Finnish Romper Room

Romper huone When I was in kindergarten, there was a girl in my class who had been on Romper Room, a local children’s TV show. That was the Spokane, Washington Romper Room, starring Miss Florence. I had no idea at the time that the show was a franchise, and that there were Romper Rooms all over the United States. Turns out my husband had the honor of appearing on Romper Room as a child in Florida, and I’ve met people from other parts of the country who watched local versions of the show when they were little.

Still, I was surprised when I saw this photo on the YLE Radio and Television Archive web page. They had Romper Room in Finland, too. It was called Tenavatuokio (Kid’s Time), and they have a complete episode from 1968 online. The striking thing about the clip is that it’s exactly like I remember the Romper Room I watched as a kid, only it’s in Finnish. It has the same strange, mellow vibe.

I recognized immediately that the photo was from Romper Room, because the host, Miss Arja, is looking through the Romper Room “Magic Mirror”. At the end of every episode, the host looks through the Magic Mirror and says who she sees. In Spokane, they had a special poem to go with this special moment:

Romper, bomber, stomper, boo,

Tell me, tell me, tell me, do,

Magic Mirror, tell me today,

Did all our friends have fun with us at play?

I see Jimmy, and Susie, and Debbie, and Tommy… (and so on for a few more names)

The problem with this charming finale, of course, is that children with less common names are never seen through the magic mirror. Even as a little girl, I understood that Miss Florence was probably not going to see me. And even in Finland, where there are far fewer unusual children’s names, this was an issue. This Finnish clip features the host reading a letter from a little girl who wonders why Miss Arja has only seen her through the Magic Mirror once.

There is a fun video page devoted to Romper Room, with clips from several local U.S. incarnations, and it has an anecdote about a Romper Room host in Los Angeles who used to carry the Magic Mirror in her purse, so that when she met people complaining that she had never said their names, she could take it out, look through it, and finally see them through the Magic Mirror.

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More about Finland

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~ by lolarusa on April 18, 2007.

6 Responses to “Finnish Romper Room”

  1. hirveä Arja-täti! Apua! mikä amatööritäti, todellakin! onneksi olin lapsi jo 50-luvulla….
    Dreadful Auntie Arja! Help! What a real amateur auntie! Luckily I was a kid in the 1950s…

  2. Let me guess — Arja-täti never saw you through the magic mirror, did she?

  3. they also had Romper Room in canada. Had a costumed Bee called the ‘Do-Bee’, i kid you not.

  4. Yes, we had the Do-Bee in Spokane, too. “Do be a Do-Bee,” they would say. Something like Gufus and Gallant, I think.

  5. Despite being an old post, here’s a YouTube playlist I put together of all sorts of Romper Room footage from around the world!

  6. Thanks, Chris. That’s quite a colection.

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