TV host and ventriloquist “Skipper Frank” Herman, a favorite of baby boomers during the 1950s on the children’s program “Cartoon Carousel,” died Jan. 4 of natural causes in La Jolla. He was 83.
Herman, known to children as “Skipper Frank,” took to the airwaves in 1956 on KTLA Los Angeles and for seven years more than held his own against other children’s favorites, including Engineer Bill, Sheriff John and Tom Hatten, who hosted “Popeye.”
Born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Herman discovered an early inclination for magic and was entertaining young audiences by age 12.
Following WWII service, he moved to Canada and worked in radio for several years before relocating to Los Angeles, where his magic was put to good use in latenight automobile commercials. KTLA noticed him when he was featured on its program “City at Night” in a performance of the P.T. Barnum play “The Drunkard.”
In addition to the top-ranked “Carousel,” Herman also hosted the KTLA program “For Kids Only.”
In 1963, he left Channel 5 to host a nighttime talk show in San Diego and spent the balance of his career in cable television and at the Manhattan ad agency Foote, Cone & Belding.
He is survived by his wife, Gloria, four sons and seven grandchildren.