“American Idol,” 1949

Do you remember when TV was in its infancy, in the late 1940s and early 1950s? If you were a kid then (and your family actually owned a TV!) you may recall “Teen-Age Barn,” a popular variety show on WRGB from Schenectady that featured young, local talent.
It debuted on April 4, 1949 when there were only 17,000 television sets in the capital district area. It held a Friday night prime time slot, and by 1959 was the oldest locally produced variety show in the nation. In 1962 the show went to a full hour, and the following year was renamed simply “The Barn.” After 17 years, the Barn doors closed Jan. 29, 1966.
Troupes of Teen-Age Barn alumni were formed to present live shows at local auditoriums and fairs, a sort of forerunner to today’s “American Idol” format. In 1953, the Channel 6 road show appeared three times in the area, July 9 at Margaretville Central School sponsored by the Margaretville Fire Dept., Sept. 11 at MCS sponsored by the Presbyterian Church, and in late September at Onteora Central School sponsored by the senior class.
Admission was $1. A poster for the July event turned up at McIntosh Auction recently. It includes photos of dancer Arlene Fontana, and ventriloquist Richard Cohen as featured performers. A story in the Catskill Mountain News indicated that the MFD show was “the second benefit program sponsored by the firemen to replace their former carnival.” They must have returned to the carnival as it remains the biggest money-maker for MFD today.
Does anyone remember these shows? Did anyone perform in them?