I’m much too young to have ever seen Andy’s Gang when it was on the air, but thanks to this wonderful internet, I’ve now experienced some of it. Oh, the horror! Let me share it with you. Meet our creepy host Andy Devine, here giving the blatant hard sell for Buster Brown shoes to some impressionable young minds.
Just wait until I introduce you to his Gremlin.
Watch this to the end to see the also creepy little person, W.H. "Major" Ray, that they have impersonating Buster Brown.
Andy took over the show, formerly called Smilin’ Ed’s Gang, from Smilin’ Ed McConnell in 1954, in a switchblade fight. Smilin’ Ed, it seems, had outgrown his usefulness to the sinister Gremlin. As far as I can tell no footage of Smilin’ Ed’s Gang exists on the internet. Shortly after Smilin’ Ed’s disappearance, Andy destroyed all recordings, burning them with siphoned gasoline in an abandoned drive-in theatre parking lot… covering up any evidence of his predecessor in an attempt to seamlessly replace him in the minds of the children of yesteryear. However, some of the comic books have survived.
I may have made this all up, but it rings true, don’t you think? Someone, please, update Wikipedia and adjust reality appropriately.
Above: covers from the Buster Brown comic book before and after Andy’s hostile takeover of the Gang.
It should be noted that I do not believe the Buster Brown comic book ever contained any comics featuring the character Buster Brown (other than as an icon on the cover).