Ed Leahy – Better Known As "Mr. Moon"

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    Today January 2, 1924 Edward Hughes “Eddie” aka “Ed” Leahy, Jr. was born in Portland to Myrtle (Eme) & Edward Hughes “Ted” Leahy, Sr., who was the first representative of the Palmolive Co. in the Northwest. In June 1927 the Leahy family moved to 422 N.E. 54th St. In 1932 their home address changed to 1914 N.E. 54th Ave. By October 1935 Eddie was a trumpet player in The Young Oregonians’ Brass Band.

    On August 26, 1938 Eddie played the comic role of a poet in the Young Oregonians’ high school cast play “A Witch & Some Bewitched” on KEX at 5:30pm. On October 28, 1938 Eddie was Chief Announcer for the Young Oregonians’ Radio Club when they presented “The Spectre of Tappington” mystery thriller over KEX at 5:30pm. On December 2, 1938 they presented “The Great Magi” on KEX. Eddie later played with the Bob Chester Band. During World War II, Ed served in the Army Medical Corps. in Northern Ireland as a field artilleryman. Ed also served as master of ceremonies and was band director at battalion parties.

    On July 10, 1948 Edward H. Leahy (26) married 21 year old Arloine L. “Toni” Sullivan in Vancouver, Wash. They never had children. On September 30, 1950 Eddie was a member of Freddie Keller & His Orchestra, appearing at Jantzen Beach Ballroom. By October 1951 Ed was reported as a disc jockey on KBKO (later aka KLIQ). By December 1951 Eddie had developed his “Mr. Moon” character from the Mother Goose rhyme “Hi Diddle Diddle” for a 15 minute children’s Radio program on Portland’s KBKO mornings at 7:45am. Ed was also KBKO Sports Director.

    On June 16, 1952 the “Mr. Moon” radio program moved to KWJJ afternoons at 5:30pm for 30 minutes. Joining him on the show was Art Morey KWJJ Production Manager. He created the voices of “Rocket The Dog” and “Kitty Cat” while Leahy handled Mr. Moon and the bass voice used for Mrs. Cow. Ed & wife Toni did most of the script writing. In addition Ed Leahy had his own hour long morning show on KWJJ at 6:00am. By October 1952 his show moved to 11:00am and Ed had become KWJJ News Director.

    On October 12, 1953 “Mr. Moon” moved to Television, beginning on KPTV channel 27 with a 15 minute program at 9:45am. Ed wore a space suit and a head resembling a smiling full moon. Rocket The Dog and Kitty Cat were now seen as puppets. Joining them were new characters: Harry The Heron, Sampson The Horse and Sam Boom. The puppeteers were Art Morey and Ed’s wife Toni Leahy. Art with extensive experience in sound techniques and music, brought professional smoothness and authentic background to the series. At the beginning of each show you would hear Harry the Heron yell, “Come on gang, it’s time for Mr. Moon!”

    On November 16, 1953 a month later “Mr. Moon” moved to KOIN-TV at 4:45pm. A big technical improvement was the complete tape pre-recording of all dramatic action, music and sound effects which were recorded at KWJJ’s “Rex Recording Co.” This left Morey, Leahy and the KOIN-TV crew, free to concentrate on the visual action. The program called for split-second precision work by cameramen, director and the show’s creators in meshing sound with action as the show went live over the air.

    After the script and sounds were recorded Leahy & Morey moved over to KOIN-TV to go through an on-camera rehearsal with one of three station directors in charge along with cameramen, floormen, light and audio. The directors were: Art Elliott, John McGhie & Herke Schreiber, who alternated. Then, with the soundtrack running and Morey with two hands in puppets and Leahy changing in and out of his Mr. Moon costume several times during the show, Mr. Moon was beamed out to his fans. It looked very simple on television screens at home, but actually the production technique was one of the most elaborate of any locally-created program of its time.

    On May 20, 1956 “Mr. Moon” was one of six outstanding regional TV personalities featured in “The New York Times” Sunday magazine. Several other entertainment trade publications also recognized the show. One aspect of the program that made it highly respected was the concentration on constructive advice to children on personal behavior, cleanliness and cooperation with parents. Mr. Moon’s advice on keeping rooms in order, brush your teeth, wash behind the ears, etc., often succeeded where parental guidance had encountered resistance. Mr. Moon had an honor roll, listing the names of children who adopted these habits. The show was also praised for its work in promoting good safety practices by children in observance of traffic signals, proper bike-riding and street crossing techniques. Ed also tied in the puppets with the live commercials.

    On January 18, 1954 Mr. Moon moved to 4:30pm weekdays on KOIN-TV. On November 29, 1954 the Mr. Moon TV show moved to 5:30pm weekdays. On April 25, 1955 Mr. Moon was moved back to 4:30pm weekdays. By August 1956 Ed had returned to KWJJ with a two hour radio show at 11:00am, in addition to his KOIN-TV program. On March 5, 1957 Ed’s father Edward H. Leahy, Sr. died at age 70.

    On September 29, 1957 The Oregonian reported KOIN-TV estimated that more than 100,000 youngsters flocked to television sets to follow the adventures of Mr. Moon and his puppet crew. There was one problem Leahy couldn’t solve on the show production. Relief from heat inside the Mr. Moon head. “It’s hot in there under those lights,” said Mr. Moon. This was the third or fourth Mr. Moon head Leahy had perspired profusely inside. Another head was in the process of being manufactured. The Mr. Moon head and puppets were created according to specifications laid down by Leahy & Morey. Studio sets were constructed by the KOIN-TV set crew.

    On September 5, 1958 The Oregonian reported: “Mr. Moon (KOIN-TV) rumored leaving air at end of month. Leahy said to have a music panel type show “Set The Scene” scheduled on another station.” None of this occurred. Mr. Moon was never seen again after September 5, 1958 broadcast. What happened to this highly successful show? Ratings were still very high.

    A remembrance from Mr. Moon’s last show, posted Feb. 13, 2012 from a 63 year old. You can believe it…or not: “I was watching the TV show, Mister Moon. At the end of the program, he took off his head and said, “There! That should hold those little bastards for another day!” I was shocked! I ran into the kitchen and told my mother that Mr. Moon called us “little bastards.” She acted like she didn’t believe me and told me not to swear. That was the last time I ever saw Mr. Moon.”

    On March 5, 1960 Ed Leahy became one of “The Swingin’ 91 Deejay’s” on KISN. Ed was heard weekends, Noon to 3:00pm on Saturdays and 7:00pm to 1:00am on Sunday nights. In May 1961 Ed joined KGRO Gresham, becoming Program Director, known on the air as Eddy Hughes (his middle name), hosting “Splendid Sounds of The 40’s.” By 1962 Ed & Toni had divorced. By September 1962 Ed Leahy was News Director for KPIR in Eugene. On February 10, 1968 Ed’s former wife, Toni Sullivan died of a heart attack at age 41. Toni had worked in 1965 as a hostess in “The Roaring 20’s” room at the Hoyt Hotel.

    By July 1968 Ed had returned to KGRO, now known as KRDR as the News Director. By May 1969 Ed Leahy was KLIQ AM/FM Program Director. On November 3, 1971 Ed’s mother Myrtle Leahy died at age 79. By April 1972 Ed was selling clothes at Rosenblatts. In June I972 Ed began work at Nudelman Brothers, clothiers in Raleigh Hills. On May 13, 1975 Leahy made a comeback of sorts when Mr. Moon made an appearance, handing out balloons to children and entertaining visitors, at the opening of Lloyd Center’s Moonlight Sale 6:00pm to 10:00pm.

    By August 1987 it was reported that Ed Leahy was now retired and living in Ocean Park, Wash. On November 24, 1989 Ed Leahy died at age 65 in Ocean Park, Wash.

    References: Broadcasting Yearbook, The Oregonian, TV Radio Prevue, Uniquely Portland Oregon.


    Very interesting, thanks for posting!
    I wonder however about the “little bastards” comment, as I understand that this is somewhat of an “Urban Legend attributed (perhaps falsely) to “Uncle Don” Carney, by Kermit Schafer of “Pardon my Blooper” fame:

    “Schafer is historically remembered for an unwittingly libelous dramatization of an incident that never happened. In his vinyl record Pardon My Blooper!, Volume 1, Schafer replicated the famous radio show host “Uncle Don” Carney, who broadcast on WOR in New York City to millions of children from 1928 to 1947. In Schafer’s brief drama, Uncle Don mistakenly believes his microphone is off, then utters a contemptuous indecency.[2][3]

    Schafer’s motivation to recreate Uncle Don included widespread popular rumors, some surprisingly misremembered testimony, and a contemporary, though probably false story in Variety about one of Uncle Don’s many imitators. On April 23, 1930 Variety reported that “about two weeks ago” an unnamed children’s bedtime story announcer at an unnamed station in Philadelphia had blurted out—after the show had concluded and he believed the mic power was off—”‘I hope that pleases the little b_______'” (sic). But—Variety claimed—the mic was open, the Federal Radio Commission was listening, bundles of complaining telegrams arrived, and the announcer was fired. Indecent language used in front of women and children carried great opprobrium in 1930, yet this stunning story did not appear in Philadelphia newspapers.

    Again, no audio existed, so Schafer recreated this blooper. Schafer’s “Uncle Don” segued from a gentle goodbye song to the children, then misopedically declared, “We’re off? Good, well, that oughta hold the little bastards!” There is absolutely no factual evidence that Uncle Don ever said this, and Schafer’s false recording perpetuates an unflattering urban legend that the real Don Carney spent his life denying.”

    From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kermit_Schaefer

    Could it be that our own Mr. Moon was *really* the inspiration for the story, rather than a 1930s report? The first Blooper records were issued in the late 50s, likely *after* the reported Mr. Moon flub.
    Or perhaps just a “false memory” combination of two unrelated events in the mind of the 63 year old that reported hearing the Mr.Moon comment?


    Yes, I think it was a false memory and the exact quote is just a little too much, for it to be merely a coincidence.

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