On this day on 1930 Josie Cary was born, a pioneering host of children’s television shows, a lyricist, singer, actor, and theater director. She co-wrote 68 songs with Fred Rogers and sang them on the award winning television show “The Children’s Corner.”
The Children’s Corner launched Pittsburgh’s second TV station WQED and was aired nationally on NBC and the NET network.
Born Josephine Vicari in 1930 she grew up in Butler, Pa. Her mother and grandmother ran several restaurants and a hotel in Butler. As a child she put on plays with her friends singing, dancing, and telling stories. Her idol was Judy Garland.
She studied voice, piano, and dance. After high school she wanted to study theater at Carnegie Tech, but missed the auditions. Instead she attended Duffs Institute to learned typing. She became a secretary at a Pittsburgh advertising firm that produced live television commercials.
Needing someone to help with a new show Josie became an associate producer on the live half hour Dumont TV show ‘Ask the Women”. She organized the props for the commercials, was a hand model in the ads, and selected from viewer letters the questions asked on the show,
In the evenings she performed at the Pittsburgh Playhouse in productions with her friend Shirley Jones. One evening Dorothy Daniels, who was founding an educational TV station, heard Josie sing a song about “teeter-tooter tessie” in a musical at the Playhouse. Daniels came to see Josie and asked her to do a children’s show on her new station.
Today’s YouTube video presentation is Fred Rogers discussing writing music with Josie Carey, brought to you by user name TV Legends;
After her show was cancelled, Carey went on to host other children’s programming, including Josie’s Storyland and Funsville, which were aired on KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh; Wheee! In South Carolina in the 1970s; and most recently, Josie’s Attic during the 1990s on WQEX in Pittsburgh.
In 2000 the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Archive of American Television interviewed Carey to preserve in their archives in North Hollywood a record of her memories and experiences. She continued to perform, act, and direct in Pittsburgh community theatre up to her death, resulting from complications from a fall, at age 73.
As we remember Josey Carey today, as we celebrate today’s day to remember.
Written & Designed by JD Mitchell