact 'Tom Sawyer.'
14837"Guest in the House" TBA TBAMay 28, 1964 ( 1964-05-28 ) 437
Steve must take in a delinquent for a week. Tony Dow guest stars.

Season 5 (1964–65) Edit

While Bub is away in Ireland, Steve makes a disaster of cooking and laundry while Chip has a girl with very serious manners as their dinner guest.

Indians want to perform a ceremony in the yard.

Season 6 (1965–66) Edit

All episodes now filmed in color

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
1851"The First Marriage"James V. KernGeorge TibblesSeptember 16, 1965 ( 1965-09-16 ) 6501
Mike and Sally are married as Tim Considine makes his last appearance on the show. Mike thanks Steve for everything before he and Sally head off to his new job out of state. Back at home, the attention turns to Ernie, whose foster parents have moved to Japan, leaving Ernie at loose ends. Vera Miles appears in three episodes as Ernie's case worker and Virginia Gregg appears twice as her supervisor.
1862"Red Tape Romance"James V. KernGeorge TibblesSeptember 23, 1965 ( 1965-09-23 ) 6502
Steve considers adopting 10-year-old Ernie.
1873"Brother Ernie"James V. KernGeorge TibblesSeptember 30, 1965 ( 1965-09-30 ) 6503
Steve signs on the dotted line and Ernie is officially adopted into the Douglas family. "Goodnight, son" and "Goodnight, dad" are the last lines spoken by Steve and Ernie in this touching episode.
1884"Robbie and the Chorus Girl" TBA TBAOctober 14, 1965 ( 1965-10-14 ) 6504
Charley is concerned about Robbie's latest girlfriend, who works as a nightclub entertainer.
1895"There's a What in the Attic?" TBA TBAOctober 21, 1965 ( 1965-10-21 ) 6505
Ernie spots a lion but no one believes him, thinking it's just a bid for attention from his new family.
1906"Office Mother" TBA TBAOctober 28, 1965 ( 1965-10-28 ) 6506
Steve's new secretary (an over-the-top Joan Blondell) runs the office like a kitchen.
1917"Mary-Lou" TBA TBANovember 4, 1965 ( 1965-11-04 ) 6507
Chip makes a date with an older girl who thinks on the phone that he is Robbie.
1928"Monsters and Junk Like That" TBA TBANovember 11, 1965 ( 1965-11-11 ) 6508
Steve becomes trapped in a metal robot suit on his way to perform in Ernie's school play.
1939"Charley and the Dancing Lesson" TBA TBANovember 18, 1965 ( 1965-11-18 ) 6509
A lovely dance instructor (Joanna Moore) signs Charley up for lessons.
19410"My Son, the Ballerina" TBA TBANovember 25, 1965 ( 1965-11-25 ) 6510
Robbie is recommended to take a ballet class by his football coach, to improve his coordination. All goes well, until Robbie is expected to perform at an upcoming ballet recital, against his "masculine" instincts. Will he perform?
19511"The Ernie Report" TBA TBADecember 2, 1965 ( 1965-12-02 ) 6511
The family's busy love lives leave little time for Ernie.
19612"The Hong Kong Story" TBA TBADecember 9, 1965 ( 1965-12-09 ) 6512
Charley searches for a long-lost love in Hong Kong. George Takei has a bit part in this episode.
19713"Marriage and Stuff" TBA TBADecember 16, 1965 ( 1965-12-16 ) 6513
The family is convinced Steve is soon to wed, so Uncle Charley plans to go back to sea, Robbie plans to move to a dorm, and Chip and Ernie make plans to live with Mike and Sally in Arizona.
19814"Douglas A Go-Go" TBA TBADecember 23, 1965 ( 1965-12-23 ) 6514
Chip decides to give a coed party.
19915"Charley the Pigeon" TBA TBADecember 30, 1965 ( 1965-12-30 ) 6515
Charley seeks revenge on two female pool hustlers.
20016"What About Harry?" TBA TBAJanuary 6, 1966 ( 1966-01-06 ) 6516
A shaggy dog adopts Steve guests Lee Meriwether and Linda Watkins as animal rescuers.
20117"From Maggie with Love" TBA TBAJanuary 13, 1966 ( 1966-01-13 ) 6517
Steve's wealthy admirer (Dana Wynter) gives gifts to the family.
20218"Robbie and the Slave Girl" TBA TBAJanuary 20, 1966 ( 1966-01-20 ) 6518
A Chinese girl Robbie saved wants to be his slave.
20319"Steve and the Huntress" TBA TBAJanuary 27, 1966 ( 1966-01-27 ) 6519
A beautiful explorer (Terry Moore (actress)) asks Steve to go on safari with her.
20420"Robbie the College Man" TBA TBAFebruary 3, 1966 ( 1966-02-03 ) 6520
Robbie moves into a crowded dorm room.
20521"Whatever Happened to Baby Chip?" TBA TBAFebruary 10, 1966 ( 1966-02-10 ) 6521
Chip decides to grow long hair guest Jay North.
20622"Robbie and the Little Stranger" TBA TBAFebruary 17, 1966 ( 1966-02-17 ) 6522
Baby-sitter Robbie must bring his charge home. Tina Cole plays Robbie's girlfriend, Joanne.
20723"Call Her Max" TBA TBAFebruary 24, 1966 ( 1966-02-24 ) 6523
Two tomboys -- a female engineer and a member of a girls hockey team -- prove tough to handle for Steve and Chip. Terry Burnham plays, Georgie, Chip's female antagonist.
20824"Kid Brother Blues" TBA TBAMarch 3, 1966 ( 1966-03-03 ) 6524
Chip and a pal break up Robbie's date. Soon, Chip gets the same treatment from Ernie.
20925"Robbie's Double Date" TBA TBAMarch 10, 1966 ( 1966-03-10 ) 6525
Robbie goes steady with two girls at once.
21026"Our Boy in Washington" TBA TBAMarch 17, 1966 ( 1966-03-17 ) 6526
Ernie's courtesy wins the family a trip to France, where they meet a government official and are paired off with young friends.
21127"Ernie and That Woman" TBA TBAMarch 24, 1966 ( 1966-03-24 ) 6527
A sixth-grade girl deceives fourth-grader Ernie and tricks him into giving her a colorful exotic stamp from his album.
21228"The State vs. Chip Douglas" TBA TBAMarch 31, 1966 ( 1966-03-31 ) 6528
Ernie notices that a rare coin in his collection is missing and accuses Chip of swiping it to pay for postage due. An impromptu trial is held with a jury of the children's friends, and Chip is acquitted. Ernie then finds the coin and realizes Chip was innocent all along.
21329"A Hunk of Hardware" TBA TBAApril 7, 1966 ( 1966-04-07 ) 6529
Ernie feels left out, when he realizes he has no trophies to add to the Douglas trophy shelf.
21430"The Wrong Robbie" TBA TBAApril 14, 1966 ( 1966-04-14 ) 6530
An unknown double nearly wrecks Robbie's reputation. Mike Minor (actor) provided the deep voice of Robbie's mischievous doppelgänger.
21531"The Wheels" TBA TBAApril 21, 1966 ( 1966-04-21 ) 6531
A girl (Sherry Jackson) driving Robbie's car gets a traffic ticket, causing Robbie to lose driving privileges until he pays Uncle Charley back the $16 for the fine. Robbie and the girl discover that dating without a car can be as equally fun as driving.
21632"London Memories" TBA TBAApril 28, 1966 ( 1966-04-28 ) 6532
Steve longs for a widow he met while in London, played by veteran actress Anna Lee.

Season 7 (1966–67) Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
2171"Stag at Bay"James V. KernElroy SchwartzSeptember 15, 1966 ( 1966-09-15 ) 6601
Steven helps a dancer from a bachelor party (Leslie Parrish) who was evicted from her apartment and wants to return to her midwest hometown.
2182"Fly Away Home" TBA TBASeptember 22, 1966 ( 1966-09-22 ) 6602
Steve visits his hometown and his sister. He dines with his old girlfriend, her surly husband and sarcastic children in their messy house. Mike is referred to by name for the last time in the series.
2193"Forget Me Not"James V. KernJoseph HoffmanSeptember 29, 1966 ( 1966-09-29 ) 6603
Steve gets a letter from a woman he supposedly dated a long time ago who says she'll be in town and would like to get together. She appears to remember an awful lot about Steve including his likes and dislikes, and keeps calling him Stevie. On the other hand, try as he might, Steve does not remember her at all.
2204"Good Guys Finish Last" TBA TBAOctober 6, 1966 ( 1966-10-06 ) 6604
Steve's team fares poorly on a father-son quiz show.
2215"Arrivederci Robbie" TBA TBAOctober 13, 1966 ( 1966-10-13 ) 6605
Robbie dates an Italian girl and visits her home, where her parents try to push him into marriage.
2226"If at First" TBA TBAOctober 20, 1966 ( 1966-10-20 ) 6606
Steve flunks his driving test more than once. Yvonne Craig guests as a zealous meter maid.
2237"Robbie's Underground Movie" TBA TBANovember 3, 1966 ( 1966-11-03 ) 6607
Robbie makes an avant-garde movie of his home life, for a film class.
2248"Fiddler Under the Roof" TBA TBANovember 10, 1966 ( 1966-11-10 ) 6608
Uncle Charley tries to teach Ernie to play the violin but runs into a major obstacle: the boy's lack of talent.
2259"Happy Birthday, World" TBA TBANovember 17, 1966 ( 1966-11-17 ) 6609
Robbie starts a cake-baking business in his home.
22610"The Awkward Age" TBA TBADecember 1, 1966 ( 1966-12-01 ) 6610
Steve and Robbie both like and date the same woman (Susan Oliver) who is Robbie's tutor.
22711"A Real Nice Time" TBA TBADecember 8, 1966 ( 1966-12-08 ) 6611
Chip wins a date with a teen movie star, thanks to a request by Ernie. The perky actress comes to the Douglas's house with her manager, a camera crew and noisy group of fans, which a disinterested Chip finds annoying.
22812"A Falling Star" TBA TBADecember 15, 1966 ( 1966-12-15 ) 6612
Steve helps a faded singing star (Jaye P. Morgan).
22913"Tramp or Ernie" TBA TBADecember 22, 1966 ( 1966-12-22 ) 6613
The doctor says Ernie is allergic to Tramp. Ernie generously offers to move out, but Steve says they can compromise.
23014"Grandma's Girl" TBA TBADecember 29, 1966 ( 1966-12-29 ) 6614
Chip wants to take a girl from school to a party, but her old-fashioned grandma think she's too young to date. Chip and Uncle Charley visit the grandma but find that once they stir up her old memories, it's not going to be easy to get out of the house. Terry Burnham plays the girl, Gail McGee, the granddaughter and Chip's interest.
23115"You Saw a What?" TBA TBAJanuary 5, 1967 ( 1967-01-05 ) 6615
Ernie's excited reports of seeing a flying saucer are received with skepticism, but the next day he not only sees the weird vehicle again, but he snaps some pictures and is later told by the Air Force to keep quiet about it.
23216"Both Your Houses" TBA TBAJanuary 12, 1967 ( 1967-01-12 ) 6616
Robbie is delighted when college classmate Peggy moves in next door, and the pair immediately go to work on a joint assignment for their Shakespeare class. He plays Romeo to her Juliet when a feud between the two families seems imminent. Jackie DeShannon, Constance Moore and Elvia Allman play the neighbors in this episode.
23317"My Pal Dad" TBA TBAJanuary 19, 1967 ( 1967-01-19 ) 6617
Steve takes a reluctant and bored Robbie on their annual fishing trip, but young Ernie would much rather go instead.
23418"TV or Not TV" TBA TBAJanuary 26, 1967 ( 1967-01-26 ) 6618
Uncle Charley bans TV for one week while Steve is away. Robbie and a cynical girl create a college television show.
23519"My Dad, the Athlete" TBA TBAFebruary 2, 1967 ( 1967-02-02 ) 6619
Steve must run in a 3-mile cross-country race for fathers, who all feel they are out of shape.
23620"The Good Earth" TBA TBAFebruary 9, 1967 ( 1967-02-09 ) 6620
Uncle Charley buys a lot in a new real estate development that looks and sounds better on paper than in actuality.
23721"My Son, the Bullfighter" TBA TBAFebruary 16, 1967 ( 1967-02-16 ) 6621
Robbie has aspirations of becoming a bullfighter. He starts out by confronting a killer bull with no knowledge about the sport whatsoever. Then, after a few lessons, he tries out his skills on a farmer's pet bull, who is tame, completely harmless and disinterested.
23822"The Best Man" TBA TBAFebruary 23, 1967 ( 1967-02-23 ) 6622
Robbie must be best man at an old love's wedding.
23923"Now, in My Day" TBA TBAMarch 2, 1967 ( 1967-03-02 ) 6623
Chip dates two junior-high girls at once.
24024"Melinda" TBA TBAMarch 9, 1967 ( 1967-03-09 ) 6624
Chip as a courtesy pretends to like the 13-year old daughter of Steve's date, although the girl is "spooky" and wants to go steady with him right away.
24125"Charley O' the Seven Seas" TBA TBAMarch 16, 1967 ( 1967-03-16 ) 6625
Charley's seafaring tales enchant Ernie's teacher.
24226"Help, the Gypsies Are Coming!" TBA TBAMarch 23, 1967 ( 1967-03-23 ) 6626
A Gypsy tribe camps out on the Douglases' lawn.
24327"Ernie's Folly" TBA TBAMarch 30, 1967 ( 1967-03-30 ) 6627
Ernie lacks Steve's help on a science-fair project. He builds a clock by himself and unlike his schoolmates, he is able to explain how it works - only in his case, it doesn't work.
24428"Ernie's Crowd" TBA TBAApril 6, 1967 ( 1967-04-06 ) 6628
When Ernie tags along on their dates, the Douglas men have trouble telling him that he is not wanted and try to avoid him whenever they go out again.
24529"Ernie and the O'Grady" TBA TBAApril 13, 1967 ( 1967-04-13 ) 6629
When Ernie invites a vagabond that he befriended in the park to the house for dinner, Steve decides to not pass judgment and give Ernie the chance to realize that the guy is nothing more than a freeloader. Guest star Eddie Foy Jr.
24630"The Sky Is Falling" TBA TBAApril 20, 1967 ( 1967-04-20 ) 6630
Robbie does well as a part-time real estate agent.
24731"So Long Charley, Hello" TBA TBAApril 27, 1967 ( 1967-04-27 ) 6631
An old friend (James Gregory) tempts Charley with joining him on a long sea voyage.
24832"Weekend in Paradise" TBA TBAMay 11, 1967 ( 1967-05-11 ) 6632
A visit to Hawaii proves eventful for all.

Season 8 (1967–68) Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
2491"Moving Day"Fred de Cordova TBASeptember 9, 1967 ( 1967-09-09 ) 6701
After Steve gets transferred in his job to California, the Douglas family sells their house in Bryant Park and heads for the West Coast. They soon realize that the people in California, including their neighbors, are as chilly as the weather is warm. Robbie develops feelings for Katie (Tina Cole), a girl at his new college. Note: My Three Sons moved from Thursdays to Saturdays on CBS.
2502"Robbie Loves Katie"Fred de Cordova TBASeptember 16, 1967 ( 1967-09-16 ) 6702
After Robbie decides he will tell Katie that he wants to stop exclusively seeing her, he ends up proposing marriage instead. He then enlists Steve's help to let her down easy.
2513"Inspection of the Groom"Fred de Cordova TBASeptember 23, 1967 ( 1967-09-23 ) 6703
As Robbie and Katie get ready for their upcoming wedding, Katie's family and friend are skeptical over whether Robbie is the right guy for Katie. Joan Tompkins makes her first of nine appearances as Katie's mother and Kathryn Givney the first of four appearances as Katie's grandmother.
2524"Countdown to Marriage"Fred de Cordova TBASeptember 30, 1967 ( 1967-09-30 ) 6704
Robbie and Katie are ready to call off their engagement after having a fight until Katie's grandmother intercedes, asking each if they love each other. Katie doesn't respond, but Robbie says he loves Katie. That's all Katie needs to hear. They reconcile and the wedding is back on. Meanwhile, Robbie's best man falls ill and Chip is recruited to take his place.
2535"Wedding Bells"Fred de Cordova TBAOctober 7, 1967 ( 1967-10-07 ) 6705
The Douglas clan oversleeps on Robbie and Katie's wedding day and chaos reigns as they get ready. Tramp is missing but arrives at the church just in time for the ceremony, which goes off without a hitch. Later, a wistful Steve and Charley marvel at how fast Robbie has turned into a man.
2546"The Homecoming"Fred de Cordova TBAOctober 14, 1967 ( 1967-10-14 ) 6706
Robbie and Katie return from their honeymoon and everything seems to go wrong for Katie as the Douglas clan adjusts to the fact that their all-male household is no longer all-male.
2557"My Wife, the Waitress"Fred de Cordova TBAOctober 21, 1967 ( 1967-10-21 ) 6707
Robbie is distressed to discover that Katie is working as a nightclub cigarette girl.
2568"The Chameleon"Fred de Cordova TBAOctober 28, 1967 ( 1967-10-28 ) 6708
The Douglas family has a problem persuading Ernie to accept a new friend when he learns she's a girl.
2579"Designing Woman"Fred de Cordova TBANovember 4, 1967 ( 1967-11-04 ) 6709
Katie recognizes Steve's new colleague (Oscar-winner Anne Baxter) as a designing woman long before the men in the family discover it. Steven finally introduces her to another eligible man.
25810"Ernie, the Bluebeard"Fred de Cordova TBANovember 11, 1967 ( 1967-11-11 ) 6710
Ernie, who doesn't even like girls, winds up with two dates for the same dance. A pre-Brady Bunch Maureen McCormick appears as one of the girls.
25911"The Heartbeat"Fred de CordovaBernard RothmanNovember 18, 1967 ( 1967-11-18 ) 6711
Katie, alone in the Douglas home, is frightened by what she thinks is the sound of a loud heartbeat.
26012"The Computer Picnic"Fred de Cordova TBANovember 25, 1967 ( 1967-11-25 ) 6712
Chip manages to outwit the machine age when a computer is used to select partners for a school picnic. Ed Begley Jr. makes his first screen appearance in a bit part as Chip's classmate.
26113"The Aunt Who Came to Dinner"Fred de CordovaWilliam Raynor & Myles WilderDecember 2, 1967 ( 1967-12-02 ) 6713
Katie's Aunt Cecile (Marsha Hunt (actress, born 1917)) is a guest in the Douglas household and in a few days rearranges their furniture -- and their lives.
26214"Leaving the Nest"Fred de CordovaPeggy ElliottDecember 9, 1967 ( 1967-12-09 ) 6714
When minor irritations arise in the Douglas household, Robbie and Katie move temporarily into a borrowed apartment while their friends are away. Their life is complicated by the absence of a coffee pot, a pull-down bed that won't go up, and the lack of a television set.
26315"You're Driving Me Crazy"Fred de Cordova TBADecember 16, 1967 ( 1967-12-16 ) 6715
Chip Douglas is so nervous about taking his driving test that his new sister-in-law Katie decides to help by taking the test with him. Soon after they both get their driving licenses the family car collects a big scratch, but neither will plead guilty.
26416"Liverpool Saga"Fred de CordovaFreddy RheaDecember 23, 1967 ( 1967-12-23 ) 6716
Chip invites a long-haired, guitar-playing boy from Liverpool (guest star Jeremy Clyde) to be a key addition to his off-key band.
26517"The Chaperones"Fred de CordovaPaul WestDecember 30, 1967 ( 1967-12-30 ) 6717
Robbie and Katie serve as chaperones for four high school couples, including Chip, on an overnight trip to a park cabin. Katie insists that Robbie follow and supervise as the couples separately go hiking outside and to a lake. In the evening the group plan to borrow Robbie's car to drive to a tavern, but Robbie purposely disables the car so it won't start.
26618"Green-Eyed Robbie"Fred de CordovaLois HireJanuary 6, 1968 ( 1968-01-06 ) 6718
Robbie displays a bit of jealousy when his bride innocently agrees to tutor a handsome ex-boyfriend (Charles Knox Robinson billed as Charles Robinson.)
26719"Charley's Tea"Fred de CordovaPaul WestJanuary 13, 1968 ( 1968-01-13 ) 6719
Katie tearfully complains when Uncle Charley makes her feel unnecessary in the Douglas household. Steve speaks to Charley who is flabbergasted at the accusation, but immediately makes amends. Meanwhile, Chip is on a five-man school committee four of the 'men' are girls and they won't let him open his mouth.
26820"Ernie, the Jinx"Fred de CordovaAustin Kalish & Irma KalishJanuary 20, 1968 ( 1968-01-20 ) 6720
Ernie becomes convinced he's a jinx when things inexplicably start to go wrong whenever he's around.
26921"Ernie and Zsa Zsa"Fred de Cordova TBAJanuary 27, 1968 ( 1968-01-27 ) 6721
Ernie meets Zsa Zsa Gabor after accidentally falling into her swimming pool. She befriends Ernie, but no one at home believes him until Zsa Zsa pays a surprise visit to the Douglas household.
27022"A Horse for Uncle Charley"Fred de Cordova TBAFebruary 3, 1968 ( 1968-02-03 ) 6722
Uncle Charley is talked into buying an 11-year-old trotting horse in the hopes of capturing old racing glories, and the family is delighted, but can the horse run fast enough to qualify to compete?
27123"Dear Enemy"Fred de Cordova TBAFebruary 10, 1968 ( 1968-02-10 ) 6723
Robbie goes to Camp Roberts for two weeks military reserve training. Of course, the family must also traipse through the same woods, and by happenstance or misadventure each member of the family is inadvertently caught as a military prisoner.
27224"Uncle Charley's Aunt"Fred de Cordova TBAFebruary 17, 1968 ( 1968-02-17 ) 6724
Uncle Charley performs in his lodge show and is forced to walk home dressed as the Lady for a Day character Apple Annie after he is locked out of the dressing room. Charley and his friends also perform as Florodora girls in the show, and the Douglas family perform Downtown (Petula Clark song) in their living room.
27325"The Standing Still Tour"Fred de Cordova TBAFebruary 24, 1968 ( 1968-02-24 ) 6725
Everyone in the Douglas family leaves for some romantic place -- leaving Ernie and Uncle Charley at home. Character actor Douglas Fowley appears as an old pal of Charley's, now acting in a TV western.
27426"Honorable Guest"Fred de CordovaAustin Kalish & Irma KalishMarch 2, 1968 ( 1968-03-02 ) 6726
The Douglases cancel a camping trip to play host to unexpected Chinese friends from Bryant Park.
27527"The Perfect Separation"Fred de CordovaJames BrooksMarch 9, 1968 ( 1968-03-09 ) 6727
The first time Katie and Robbie entertain at home, a game of truth-telling imperils the marriage of two close friends, played by Lynn Loring and Robert Dunlap.
27628"Gossip, Incorporated"Fred de Cordova TBAMarch 16, 1968 ( 1968-03-16 ) 6728
When two Mrs. Douglases visit Steve at his new job, his gossipy employees suspect he's a bigamist. Familiar TV actors Abby Dalton, Shirley Mitchell, Marvin Kaplan, Jane Dulo, Marcia Mae Jones and Gail Fisher appear in this episode.
27729"The Masculine Mystique"Fred de Cordova TBAMarch 23, 1968 ( 1968-03-23 ) 6729
A misunderstanding over a girl almost ruins the friendship between Ernie and his closest pal.
27830"The Tire Thief"Fred de Cordova TBAMarch 30, 1968 ( 1968-03-30 ) 6730
Ernie and his friend cease to enjoy their 'cops and robbers' games when the real cops start searching for them.

Season 9 (1968–69) Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
2791"The Great Pregnancy" TBA TBASeptember 28, 1968 ( 1968-09-28 ) 6801
Katie's mother senses that her daughter is expecting, and she's right.
2802"Dr. Osborne, M.D." TBA TBAOctober 5, 1968 ( 1968-10-05 ) 6802
Katie and Robbie must choose a doctor to see them through her pregnancy, and despite Robbie's initial skepticism they choose Katie's long-time family physician, played by venerable character actor Leon Ames in his first of four appearances as Dr. Osborne.
2813"Life Begins in Katie" TBA TBAOctober 12, 1968 ( 1968-10-12 ) 6803
The baby stirs inside Katie, and Robbie suddenly sheds his youthful ways. Butch Patrick makes his first of seven appearances as Ernie's best pal Gordon Dearing.
2824"The Grandfathers" TBA TBAOctober 19, 1968 ( 1968-10-19 ) 6804
Because he's about to become a grandfather, Steve has an easier time working out a contract with a general who is also a new grandfather himself. Arthur O'Connell and Herbert Anderson portray generals
2835"The Baby Nurse" TBA TBAOctober 26, 1968 ( 1968-10-26 ) 6805
Uncle Charley prepares himself as a baby nurse by hiring himself out as a baby sitter.
2846"Big Ol' Katie" TBA TBANovember 9, 1968 ( 1968-11-09 ) 6806
Expectant Katie is distressed by her hugeness until she learns she is to have more than one baby.
2857"My Three Grandsons" TBA TBANovember 16, 1968 ( 1968-11-16 ) 6807
In this touching episode, Katie surprises everyone by giving birth to identical triplet sons. At the end of the episode, the new mother asks her husband "What are you thinking?" and Robbie replies "I'm thinking about how much I love you. and my three sons," followed by big smiles and a tender kiss.
2868"Tea for Three" TBA TBANovember 23, 1968 ( 1968-11-23 ) 6808
The triplets come home from the hospital, but Robbie finds he is unprepared for the attention they are getting. Katie and Robbie name the boys Robert Jr., Steven and Charles.
2879"Back to Earth" TBA TBANovember 30, 1968 ( 1968-11-30 ) 6809
Robbie decides to quit school in order to work full time, but Steve and a school counselor discourage him.
28810"First Night Out" TBA TBADecember 7, 1968 ( 1968-12-07 ) 6810
All the other Douglases come home early from separate evening events, when a baby sitter (Rose Marie) and Ernie take care of the triplets for the first time and are too busy to answer the others' phone calls.
28911"Casanova O'Casey" TBA TBADecember 14, 1968 ( 1968-12-14 ) 6811
On the rebound after his girlfriend, Sally, suddenly marries another, Uncle Charley acquires many new lady friends.
29012"Expendable Katie" TBA TBADecember 21, 1968 ( 1968-12-21 ) 6812
When Katie is exhausted and goes away with her mother for a couple of days, the noise and chaos caused by Ernie and his friends overwhelm Uncle Charley, Robbie and the babies, so a three-woman cleaning crew is hired to restore the home to its usual state.
29113"The New Room" TBA TBADecember 28, 1968 ( 1968-12-28 ) 6813
A cantankerous contractor (Ed Begley) hired to enlarge Robbie and Katie's room ends up locking horns with everyone except Katie, who manages to charm him into completing the job according to her wishes.
29214"The Fountain of Youth" TBA TBAJanuary 4, 1969 ( 1969-01-04 ) 6814
Steve meets an attractive widow who seems very interested in him, but she suddenly turns cool toward him.
29315"Three's a Crowd" TBA TBAJanuary 11, 1969 ( 1969-01-11 ) 6815
The triplets get mixed up and must be taken back to the hospital -- twice! -- for proper identification.
29416"Chip and Debbie" TBA TBAJanuary 18, 1969 ( 1969-01-18 ) 6816
Chip surprises the Douglas family by becoming 'engaged' to pretty Debbie Hunter (Angela Cartwright).
29517"What Did You Do Today, Grandpa?" TBA TBAJanuary 25, 1969 ( 1969-01-25 ) 6817
Uncle Charley thinks Steve is stuck in a rut, but that day instead of the same old routine, Steve is selected by his company to carry out a top-secret assignment in which he encounters spies, undercover agents, and a New York City full of eccentric characters, including Anne Jeffreys and Mike Mazurki.
29618"Chip on Wheels" TBA TBAFebruary 1, 1969 ( 1969-02-01 ) 6818
Steve gives Chip a well-preserved secondhand car for his birthday.
29719"Honorable Expectant Grandfather" TBA TBAFebruary 8, 1969 ( 1969-02-08 ) 6819
A Chinese-American friend of Steve's is concerned about the man his daughter has married.
29820"The Other Woman" TBA TBAFebruary 15, 1969 ( 1969-02-15 ) 6820
Chip and Ernie observe their married older brother, Robbie, in the company of a glamorous other woman.
29921"Goodbye Forever" TBA TBAFebruary 22, 1969 ( 1969-02-22 ) 6821
Ernie goes through a trying period when he learns that his best friend is moving away.
30022"The O'Casey Scandal" TBA TBAMarch 1, 1969 ( 1969-03-01 ) 6822
Ernie and his girlfriend are dismayed when Uncle Charley and her grandmother don't act like old folks.
30123"Ernie's Pen Pal" TBA TBAMarch 8, 1969 ( 1969-03-08 ) 6823
Ernie's Latin American pen pal astonishes him by showing up in person at the Douglas home.
30224"Ernie the Transmitter" TBA TBAMarch 15, 1969 ( 1969-03-15 ) 6824
Ernie, convinced he has ESP, predicts disaster if Robbie and Katie keep a doctor's appointment.
30325"The Matchmakers" TBA TBAMarch 22, 1969 ( 1969-03-22 ) 6825
Steve and his business partner face a problem when their children develop an immediate dislike for each other.
30426"Ernie Is Smitten" TBA TBAMarch 29, 1969 ( 1969-03-29 ) 6826
Ernie attempts to remake his image when Margaret Crookshank refuses to give him a second look.
30527"Two O'Clock Feeding" TBA TBAApril 5, 1969 ( 1969-04-05 ) 6827
Steve is cast in the role of marriage counselor by a young couple who turn to him for help.
30628"Teacher's Pet" TBA TBAApril 19, 1969 ( 1969-04-19 ) 6828
Ernie's writing ability lands him in an advanced special English class with a strict but efficient teacher, played by guest star Sylvia Sidney.

Season 10 (1969–70) Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
3071"The First Meeting"Fred de Cordova TBAOctober 4, 1969 ( 1969-10-04 ) 6901
Widower Steve meets a remarkable woman in a high-school corridor, and the two are quickly attracted to each other. Also, Robbie and Katie and their three sons move out of the Douglas home and into their own apartment. Beverly Garland's first appearance as Barbara Harper.
3082"Instant Co-Worker"Fred de Cordova TBAOctober 11, 1969 ( 1969-10-11 ) 6902
Steve's romance with Barbara flowers and Robbie is offered a job as a structural engineer at his father's firm. He tries to talk it over with Steve, because he wants to avoid the appearance of nepotism. Dawn Lyn is introduced as Barbara's daughter Dodie, and familiar character actress Eleanor Audley is cast as Barbara's mother.
3093"Is It Love?"Fred de CordovaGeorge TibblesOctober 18, 1969 ( 1969-10-18 ) 6903
The whole Douglas clan -- and Barbara's mother -- conspire to encourage Steve and Barbara's romance. The episode ends with their first kiss.
3104"A Ring for Barbara"Fred de Cordova TBAOctober 25, 1969 ( 1969-10-25 ) 6904
Steve pops the question to Barbara under circumstances far from ideal.
3115"The Littlest Rebel"Fred de CordovaGeorge TibblesNovember 1, 1969 ( 1969-11-01 ) 6905
Barbara employs her considerable store of diplomacy in an effort to gain acceptance from Steve's all-male family.
3126"Two Weeks to Go"Fred de Cordova TBANovember 8, 1969 ( 1969-11-08 ) 6906
Steve and Barbara discover they have been thinking in opposite terms as to how their wedding should be held.
3137"One Week to Go"Fred de Cordova TBANovember 15, 1969 ( 1969-11-15 ) 6907
Steve and Barbara have an argument serious enough for them to consider canceling their wedding.
3148"Came the Day"Fred de Cordova TBANovember 22, 1969 ( 1969-11-22 ) 6908
It's Steve and Barbara's wedding day. Not wanting a repeat of what happened before Rob's wedding, the Douglas clan awakes very early and gets dressed, then everyone goes back to sleep. Tramp runs off again and arrives at the wedding as before.
3159"Mexican Honeymoon"Fred de Cordova TBANovember 29, 1969 ( 1969-11-29 ) 6909
Steve and Barbara arrive in a quaint village in Mexico which Steve had previously visited on a fishing trip. They expect to find the same quiet place Steve remembers and have the place virtually to themselves. They are surprised to find the village has been "put on the map" by a travel magazine and the obscure little hotel, whose name has changed from Moon Hotel to Honeymoon Hotel, is filled to capacity with young newlyweds. The Douglases are continually put upon by the young couples around them for help with everything from homesickness, to settling quarrels to ordering food. Finally, the arrival of a bottle of Champagne from the family back in California, tips off the hotel guests to the fact that Steve and Barbara are themselves newlyweds. They give them the restaurant to themselves that evening and the romantic honeymoon they anticipated finally begins.
31610"After You, Alphonse"Fred de CordovaLois HireDecember 13, 1969 ( 1969-12-13 ) 6910
Katie asks Robbie to speak to Uncle Charley on his manners, and the result nearly drives Barbara out of her mind -- Charley is now being maddeningly polite with his "Sir Walter Raleigh" routine.
31711"Rough on Dodie"Fred de Cordova TBADecember 20, 1969 ( 1969-12-20 ) 6911
Little Dodie discovers that being a member of the Douglas family can be a rough-and-tumble proposition.
31812"Silver Threads"Fred de CordovaDouglas TibblesDecember 27, 1969 ( 1969-12-27 ) 6912
Katie panics when she detects a few gray hairs in her youthful head, and a family crisis is not far away.
31913"It's a Woman's World"Fred de Cordova TBAJanuary 3, 1970 ( 1970-01-03 ) 6913
Steve gets cast as a tree in Dodie's school play.
32014"Table for Eight"Fred de CordovaBob TouchstoneJanuary 10, 1970 ( 1970-01-10 ) 6914
Barbara faces a fiasco when she prepares her first dinner party for Steve's business associates.
32115"Double Jealousy"Fred de Cordova TBAJanuary 17, 1970 ( 1970-01-17 ) 6915
An attentive, attractive but highly efficient secretary (Brenda Benet) causes jealousy among the Douglas women, and quite a different reaction among the Douglas men.
32216"Dodie's Tonsils"Fred de Cordova TBAJanuary 24, 1970 ( 1970-01-24 ) 6916
Little Dodie goes to the hospital for a tonsillectomy and Steve stays the night with her. Meanwhile, Robbie and Katie go on a Mexican getaway without the triplets.
32317"Who Is Sylvia?"Fred de Cordova TBAJanuary 31, 1970 ( 1970-01-31 ) 6917
Steve's old girlfriend (guest star Jane Wyman), now a rich divorcee, comes to town and gives Barbara (and Katie) a few jealous moments.
32418"You Can't Go Home"Fred de Cordova TBAFebruary 7, 1970 ( 1970-02-07 ) 6918
Rob gets invited to an old friend's wedding back in Bryant Park and takes Katie with him, hoping to introduce her to other people he knew as well. Much to his surprise, virtually no one else remembers him.
32519"Guest in the House"Fred de Cordova TBAFebruary 14, 1970 ( 1970-02-14 ) 6919
Barbara finally loses the feeling that she is a guest in her own home when she needs to confront one of Chip's teachers, resulting in a new closeness between her and Chip and Ernie, who call her "mom" for the first time.
32620"Charley's Cello"Fred de Cordova TBAFebruary 21, 1970 ( 1970-02-21 ) 6920
Barbara thinks Uncle Charley is lonely playing his cello, so she invites three female musicians to join him.
32721"The Honeymoon Is Over"Fred de Cordova TBAFebruary 28, 1970 ( 1970-02-28 ) 6921
A special project at the plant keeps Steve and Robbie so busy and exhausted every night that their wives decide to pay them a surprise visit, only to find a seemingly wild party under way.
32822"Baubles, Bangles and Beatrice"Fred de Cordova TBAMarch 7, 1970 ( 1970-03-07 ) 6922
Ernie becomes the unwilling object of the affection of Dodie's 6-year-old friend Beatrice, and Barbara is called in to work as Chip's substitute history teacher.
32923"Mister X"Fred de Cordova TBAMarch 14, 1970 ( 1970-03-14 ) 6923
A bearded man of mystery confounds the Douglas family and authorities alike. The man turns out to be Barbara's former father-in-law. Veteran actor Lew Ayres guest stars.
33024"Dodie's Dilemma"Fred de Cordova TBAMarch 21, 1970 ( 1970-03-21 ) 6924
Steve formally adopts Dodie, who enlists the aid of Chip and Ernie after being harassed in school by a mean-spirited girl. Erin Moran, who would become famous as Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days, guest stars.
33125"Love Thy Neighbor"Fred de Cordova TBAMarch 28, 1970 ( 1970-03-28 ) 6925
Rob and Katie hit it off right away with their new neighbors, but tensions soon develop. Jerry Mathers and Lori Martin guest star.
33226"J.P. Douglas"Fred de Cordova TBAApril 4, 1970 ( 1970-04-04 ) 6926
Chip decides to become rich early in life by instituting a breakneck schedule of earning money.

Season 11 (1970–71) Edit

No. in
TitleOriginal air dateProd.
3331"The First Anniversary"September 19, 1970 ( 1970-09-19 ) 7001
Dodie throws a "surprise" party for Steve and Barbara on their first wedding anniversary. Ronne Troup joins the cast as Chip's girlfriend Polly, and Doris Singleton and Norman Alden appear as her strict parents.
3342"The Once Over"September 26, 1970 ( 1970-09-26 ) 7002
Chip is badly shaken when his girlfriend Polly suggests they elope.
3353"The Return of Albert"October 3, 1970 ( 1970-10-03 ) 7003
Barbara's handsome college boyfriend visits the Douglases for dinner, and he also goes golfing with Steve, who is affable at first but ultimately admits to a little jealousy. "Welcome to the human race" Barbara tells Steve with a smile as they snuggle up together. Craig Stevens (actor) guest stars.
3364"The Non-Proposal"October 10, 1970 ( 1970-10-10 ) 7004
Chip is amazed when he learns that Polly thinks she has become engaged to him.
3375"Polly Wants A Douglas"October 17, 1970 ( 1970-10-17 ) 7005
Chip and Polly have a spat when Chip turns down her offer to elope.
3386"The Cat Burglars"October 31, 1970 ( 1970-10-31 ) 7006
Dressed for a costume party, Steve goes for gas when his car stalls.
3397"The Elopement"November 7, 1970 ( 1970-11-07 ) 7007
Chip and Polly agree to elope -- and also agree to ask their parents' permission first.
3408"The Honeymoon"November 14, 1970 ( 1970-11-14 ) 7008
Newlyweds Chip and Polly drive to Mexico for their honeymoon at the same hotel Steve and Barbara stayed on their honeymoon a year earlier. Veronica Cartwright has a small part as a guest at the hotel. Note: In a remembrance by Steve long forgotten son Mike is sought of mentioned.
3419"One By One They Go"November 21, 1970 ( 1970-11-21 ) 7009
Bridegroom Chip faces a father-in-law who refuses to speak to his newly married daughter.
34210"My Four Women"November 28, 1970 ( 1970-11-28 ) 7010
Steve reluctantly agrees to be a model for his wife's fashion show, then refuses at the last minute when he discovers he has to walk the runway in a frilly shirt.
34311"The Bride Went Home"December 5, 1970 ( 1970-12-05 ) 7011
Chip becomes ill after eating Polly's cooking, and she believes it would be better if he left her.
34412"The Power of Suggestion"December 12, 1970 ( 1970-12-12 ) 7012
Ernie uses the members of the Douglas household as guinea pigs for his psychology assignment.
34513"St. Louis Blues"December 19, 1970 ( 1970-12-19 ) 7013
Rob and Katie have a month without the triplets as an anniversary present from Katie's mother in St. Louis. Joan Tompkins' final appearance as Katie's mom Lorraine.
34614"The Liberty Bell"January 2, 1971 ( 1971-01-02 ) 7014
Free-spirited childhood friend Jim Bell (Sal Mineo) piques Rob's interest in a motorcycle trip to the Colorado River.
34715"The Love God"January 9, 1971 ( 1971-01-09 ) 7015
Dodie falls for her second-grade teacher, played by Peter Brown (actor). A young Jodie Foster and Victoria Paige Meyerink appear as two of Dodie's classmates.
34816"The New Vice-President"January 16, 1971 ( 1971-01-16 ) 7016
Steve is up for a promotion, but Charley's colorful past may be an impediment.
34917"Robbie's Honey"January 23, 1971 ( 1971-01-23 ) 7017
Due to a series of innocent misunderstandings and unspoken accusations, Robbie is suspected of unfaithfulness.
35018"Ernie Drives"January 30, 1971 ( 1971-01-30 ) 7018
Ernie and his friend Yo-Ho (Butch Patrick) are excited about getting their driving licenses in time for a big school dance, but things don't go according to plan.
35119"Dodie Goes Downtown"February 6, 1971 ( 1971-02-06 ) 7019
Ernie is watching Dodie and her friend, and gives them permission to go to the local store, but they decide to take a bus downtown and do some shopping, getting lost in the process.
35220"The Recital"February 20, 1971 ( 1971-02-20 ) 7020
Dodie and her musical trio rehearse at the Douglas' but their off-key playing drives everyone to distraction. Jodie Foster appears (barely) as a member of Dodie's group.
35321"Debbie"February 27, 1971 ( 1971-02-27 ) 7021
A beauty (Brooke Bundy) gets the Douglas men to fix her car and Ernie takes a liking to her. The Douglas women see right away that she is manipulative and is merely taking advantage of them.
35422"Fit the Crime"March 6, 1971 ( 1971-03-06 ) 7022
Ernie and Dodie are confined to their rooms.
35523"The Return of Terrible Tom"March 13, 1971 ( 1971-03-13 ) 7023
Charley is disappointed when it seems his old shipmate (Arthur Hunnicutt) has changed.
35624"After the Honeymoon"March 20, 1971 ( 1971-03-20 ) 7024
When Robbie is laid off at the plant, he lands a new job in San Francisco. Pat Carroll and Richard X. Slattery appear as the new landlords, and Mike Minor (actor) plays a neighbor. Note: this was intended to be a pilot for a spin off series that CBS passed on.

Season 12 (1971–72) Edit

No. in
TitleOriginal air dateProd.
3571"The Advent of Fergus"September 13, 1971 ( 1971-09-13 ) 7101
Steve's irritating cousin Fergus McBain Douglas, who looks just like him, arrives from Scotland in search of a wife to take back with him. Fergus is played by MacMurray, with an uncredited Alan Caillou dubbing his Scottish burr.
3582"Fergus for Sale"September 20, 1971 ( 1971-09-20 ) 7102
Charley and Fergus feud but come to an understanding. Anne Francis makes the first of three appearances as Terri Dowling, a possible bride for cousin Fergus.
3593"Lady Douglas"September 27, 1971 ( 1971-09-27 ) 7103
Steve has his suspicions about Terri's potential as the future Lady Douglas.
3604"Goodbye Fergus"October 4, 1971 ( 1971-10-04 ) 7104
Fergus and Terri tie the knot in a lovely ceremony in the Douglas living room.
3615"Four for the Road"October 18, 1971 ( 1971-10-18 ) 7105
The triplets sneak away from a baby sitter.
3626"Polly the Pigeon"October 25, 1971 ( 1971-10-25 ) 7106
A door-to-door salesman (David Ketchum (actor)) works his charm on Polly.
3637"Happy Birthday, Anyway"November 1, 1971 ( 1971-11-01 ) 7107
Three birthday flaps disrupt the Douglas household: Barbara, Katie and Polly all have birthday issues with their husbands.
3648"Proxy Parents"November 8, 1971 ( 1971-11-08 ) 7108
Chip and Polly become parents for a weekend.
3659"The Enthusiast"November 15, 1971 ( 1971-11-15 ) 7109
Barbara worries that her competitive enthusiasm embarrasses Steve.
36610"Katie's Career"November 22, 1971 ( 1971-11-22 ) 7110
Katie gets a job as a coffeehouse singer. Anthony Caruso (actor) plays the owner.
36711"Polly's Secret Life"November 29, 1971 ( 1971-11-29 ) 7111
Polly tries to regain Chip's interest.
36812"The Sound of Music"December 6, 1971 ( 1971-12-06 ) 7112
Uncle Charley fills in as a cello instructor.
36913"TV Triplets"January 13, 1972 ( 1972-01-13 ) 7113
The triplets are chosen to be in a TV commercial. Bob Hastings and Michael Dante appear as the talent scout and director, respectively. This was the last episode filmed. Note: My Three Sons returned from Mondays to Thursdays on CBS.
37014"Three for School"January 20, 1972 ( 1972-01-20 ) 7114
Katie takes a temporary secretarial job, and Charley fumes when Katie puts the triplets in pre-school. Carolyn Stellar, Dawn Lyn's real-life mother, appears as Katie's co-worker.
37115"Alfred"January 27, 1972 ( 1972-01-27 ) 7115
A little first grader named Alfred develops a big crush on third grader Dodie Douglas -- much to her displeasure. When Uncle Charley invites him to dinner, Dodie tries to fake illness to get out of it. Very soon Alfred's mother reports that he is missing.
37216"Buttons and Beaux"February 3, 1972 ( 1972-02-03 ) 7116
When the Douglas men (and Dodie) feel sorry for Katie because of Robbie's continued absence, they shower her with attention by each one taking her out to the same restaurant four nights in a row.
37317"Peanuts"February 17, 1972 ( 1972-02-17 ) 7117
Dodie commits the entire Douglas family to a time consuming project - the awesome task of getting a four foot tall bag of peanuts into small little sacks which they hope to sell at the school fair to raise money for Korean orphans.
37418"Bad Day for Steve"February 24, 1972 ( 1972-02-24 ) 7118
Steve suddenly becomes accident-prone when his youngest son Ernie tries to discover by graph and observation how the moon's lunar phases affect people's behavior.
37519"Second Banana"March 2, 1972 ( 1972-03-02 ) 7119
While Steve becomes preoccupied with a time-consuming work project, Barbara blossoms forth as a championship cook: her recipe for "Tangy Tidbits" wins her a trip to Hawaii for the final cook-off.
37620"Bad Day for Barbara"March 16, 1972 ( 1972-03-16 ) 7120
Although Barbara is feeling very ill, she is saddled with the responsibility of looking after the entire Douglas household but in the end, to escape the pressure, she just walks out and leaves Steve and the family in a worried state.
37721"The Birth of Arfie"March 23, 1972 ( 1972-03-23 ) 7121
The Douglas family becomes concerned about Dodie's despondency when Tramp, the aging family mongrel, disappears for several days, so Barbara takes her to a child psychologist and Uncle Charley makes her a doggy rag-doll and names it Arfie.
37822"Lonesome Katie"March 30, 1972 ( 1972-03-30 ) 7122
Katie becomes disillusioned about life without Robbie, and seriously thinks about divorce after speaking with another of the wives (Elaine Giftos) in the same situation. Meanwhile, Dodie and her two pals campaign to Barbara to let them have a slumber party.
37923"Barbara Lost"April 6, 1972 ( 1972-04-06 ) 7123
John Simpson, an old friend of Chip's who's now a big rock star, pays a visit. Soon Chip tells the family that he's decided to give up his studies and become a rock star, too. The family is extremely concerned--until John mentions that he makes $2 million a year. Guest star: Micky Dolenz of The Monkees.
38024"Whatever Happened To Ernie?"April 13, 1972 ( 1972-04-13 ) 7124
Steve's boss and his wife count on the Douglas family to help them deal with their rebellious teen-aged son, Gordon (one of Ernie's classmates) after they suspect that the boy has fallen into drug use.

Special (1977) Edit

TitleOriginal air date
"A Thanksgiving Reunion with My Three Sons and The Partridge Family"November 25, 1977 ( 1977-11-25 )

At present, the following DVD sets have been released by Paramount Home Video. [3]




NOTE: Archives for "Fond Flashback" link are at the bottom of this page.

The Great Nights at the Drive-In

Don't forget to unhook those speakers!

More a State of Mind
Than An
Actual Span of Time

#1 - "The Times"

drive in movies - penny loafers - jukeboxes - white wall tires - schwinn bikes -the twist- local diners - jump ropes - bomb shelters - wingtips - hoola hoops - leave it to beaver - milkman - bowling - sunday afternoon drives - crusin' - 45's - 78's - the bop - malts - mini skirts - sadie hawkins day - pedal pushers - hop scotch - stilts - micky mouse club - bandstand - bell bottoms - rear view mirror fuzzy dice - pony tails - ducktails - going steady - polio vaccine - fizzies - root beer barrels - brylcreem - hair rollers - sock hops-saddle shoes - white bucks
The local level: soap box derby trials on ellicott ave. - alexander's dress shop - dean's drugs - batavia clippers - it's always ok to owe herb brenner - salways hardware: the big store on the little street - francis & mead jewelers - endicott & johnson shoes - dwyer shoes - dagwood - adams toy store - oliver's candies - ymca/ywca - dipsons - poka-dot - pontillo's - flavorite farms


A time when you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time. And you didn't pay for air.
No one ever asked where the car keys were because thet were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never locked.
Coffee shops & restaurants with tableside jukeboxes.
Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles.


Playing baseball with no adults to help with the rules of the game.
Lyin on your back in the grass with your friends and saying things like, "That cloud looks like a .
Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers. In the winter thet would freeze and pop open.
Newsreels before the movies.
Candy cigarettes waxed coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside.
Decisions were made with "eeny-meeny-miney-moe."
Catching fireflies could keep you occupied an entire evening. Well, that and Kick the Can or Oly-Oly-Oxen-Free.
And, how about those baseball cards in the spokes thgat transformed any bike into a motorcycle.
Let's not forget Cooties! or Piddle!
And you had five best friends, the BEST, of course was none other than:



A pictorial journey of the ཮'s with music of Buddy Holly

Best of Times
3 Videos


We’re back in the 1950s. The Opel Kadett and Kapitän are still rolling down Germany’s roads shop windows are stocked with petticoats and hats, and buffets serve up deviled eggs and meatloaf. On the weekends, racing fever runs rampant in the country. However, there’s no loud roar of the engines to be heard here: These vehicles rely on gravity alone to move. Soap box derbies have a magical attraction for participants and spectators alike. By 1953, competitions were being held in 200 cities, and more than 10,000 children and teens built their own racers and rattled their way to the starting ramps.

The sport came to Europe from the United States. Races were scheduled as early as 1949 the German Youth Activities (GYA) program, which was operated by the American forces occupying Germany, sponsored the series of races. In America, soap box derbies had already been a big attraction for some time. In Akron, Ohio, for instance, more than 80,000 spectators would regularly gather to see which child would win the world championship title in the All-American Soap Box Derby. The first races in the USA were staged in 1933 in Dayton, Ohio. The idea came from a soap manufacturer who had the outline of a child’s car printed on the large wooden crates that held his product. The structure of the car could be easily carved out with a saw and a wood plane, and the soap maker cleverly included axles, wheels, control cables, and a steering wheel in the boxes. The little vehicles got their name from these materials: soap box racers.

In Germany, Opel got involved in this new sport shortly after the end of World War II. And with good reason: The speedy wooden boxes were very much going back to their roots. In 1904, Germany was in the grips of automobile fever, and children began building the first small wooden cars. These children were inspired by the legendary Gordon Bennett Cup, which had its starting point in Germany for the first time ever that year: On 17 June, the race began in the city of Oberursel in the Taunus mountains, and it drew the elites from the racing world to Hesse. Though trendy at the time, it proved to have long-lasting appeal.

White box: That vehicle is exhibited in the Vortaunus Museum in Oberursel. It is the miniaturized replica of Carl Jörns’ Opel race car from 1907.

Most of the children watching the race wanted nothing more than to become race car drivers themselves. Their desire to emulate their heroes was what helped them achieve their goal. They constructed their own miniature race cars that could be pushed, foot-powered, or simply rolled down an incline. On 31 July 1904, during the summer festival of Humor, a local civic association, these racing rivals met for the first time on the slopes of the Taunus mountains: 16 hand-crafted wooden cars rolled up to the starting line.

Nearly three years to the day after that race, the wooden miniatures began to take on shape and form. At the “Kaiserpreis-Rennen” (Imperial Cup Race) in Usingen, Carl Jörns placed third in his Opel and received the award for the best German car. The next generation of engine-less racers now had a role model whose success they wanted to emulate. Jörns’ Opel became the model for 40 wooden cars whose chassis came from baby buggies, hay carts, luggage trolleys, or small carriages. On 21 July 1907, the little cars rolled down the hills in Usingen – the overwhelming response from the spectators and the excitement of the participants (and their fathers) quickly led to further races with these wooden cars.

So Oberursel is the birthplace of the soap box racer – or at least one of its forebears, right? No one is exactly sure. Stories tell of a wooden car race in Champigny near Paris as early as 1902 however, while there are written records of the first race in the foothills of the Taunus mountain range, none exist for this French race. However, the headlines about the Oberursel race weren’t all positive. The daily newspapers in Oberursel, Der Bürgerfreund and the Lokal-Anzeiger, reported that the car belonging to brothers Eberhard and Josef Steden had been sabotaged. Built by their older brother, Jean, the car was expected to have every chance of success, thanks to “significant improvements to the wheels and steering.” A man secretly tampered with the speedy little car before the race, and during the competition, the steering mechanisms failed – it was a miracle that no one was hurt. An investigation determined that the control cables had been cut another racer’s father was discovered to be the culprit. Even at this very first race, false pride and criminal intent were on display.

Later on, when the prizes offered by the big derbies totaled up to 5,000 marks, other participants fell victim to the temptation to use illegal methods to speed up their cars. They made them heavier with concealed lead weights inspectors would spot check by drilling into the wood or papier-mâché to see if the racers were trying to gain an undue advantage. The inspections strained the nerves of many participants the rules were very strict, even in the 1950s, and many racers new to the sport were forced to make last-minute changes before a race or were prohibited from racing at all. The stability of the construction, the reliability of the brakes and steering, and especially the weight were the reasons that often caused racers to be disqualified.

Exact specifications: The kits for junior athletes were delivered with meticulous instructions.

The golden age of soap box derbies began in the 1950s, when Opel launched an official competition in Germany. The young drivers who competed for the “Opel Grand Prix” had to be between 11 and 15 years old. The automobile manufacturer followed the American model, providing standardized technology and construction manuals and handling the organization of events. Instead of spot tests with drills, inspectors used modern infrared technology to detect illegal materials. Car and driver could not exceed a combined weight of 113 kilograms.

The rules were strict. The car had to be built by the driver himself. Outside help could only come from other children under 16 years of age. Only the wheels supplied by Opel could be used, crash helmets were required, and girls were explicitly forbidden from participating. “The soap box derby is an event for boys, and organizing the race is a man’s job,” said the rulebook.

The derby race track was 350 meters long, and the starting ramp was 1.2 meters high a four-percent gradient allowed the vehicles to reach speeds of 40 to 50 kph shortly before the finish line. Racers were often neck and neck, so after just a few events, the organizers started using photo-finish cameras to determine exactly who crossed the finish line to victory first. Racers also had to adhere to a strict dress code: “Standard and race-day attire includes a white cap, a racing helmet, short black pants, and a yellow racing shirt provided by Opel.”

Mass magnet: In post-war Germany soap box races were an extremely popular sport.

Participants traveled to the championship derby in Duisburg-Ulmenhorst in Opel team buses. Once there, they moved into their training camp at the home of the West German Soccer Association. The winner of the race would receive 5,000 marks in prize money, a guaranteed trainee position, and a trip to the U.S. to participate in the All-American Soap Box Derby in Akron. During this era in Germany, the derbies became a national event prominent athletes such as Helmut Rahn and Max Schmeling could be spotted at the races. In 1971, after 23 championships, Opel withdrew from soap box derby racing. Deutsches Seifenkisten Derby e.V. was founded in Frankfurt two years later to serve as a successor organization and has organized the German and European championships ever since.

A lot has changed since those days. Materials like fiberglass-reinforced plastic have replaced wood and papier-mâché in the chassis, and an axle suspension makes the cars faster. What’s more, racers with a serious desire to win use lasers to check the alignment of their cars. Aerodynamics is likewise becoming increasingly important, with numerous clubs dedicated to soap box derby racing there to provide technical support.

With glass fiber reinforced plastic and an aerodynamic shape: This is how the current senior class soap boxes look like.

The kits and components for the cars that compete in the races are offered for purchase by Deutsches Seifenkistenderby e.V. a junior-class car costs around €600. The most important change, however, involves the gender of the racers themselves: Girls are now participating, and increasingly, they rank among the winners. In addition to precision handiwork when building the car, a calm hand on the wheel is also a must during a race, and girls seem to have a talent for steady driving.

The Race Car:
Today, there are two national and three international classes that either apply to different age groups or require different construction specifications. In Germany, there are derby-standard junior and senior cars. The former can be operated by drivers aged 8 to 12. The chassis is designed for a seated driver, and at maximum, it is 205 centimeters long, 45 centimeters wide, and 43.5 centimeters high. Permitted construction materials include non-splintering woods (no particle board), and the axles, wheels, brakes, and steering must be provided by Deutsches Seifenkisten Derby e.V. The car and driver (in racing gear) may not exceed a combined weight of 90 kilograms. A complete building kit costs around €500.

The senior class is intended for drivers between 10 and 16 years of age, and they may drive in a sitting or lying position – however, the latter requires rollover protection. The maximum vehicle length is 2.15 meters, the minimum width is 30 centimeters, and the minimum height is 34 centimeters. Wood and synthetic construction materials are permitted, as long as they are non-splintering. The maximum total weight is 113 kilograms. A mechanical parts kit (wheels, axles, steering, brakes) costs €350 a complete kit costs around €700.

Stock Cars, Super Stock Cars, and “Scottie” Masters Class Cars (with total prices between €600 and €800) are driven in the international derbies.

The Race Track:
The umbrella organization for soap box derby racing in Germany, Deutsches Seifenkistenderby e.V. (DSKD), recommends that organizers provide a race track that is approximately six meters wide and no longer than 350 meters. Four percent is an ideal gradient, and the surface must be smooth asphalt there should be no protruding manhole covers or other impediments on the track. DSKD can provide support in organizing the race, and individual associations also offer starting ramps, electronic timing systems, and sound systems.

More information and event dates available from:
Deutsches Seifenkisten Derby e.V.
54340 Klüsserath/Mosel, Germany
Tel.: +49 (0) 6507 – 99 1 66
Fax: +49 (0) 6507 – 99 1 67
E-mail: [email protected]

The Exhibit:
The Vortaunus Museum in Oberursel documents the history of soap box derbies. Vehicles that competed in races in various years, an original Opel construction kit, individual components, photos, video reports, and newspaper articles all bear witness to the soap box derby tradition in an entertaining way. The museum is opens at 8 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, at 10 a.m. on Wednesday and Saturday, and on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Vortaunus Museum
Marktplatz 1 61440
Oberursel/Taunus, Germany
Tel.: +49 (0) 6171-50 22 32

Company Event Ideas

Master Chef meets Survivor in this non-stop adventure, team building programme. You and your workmates will embrace your former days as Boy Scouts and Girl Guides.

High & Wild

For an exhilarating corporate event that your employees will never forget, consider Kippure Estate’s High & Wild programme. Participants complete high ropes courses.

The Great Worlds’ Challenge

If your company is looking for a staff incentive and celebration, then The Great Worlds’ Challenge is for you.

Soap Box Derby

It’s a test of speed, a challenge of creativity, a relay race all tied into one. It has all the fine elements of the ultimate teambuilding challenge, except the mood is far from serious!

Corporate Family Fun Day

Let Kippure Estate organise a fantastic company fun day for you! Family fun days and summer parties for your staff, their partners and children! Minimum group size will apply.

Braveheart Games

Whether you’re looking for an unforgettable company outing or a unique team-building activity, none stoke the fires of Celtic spirit quite like the Braveheart Games!

The Bike Project

This Charity Bike Build provides a fantastic opportunity to bring your people together whilst supporting a charity or community project.

The Final Countdown

For a chance to put you and your workmates in situations never encountered before, The Final Countdown is the ultimate team building event. Teams race against the clock and.

The Ultimate Treasure Hunt

Our Ultimate Treasure Hunt, set to take place in the centre of Dublin, is a unique team building experience with a competitive edge.

Blayzing Trails

BlaYZing TraiLs is fast-paced high-energy fun, where every minute counts as you race against the clock. Your team will be equipped with a Map, GPS, Camera, Remote Control Car and will take part in an event that combines exercise, planning and creativity.

MacGyver Challenge

One of Kippure Estate’s most popular and successful team building Ireland challenges is named in honour of TV hero and secret agent Angus MacGyver. MacGyver favoured.

The Safe Cracker

The fate of your company rests in your hands. You have been tasked by your boss to unlock your biggest competitors’ secret plans.

Indoor Booster

Workmates that play together, stay together. Do your employees need a serious pick-me-up? Are you looking to break up a long day of meetings?

The A-Team Challenge

If you are thinking of building team dynamics within your corporate office while engaging in a healthy rush of competition, then the A-Team Challenge is for you!

Clay Shooting & Archery

Whether you’re looking to forge lasting bonds within a new team, strengthen communication skills or boost team members’ confidence, clay shooting.

The Challenge Zone

The Challenge Zone team event is not an individual trial – it is a test that participants MUST complete together as a group. This outdoor team building encounter will uncover.

The Everest Challenge

Escaping crevasses, navigating routes through icefall, using ‘ice screws’ and a ‘deadman’ –wisely… it’s all part of the fun in this exhilarating indoor team building event!

Water Sports Mania

You’ll have a blast navigating the waters of Blessington Lakes while completing a series of fun activities that promote both individual and team growth!

Mountain Biking

As the expression goes, the Kippure Mountain Bike Challenge event will be “like riding a bike”… Your group will love navigating our trails.

Guided Walking

Do you want you and your group to immerse yourselves in the natural world, seek refuge from the chaos of urban life and experience something memorable and invigorating.

Kippure Estate’s Sheepdog Experience

Kippure Estate is delighted to offer your team the chance to experience traditional sheepdog trials.

Ireland’s Ancient East

Scenery, history, atmosphere and a bit of folklore! Explore the ancient east on one of our fantastic guided walks.

Team Samba

Discover Your Natural Rhythm with Samba Team Drumming. Few sounds can stimulate the senses and get people moving like the Samba Drum!

Seefin Quest

For a corporate day out with a difference, why not come to the Wicklow Hills and follow the ancient path up to the megalithic passage tomb, built in 3300 BC by early Neolithic humans.

Trap Larry Treasure Hunt

If you are looking for a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt adventure that provides fun, team building and excitement in equal measures then look no further.

Conference Energiser

Warning! Side-effects of Kippure Estate’s Indoor Energiser may include: team building, bursts of enthusiastic laughter, morale boosting, participants reconnecting with their.

Company Event Ideas

  • Bushtucker Survival Challenge
  • High & Wild
  • The Great Worlds’ Challenge
  • Soap Box Derby
  • Corporate Family Fun Day
  • Braveheart Games
  • The Bike Project
  • The Final Countdown
  • The Ultimate Treasure Hunt
  • Blayzing Trails
  • MacGyver Challenge
  • The Safe Cracker
  • Indoor Booster
  • The A-Team Challenge
  • Clay Shooting & Archery
  • The Challenge Zone
  • The Everest Challenge
  • Water Sports Mania
  • Mountain Biking
  • Guided Walking
  • Kippure Estate’s Sheepdog Experience
  • Ireland’s Ancient East
  • Team Samba
  • Seefin Quest
  • Trap Larry Treasure Hunt
  • Conference Energiser

Contact Us

Kippure Estate, Manor Kilbride, Blessington, Co. Wicklow, W91 VE04, Ireland

Watch the video: Earls Barton Soap Box Derby (October 2022).

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