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                      ©2018 Sonny Fox 

Sonny chats with fan Nicholas

February 20, 2018

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Sonny chats with fan Nicholas

February 20, 2018

 

Mr. Fox - Just a note to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for all the pleasure you brought me during my childhood. I watched Wonderama religiously. Sunday morning my father would say "It's time for Sonny Fox in his funny socks!" and we'd watch all 4 hours together. THANK YOU for all the great things you have done. Warm regards - Nicholas

 

Dear Nicholas,

 

It continues to please and astonish me to receive notices yours after more than 50 years of my departure from Wonderama.  I had a career that spanned more than 60 years, but nothing I produced or performed has left such a lasting impression.

 

Don't know if you discovered my website, Sonnyfox.tv, where you can find a lot of memories and some new information

 

I trust you are well and will continue to be so.

 

Sonny Fox, who does wear “funny socks”

 

Dear Mr Fox !

 

This is Nicholas Dembling…..I wrote to you yesterday about my memories of watching Wonderama.

 

I detect in your reply, although I could be entirely wrong, the very slightest hint of bemused frustration that so many people  want to talk to you with enthusiasm about something you did 60 years ago.  Too bad ! 

 

You made close and permanent friends with millions of  1960s New York area children during those years.  “Wonderama” was a major part of the Niagra Falls of childrens-show magic coming out of 205 East 67th St….it was always funny, interesting, educational, exciting, and never scary or condescending. It was FUN.  And the show was gigantic…four hours long!  A tour de force.

 

Your audience were children at their most impressionable age, and those that saw you in (not to mention appeared on) Wonderama will always have the fondest and lifelong memories of you. And the parents too, although so many of them are now gone. My parents loved the show.  So I’m afraid you are stuck with it; it’s your cross to bear!

 

During the 1980s I had a very successful pop group. I toured the world, and released albums.  I haven't done that in 30 years, but I still get messages from fans, some of them telling me that my songs were a part of their lives. The point I am trying to make is that once you touch someone's heart, it never dies.

 

And since I mention 205 East 67th St, it brings up a question that I have always been curious about, and maybe you can answer it for me. 

 

On YouTube there is a marvelous video clip from Wonderama called “Behind The Scenes At Wonderama”  in which you, well,  take us behind the scenes, and show us the view from the director’s booth and introduce us to the technicians and explain what they are doing.  I remember seeing that segment when it aired, and I find it just as fascinating seeing it today as I did back then (by the way, as a child I lived on 88th St on the upper west side of Manhattan).

 

In this clip we see your set and studio.

 

My question is this:  was Wonderama televised from the same studio space as Soupy Sales, or Chuck McCann, or Sandy Becker?  Did you and Soupy share the same studio room and just break down the sets between the shows?  Or did you guys televise your respective shows from different rooms in the building?  so, do you remember where all your studios were, who broadcast from where, what floors?

 

I would love to compile as many of these kinds of details as I can from people who were there because it would be more than a shame to lose this nuts and bolts information to history.

 

Thank you for talking with me, I’m thrilled to have talked with you.

 

With best regards,

 

Nicholas

 

Okay, back to Channel 5.

 

When I first started doing Wonderama, which emails rear one on the ground floor I'm not sure where the shows were done at that time, since I was largely absent from the studio during the week. There is a large studio on the third floor crammed with stuff, which they finally redid and reopened is in the studio and we moved upstairs to that studio. I therefore presume that at least for the last few years I was there that the other shows were done out of studio one downstairs as opposed to my studio five upstairs.

 

While I was at Channel 5 I did a number of other shows: for about a year I did a weekly, bull session, with teenagers on various topics. Metro Minutes were short interviews, people like Leopold Stokowski, Famous film director whose name escapes me, and others. I cannot recall where they were taped.

 

My office was on the ground floor.

 

What we didn't have was a security guard at the desk, looking ominously ready to shoot you if he didn't like you.

 

S

 

Dear Mr. Fox –    Please excuse the delay in reply ! I was travelling.   Believe me, I would be honored to have you include our interchange in “Chatting With Sonny” !  I think it’s a terrific idea for your website,  and I suspect it will end up becoming a repository of all kinds of fascinating information about your work.   But I warn you,  I will pick your brains about “Wonderama” and life in general at Channel 5 in the 1960s.   As far as my music goes…….I had a band from 1978 until 1992. The band was called “Comateens”, and we were quite successful.  In those days I used the stage name “Nicholas West”.    The band consisted of me, my girlfriend Lyn, and my brother Oliver.  I played bass, Oliver played guitar, and Lyn played keyboards, and we all sang and wrote our own material.   In 1987 my brother died, at age 25, and Lyn and I continued as a duo until about 1992.  After that I went behind the scenes in the music business as a songwriter for other artists. Most of our recorded music was on vinyl and all of it is out of print and commercial distribution, although there are tons of our records on eBay.   Our music is scattered far and wide on YouTube you can find them there. The fact of the matter is there IS no central link that contains all my music at the moment, but it is something I am working in my current work of re-releasing all our old music, which was mostly released on vinyl. Most of my stuff was pre - CD! 

Nevertheless my old band does have a great website, which is a good start:

 

www.comateens.com

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