Winky Dink.


Medium: Television animation
Produced by: Marvel Screen Enterprises, Inc. (no relation to Marvel Comics)
First appeared: 1953
Creators: Harry Prichett and Edwin Brit Wyckoff
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Winky Dink & You is generally held to be the first interactive TV show — the "you" part of the title referred to the …

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… viewer, who was called upon to supply many of the devices Winky and his dog, Woofer, needed to achieve their goals.

This was done by placing the special plastic screen (available by mail for a nominal fee) over the TV screen, and drawing on it with magic crayons (supplied with the screen). Or, for those whose mom and dad wouldn't spring for the screen, by drawing directly on the TV screen with regular crayons, although this method was usually abandoned as soon as mom and dad saw the results.

At least one notable talent worked on this series. Mae Questel supplied his voice. Questel is widely believed to have been "the" voice of Betty Boop, but was actually one of several voice actresses who played that part.

Though fondly remembered by his many fans, Winky Dink suffered from repetition — the same 13 episodes were repeated on CBS's Saturday morning schedule, week after week, until 1957. The same package was syndicated in 1969, with new color episodes, but didn't make as much of a splash as it had earlier. It came around one last time in the early 1990s, but this time, was scarcely even noticed.

Two companies adapted him into comic books: Dell (1955) and Pines (1957). Each lasted only one issue. The comics used the same interactive technique, but without the special screen. Readers were encouraged to draw whatever Winky needed right onto the page.

Try and find a mint copy today!

Or anything else relating to Winky Dink, for that matter.


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Text ©2000-04 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Marvel Screen Enterprises, Inc.