King of the United States

The nickname of Garfield Goose, a white feathered puppet character created by Frazier Thomas for TV station WBKB in Chicago.

garfield_goose

Garfield lived in a mock medieval castle and pretended with his children viewers to be “King of the United States.” Garfield communicated by making clicking sounds with his metal (tin) beak.

Subjects in Garfield’s royal court included:

  • Frazier Thomas as the Prime Minister who dressed in full regalia of medals and epaulets (Garfield also appointed Thomas the Admiral of the King’s Navy on October 16, 1952)
  • Christmas “Chris” Goose, Garfield’s nephew (born on Christmas) who popped up during the holidays along with The Three Little Dwarves (Hardrock, Coco and Joe)
  • Frosty the Snowman and Suzy Snowflake
  • Beauregard Burnside III, an aging, toothless secret service bloodhound who was summoned by yelling the words “Hot Dogs! Hamburgers! Spaghetti and Meatballs!”)
  • Macintosh the Mouse, in charge of the castle’s mail room;
  • Romberg the Rabbit, the liaison between the puppets and the Prime Minister
  • Ramona Rabbit, Romberg’s girlfriend
  • Mama Goose from Goose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada who earned a purple belt in karate
  • Ally Gator
  • Geronimo the monkey (a real monkey introduced in 1953 but dropped after a few years)

Note: Frazier Thomas created his Garfield the Goose puppet in Cincinnati in the 1940s when he worked at WKRC-TV until he moved to Chicago in 1951. GARFIELD GOOSE & FRIENDS premiered on September 29, 1952 on Channel 4 at 4:30PM on WBKB-TV in Chicago, then moved to WBBT-TV for a year and finally ended up at WGN-TV channel 9 from 1954 to the 1970s.

In 1976, the show (the longest running puppet shown on television) was canceled when Frazier Thomas took over the role of ringmaster on BOZO’S CIRCUS after the former host Ned Locke retired.

The Garfield Goose character continued as a regular character on the new show (as the circus’s owner) until 1981.

Born in Rushville Indiana in 1918, Frazier Thomas died from a stroke at the age 66 at Ravenswood Hospital on April 3, 1985.

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About

Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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Posted in Puppets

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