When I was a kid, the non-network affiliated TV stations in the LA market were da-bomb. There was so much that was weird and wonderful on local TV back then, stuff that the networks were too busy or too focused on profits to air. I remember a cartoon show hosted by a freaky clown named Hobo Kelly. It never occurred to me that the reason she lived in a shack down by the river was probably tied to her horrifying clown makeup. We had Popeye cartoons hosted by good ol’ Tom Hatten, and on Sunday mornings Davey and Goliath, which was like Gumby for Christians.
There was one show that I didn’t watch other than the intro because I liked the theme song. That was a prime time travel show called The Happy Wanderers. By the time I was aware of its airing it was well into reruns, but when it originally aired in the mid-sixties on KTLA Channel 5, it rose to become the highest rated locally-produced television show in Los Angeles.
The Happy Wanderers was a travelog, hosted by a married couple, Slim and Henrietta Barnard with narration by Stan Bohrman. The show had the Barnards traveling around and offered tips for trips so that viewers could get the most out of their vacation time too.
One notable factor of the show was Ford’s involvement as the Southern California Dealer’s Association was its primary sponsor, hence all the cars on the show are fabulous Fords. That’s all well and good, but it’s the kitschy and catchy theme song that I remember. Here we are decades later and it’s still stuck in my head (Val-deri,Val-dera) and after watching the above video of the show’s intro, it will be stuck in yours too.