Al Lewis starts taking
accordion lessons. He later takes up the
banjo, guitar accordion and piano. He is
most often associated with the accordion.
1943 Al graduates from
high school and is drafted into the infantry
division of the army. He serves at Camp
Kroft in Baltimore and Camp Adair in Oregon
as a special-services entertainer. Film
makers shooting footage for the movie "This
is the Army Mr. Jones" include Al in a
musical comedic sketch, but the scene is not
used in the final version of the film.
1945 Gifted in both art
and music, Al attends Cleveland School of
Art by day and entertains in Cleveland area
restaurants with his accordion by night. He
also announces a classical music program on
an FM radio station.
Wanda and Al meet in one of the drawing
classes at the Cleveland School of Art.
1949 May- Al Lewis is
hired as the first art director of fledgling
television station WCPO Channel 7 (See
1953). It would later become Channel 9.
July- Wanda and Al are
married. A few weeks later, WCPO goes on the
air in Cincinnati, OH. Mort Watters, the
station's first general manager, asks Al to
fill in an hour playing the accordion. Soon
Al is a regular from 11 p.m. to midnight
with a musical program called "Club Till
Midnight" with an orchestra, a girl singer,
and songs requested by phone.
Wanda is also hired at WCPO-TV; She is on
the Paul Dixon Show, a disc jockey program,
where she draws and does pantomimes to
One show has a space city theme, for
which Wanda dons a cape and short skirt and
the name Captain Windy. Dixon had Jokingly
called Wanda "The Windy One" because she was
so quiet, and the name stuck.
The Uncle Al Show
makes its debut on June, 12.
At that time Al Lewis, the show's host,
was the star of another WCPO television
program called Al's Drugstore. Viewers would
call the station requesting Al to play songs
on the accordion. Children from the
neighborhood began to wander into the studio
during Al's program and because of his love
for children, Al invited them to join him.
The children would return every morning
bringing more friends, and they soon started
singing and dancing with Al.
The children dubbed Al Lewis "Uncle Al"
and it wasn't long before Mothers began to
call to get tickets to "The Uncle Al Show."
1953 Channel 7 changes
to Channel 9.
1956 Wanda Lewis, Al's
wife, joins the show as Captain Windy,
drawing pictures for the children and
handling many of the educational aspects of
1957 The Uncle Al Show
incorporates a magic farm and circus set. It
features drawings by Captain Windy,
cartoons, and a new member of the staff
Larry Smith, a puppeteer and character
1957-1958 The Uncle Al
show is broadcast nationally on ABC from 11
a.m. to noon on Saturday mornings on 130
stations coast to coast.
1959 Tom York replaces
Larry Smith as the character actor and
puppeteer. He plays interesting characters
such as the Scarecrow, Cowboy, and Clown.
1970s Uncle Al and
Captain Windy are a regular act on stage at
intermission at the Ice Capades.
1972 Jack Williams joins
the Uncle Al Show and plays 16 different
characters on the program.
1973 The set is changed
to Uncle Al's House in the Magic Forest and
a new character, Mr. Patches (Tom McGreevey),
is added to the show's staff.
The show is given a
years many local people and sites were on
the show such as the Cincinnati Zoo, the
Police and Fire Departments, the community's
park system, the Natural History Museum,
nutrition specialists, and educators. With
all of these enrichment programs the Uncle
Al Show never lost the fantasy, fun, and
music that children loved.
1975 The Uncle Al Show
is the first live television show to
broadcast from the new Riverfront Coliseum,
and plays to a packed crowd.
1979 The Lewises move
from their home of 20 years in the Watch
Hill-area of Cincinnati to a 236-acre farm
in Hillsboro, Ohio.
1985 The Uncle Al Show
leaves the air,
holding the record of the
longest-running children's program on
commercial television (1950-85). Al stays on
as art director. Wanda continues in the
promotions department and announces upcoming
community calendar events.
1989 The Lewises retire
from WCPO Channel 9. A sunny front room in
their home has been transformed into an art
studio for Al's landscape oil paintings and
Wanda's still-life and landscape watercolor
1997 Al Plans to become
famous as having made the first film of
George Clooney. He is negotiating with a
documentary company over the brief footage
of a seven-year-old Clooney playing the role
of ship's captain for an Uncle Al Show
Wanda continues as a prolific artist in
both watercolor and pen and ink, displaying
her works at local art shows and