‘The Uncle Al Show’ memories


Readers share their memories of longtime children’s show

By Jeff Gilliland - jgilliland@timesgazette.com



This autographed photo, provided by former Hillsboro teacher Joan Winner, shows some of the Hillsboro students she took to “The Uncle Al Show” around 1983. Pictured (front row, l-r) are: Ann Craycraft, Tracy Harp, Dawn Barnhart, Tracy Fulton, Ted Carter, the bus driver, and Kathy Hersey; (back row, l-r) Chris Fuller, Chet Gregory, Linda Ryu, Tim McNeilan, Sharon Parker, Uncle Al, Vicki Storer, Jen Berwanger, Christine Holthouse, Kathy Flach, Tony Miller, Ann Gerding, Winner, and Cathy Fuchs.

This autographed photo, provided by former Hillsboro teacher Joan Winner, shows some of the Hillsboro students she took to “The Uncle Al Show” around 1983. Pictured (front row, l-r) are: Ann Craycraft, Tracy Harp, Dawn Barnhart, Tracy Fulton, Ted Carter, the bus driver, and Kathy Hersey; (back row, l-r) Chris Fuller, Chet Gregory, Linda Ryu, Tim McNeilan, Sharon Parker, Uncle Al, Vicki Storer, Jen Berwanger, Christine Holthouse, Kathy Flach, Tony Miller, Ann Gerding, Winner, and Cathy Fuchs.


Photo courtesy of Joan Winner

This photo shows some of the Hillsboro High School students that attended “The Uncle Al Show” with their teacher, Joan Winner, around 1983. Pictured (front row, l-r) are: Cathy Fuchs, Uncle Al, Jamie Lederer, Sharon Greene and Captain Windy; (back row, l-r) Joe Cameron, Jana Smith, Peggy Baker, Lori Newman, David Peters, Cathy Lerch and Winner.


Photo courtesy of Joan Winner

Editor’s note — In memory of the recent passing of longtime Hillsboro resident Wanda “Captain Windy” Lewis and the many memories she and her husband, the late Al Lewis, created through “The Uncle Al Show” that aired on WCPO in Cincinnati from 1950 to 1985, The Times-Gazette asked its readers to submit their memories of the show.

Al and Wanda Lewis moved to Hillsboro in 1985 around the time “The Uncle Al Show” ended its run. Al Lewis passed away in February of 2009 at the age of 84. Wanda Lewis passed away Aug. 17, 2020 at the age of 94.

Following are the memories local readers shared, printed as they were submitted:

Herb Day, Hillsboro — “I grew up watching ‘The Uncle Al Show,’ and I while I never got the chance to attend the show at Channel 9, I did win their contest for drawing the best picture of the day, twice! The first time I drew Uncle Al’s farm and won a huge box of Kenners Building blocks. The second time, with a ball point pen, I drew Uncle Al’s dog Pal! This time I won an Al Naish semi-truck!

“Each time, I drove our mail carrier, Chester Little, crazy as I waited by the mailbox for my prize to arrive! He and I both always remembered that. He thought it was funnier than I did. I had no patience.

“I loved Captain Wendy. I thought she was the prettiest girl I ever saw! AND, I was amazed at how she could fly! I was honored a few years back to entertain her and a group of residents at Bell’s Garden. I was thrilled and quite nervous to play for Captain Wendy!

“Al Lewis and I became acquainted years later when I worked at WSRW. I’ll never forget he called one night when I was on the air. Never dreaming THE REAL UNCLE AL would ever call me, I answered the telephone and he said, ‘Hi Herb, this is Uncle Al!’

“Knowing this was one of my friends pulling a prank, I said, ‘I DON’T HAVE AN UNCLE AL’ and hung up!

“A few moments later, my boss, Tom Archibald, called me on the hotline (which meant I was probably in trouble … imagine that), and said, ‘Herb, Al Lewis just called and said you were somewhat rude to him on the telephone.’

“I said, ‘Al Lewis? Oh no! You mean that WAS Uncle Al?’

“‘Yes,’ Tom responded.

“‘I guess I DO have an Uncle Al after all,’ I confessed.

“‘Huh?’, Tom asked.

“‘Never mind,’ I mumbled. ‘I will be respectful when he calls back,’ I promised. Moments later, Mr. Lewis did call me, and was quite the good sport!

“Uncle Al and Captain Wendy were two of my childhood heroes, and come to think of it, they still are! They will both live on as long as I’m alive … and thousands of other kids my age!”

Julie Cox-Young, former Fairfax resident — “Such a memorable time in my life watching ‘The Uncle Al Show.’ My brother, Steve, & I would each get a spoon & pan to play in his band. Over the years I have sang ‘Put Your Toys Away’ to my girls and more recent to my grandsons. And I always asked my mom to buy ‘Momma’s’ cookies. I also loved watching Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans. Good times!”

Ritchie Young, Mowrystown — “Remembering back to when I was 4 years old in 1956, I was lined up to get in the door with other kids to enter ‘The Uncle Al Show.’ I was timid and sat under Humpty Dumpty with Mitzi Wilmoth. My sister, Kristie Young-Miller, and Danny Pointer participated in the Uncle Al dance and different things. Danny Pointer was drinking Barq’s on the commercial and I always heard they immediately took the Barq’s cola away from him after the commercial.

“I was in love with Captain Wendy for years looking beautiful flying with her cape and later drawing pictures. Some years ago Uncle Al told me a little girl sat on his accordion, wetting her pants, causing the instrument to not work. This put him in a dilemma.”

Gretchen Huffman, Hillsboro — “Every day they would get people out of the audience to do ads for them. Mine was, ‘Hurry, hurry, get your tickets for the big show.’ I said, ‘Hurrrraaay, Hurrraaay, get you tickets for the big show!’ They liked it and offered me an interview for a position on their show. But I had two boys at home and my husband didn’t think it was a good idea. Who knows, If I’d pursued it I might have been a regular on TV.”

Kelly Tuck — “I watched them faithfully growing up. I was on the show went I was 5 yrs old. I remember that it was a friend birthday and her mom got two tickets to the show. But while I was on I remember standing on the tree trunk and dancing (not very well my version of the twist) and was also the leader thru the small world. But when I had grown up and moved to Hillsboro I found out that Uncle Al and cap.wendy lived here. Always hoped I would meet them again. But our paths never crossed.. but in this thought of my childhood, this shows you it’s really is a small world after all.”

Lora Ferguson — “I watched them every day since I was little plus every morning before going to school. I thought it was cool to see them in person when they came here back in 1985. I would run in to them at Great Scot (Community Market ).”

John J. Sunderhaus — “Went several times as a child in the 60s.”

Margene B. Beatty — “Saddened, sorry to hear of Wanda (WINDY) Lewis passing. I watched The Uncle Al Show. Always liked the way they seemed to enjoy play with and teaching children.“

Elaine Wilt — “I watched it when we lived in Cincy. Loved Capt. Windy. Mr. Bluebird on my shoulder!”

Rita Wolf — “Watched them all the time plus took my daughter to the show in Cincinnati.”

Karen Re-Re Fleckinger — “I loved the uncle Al show I wanted so bad to go but I never got to.”

Patty Walter — “ I watched it all the time growing up.”

Tk Alex — “ Myself and my brother and 2 sisters were on their show probably 55 yrs ago or so.”

Chuck Brannen — “ I was at the show when they were at the Cincinnati Zoo .. Prolly 45 years ago give or take.”

Terri Elam Crothers — “I worked at Bob and Carl’s in ‘86. Uncle Al used to come with her to get groceries, but he would buy a box of Esther Price candy and walk around offering all of the staff a piece. I always thought that was so nice!”

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.

This autographed photo, provided by former Hillsboro teacher Joan Winner, shows some of the Hillsboro students she took to “The Uncle Al Show” around 1983. Pictured (front row, l-r) are: Ann Craycraft, Tracy Harp, Dawn Barnhart, Tracy Fulton, Ted Carter, the bus driver, and Kathy Hersey; (back row, l-r) Chris Fuller, Chet Gregory, Linda Ryu, Tim McNeilan, Sharon Parker, Uncle Al, Vicki Storer, Jen Berwanger, Christine Holthouse, Kathy Flach, Tony Miller, Ann Gerding, Winner, and Cathy Fuchs.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2020/08/web1_Uncle-Al-pic-1.jpgThis autographed photo, provided by former Hillsboro teacher Joan Winner, shows some of the Hillsboro students she took to “The Uncle Al Show” around 1983. Pictured (front row, l-r) are: Ann Craycraft, Tracy Harp, Dawn Barnhart, Tracy Fulton, Ted Carter, the bus driver, and Kathy Hersey; (back row, l-r) Chris Fuller, Chet Gregory, Linda Ryu, Tim McNeilan, Sharon Parker, Uncle Al, Vicki Storer, Jen Berwanger, Christine Holthouse, Kathy Flach, Tony Miller, Ann Gerding, Winner, and Cathy Fuchs. Photo courtesy of Joan Winner

This photo shows some of the Hillsboro High School students that attended “The Uncle Al Show” with their teacher, Joan Winner, around 1983. Pictured (front row, l-r) are: Cathy Fuchs, Uncle Al, Jamie Lederer, Sharon Greene and Captain Windy; (back row, l-r) Joe Cameron, Jana Smith, Peggy Baker, Lori Newman, David Peters, Cathy Lerch and Winner.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2020/08/web1_Uncle-Al-pic-2.jpgThis photo shows some of the Hillsboro High School students that attended “The Uncle Al Show” with their teacher, Joan Winner, around 1983. Pictured (front row, l-r) are: Cathy Fuchs, Uncle Al, Jamie Lederer, Sharon Greene and Captain Windy; (back row, l-r) Joe Cameron, Jana Smith, Peggy Baker, Lori Newman, David Peters, Cathy Lerch and Winner. Photo courtesy of Joan Winner
Readers share their memories of longtime children’s show

By Jeff Gilliland

jgilliland@timesgazette.com