Gene London as "Reject the Robot"
Broadcast Pioneers member Gene London said to us in an e-mail:
(The character) Gene London was born (created) in New York City where I began my TV career. At first, I was Philip London on "Johnny Jupiter," (an) ABC Network series as "Reject the Robot."
Johnny Jupiter was originally on the old DuMont TV network. However, the Saturday early evening children's program ended on June 13, 1953. It started only three months before on March21st. Shortly thereafter, the show was picked up by the ABC television network. That's when Gene became involved as "Reject the Robot." The last ABC program (39 episodes) was on Saturday, May 29, 1954. Gene London said: "He was kind of a sweet robot, which was perfect for me." He was rejected by the factory that made him.
"Reject the Robot" could only be seen by Ernest P. Duckweather (played by Vaughn Taylor and later by Wright King). Duckweather was the janitor of a television station. Johnny Jupiter would send Reject whenever he needed someone on Earth. He would touch the robot and utter, "Super jelly Bean Power" which would send "Reject the Robot" on his way.
The program started as a local program and quickly moved to national status. The idea was that Duckweather (who always wanted to be a TV engineer) was playing around with the broadcast equipment late at night (after sign-off) and managed to contact Jupiter and Ernest became friendly with Johnny Jupiter. Eventually, Duckweather becomes a famous TV personality on Jupiter and finally their newscaster. To the people on Jupiter, Duckweather is already a famous inventor.
When the show moves to ABC-TV, Duckweather becomes a $15 a week clerk in a general store (later a clerk in a TV repair shop) and worked for Mr. Horatio Frisby played by Cliff Hall. Patricia Peardon appeared on the program as Katherine Frisby, Horatio's daughter. Gene London is credited on the show as "Philip London."
The ABC-TV version opened with:
Once upon a time on the far off planet Jupiter lived two strange creatures, strange in looks, but with a wisdom for greater than our own. Each day they searched the universe for signs of intelligent life, but alas, they found none. Instead they settled for the planet Earth.
Now on this planet lived a young inventor by the name of Ernest P. Duckweather. He invented a television set unlike any ever known before. On this set he was able to tune in the planet Jupiter. The trouble is no one believed him, not even when his friends from outer space sent down a visitor to Earth.
The program for at least part of its run was sponsored by M & M candy. The characters in the show did the commercials, a practice which was very common at that time.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Gene London
Researched and compiled by Broadcast Pioneers historian Gerry Wilkinson
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