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"Bill Johnson"
Bill Johnson from the 1963 AFTRA Directory  (Donated by Skip McCloskey)
In the "1963 AFTRA Directory"
(Donated by Skip McCloskey)
Broadcast live from local studios.
Various Show Names, Airtimes; 
From 1959 to 1966, as shown:
Aired on WTTG-TV 5:
"The Three Stooges/The Stooges"
(Fall 1959 - 1960)
6:30 to 7:00PM Monday - Friday
(Fall 1960 - 1965)
6:00 to 6:30PM Monday - Friday
(Fall 1965 - 1966)
5:30 to 6:00PM Monday - Friday
 "The Bill Johnson Show"
(Fall 1966)
4:30 to 5:00PM Monday - Friday
Bill Johnson on The 10 O'Clock News
Anchoring a Channel-5 Newscast
(Courtesy: John Bevilacqua)
Bill Johnson as Himself. 
As a WTTG-TV 5 staff announcer, Bill hosted a variety of shows like "The Big Movie", "Countdown Carnival", as well as promotions like "Carnivals for MD", but his name often did not appear in the newspaper TV grids. He was one of the first anchormen for WTTG-TV's weekday evening newscast. 

However, Milt Wishard points-out, "Bill Johnson" (shown here) was not the same man as Channel 5's "Billy Johnson" who earlier hosted a morning kids' show for WTOP-TV 9;

"... I worked with both people during my time in TV broadcasting.  My very first show as a TV cameraman was with Billy Johnson in the summer of 1949 at WLW-D in Dayton, Ohio and then I worked with the other Bill Johnson during my time (1950-1993) with Channel 7 in DC."

The easy way to remember the difference in the Johnsons is; 'Billy' was the smaller of the two and almost always holding a guitar.  'Bill', as far as I remember, had no musical expertise. 

Bill Johnson was at WMAL-TV in the late '60s or early '70s as a staff announcer and always in the announce booth.  This was in the days before cartridge tapes and all the commercial stuff that came from ad agencies was on a 16-inch acetate disk.  The tags were from a live announcer in the booth."

Jack Maier writes: "Bill Johnson and Bill Gormly were closely associated with the local 'Jerry Lewis Carnivals for MD' Summer fundraisers.  You'd send away to Channel 5 for a 'Carnival Kit' that included posters & other materials to help put on a carnival.  In addition to having kids appear on the show to present their money, these hosts also announced who sent-in (raised) money."

In 1966, Jack's neighborhood held a carnival, as reported in 
"The Greenwich Street Gazette Special 'Halloween Issue'" 
(#18 Fall 1997):


In the summer of 1966, there was a haunted house setup in the Daniels' "playhouse" as part of a Carnival for Muscular Distrophy held by neighborhood kids J.P. Daniel, Laurie Bolster and John Maier. These carnivals were a fun way to raise money for muscular distrophy (before the Jerry Lewis Telethon) and were promoted by the afternoon kiddie show hosts on WTTG Channel 5. The playhouse was a perfect place to transform into a haunted house, similar to those of the Addams or Munsters families. A mysterious voice surprised each visitor, along with a  remote- controlled robot monster .The fireplace held an iron pot full of "Madame Witch’s Brew", complete with snakes, bats and newts.  Uncle Ogelthorpe's skeleton (a horseskull) was on display for all to see. 

Ironically, the house was reported to be really haunted, in the years before the Daniels moved there in 1935.  Charlotte Hottle recalls Mrs. Minnie Lent telling the story that the house's previous owners often heard a baby's ghost crying. No one in the Daniel family ever heard it, though.

POSTSCRIPT (May 2001) 

John Maier and the late J.P. Daniel continued as friends and neighbors for another 35 years. As teenagers, and much later as responsible adults, the two friends would reminisce about that MD carnival, and the WTTG kiddie shows from all those years ago.  Countdown Carnival's Bill Gormly and the Three Stooges' Bill Johnson and their fun fireworks pitches often came to mind on the hot summer days.  The most cherished character, however, was Captain Tugg.  At a recent block party, when asked of Tugg and the Channel Queen, J.P. clearly remembered the Captain and Fantail's quest to catch the two spies, Axel and Spike.

Mercury Fireworks Assortment (It'll put your eye-out!!!)
Jack adds. "The other fun part of the show was Bill's early summer pitches for fireworks assortments. He had a large display with all of the fun ones - Miss Liberty, Mercury, and the largest one, the Rocketship, (a whopping $9.95 as I recall).  Sure did generate excitement for the holiday in our neighborhood. (Bill Gormly pitched the same pyrotechnics during 'Countdown Carnival') ". 
The Three Stooges (left to right; Larry, Moe, Curly)
Jack Maier believes that the daily "Three Stooges" show would feature one cartoon (often a "Stooges" cartoon) in addition to the usual Columbia Pictures live-action black-and-white movie shorts.
Three Stooges Cartoon
Jack concludes that, every so often, host Bill Johnson reminded his viewers that all of the Stooges slaps, eye pokes, hammers on head, etc. were "not real and should not be tried at home!"
The Three Stooges (l to r; Moe, Shemp, Larry)
John Bevilacqua adds: "I remember Bill Johnson telling the audience to expect changes in the show name from 'The Three Stooges' to (simply) 'The Stooges'. Soon after, the comedy team of Mack and Myer joined The Three Stooges.
Hear Actual Sounds From The Old
THREE STOOGES Show at Kidshow Klips
Bill Johnson anchoring the news courtesy of John Bevilacqua. 1963 AFTRA Directory photo courtesy of Skip McCloskey.  Thanks to Milt Wishard and Jack Maier. Airtimes from grids in the Evening Star and Washington Post papers.
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