Friday, May 24, 2013

Star of a Classic Saturday Morning TV Show Passes

Kevin Butler writes: Virginia Gibson, the co-host/performer/interviewer and narrator of ABC TV's and Jules Power's/Danny Wilson's highly acclaimed, award-winning children's news magazine and travelogue "Discovery" passed away on Thursday April 25, 2013 in Newton, Pa. She was 88 years old. 

Born in St. Louis, Mo., Virginia Gibson made her Broadway debut in the stage revival of Rodgers and Hart's "A Conneticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court" (1943). She also appeared in "Laughing Room Only" with Olsen & Johnson, "High Button Shoes" with Phil Silvers, and "Along Fifth Ave". 

Ms. Gibson made her film debut in 1950 at Warner Bros. where she appeared with Doris Day in "Tea For Two" and with Joan Crawford in the dramatic movie "Goodbye My Fancy". She was also seen in "Painting The Clouds with Sunshine". Virginia Gibson worked in two movie musicals for two different studios - "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers" with Howard Keel and Russ Tamblyn at MGM in 1954 and, in 1957, she was at Fox Studios appearing in "Funny Face" with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. 

In 1955, Ms. Gibson made her TV debut in the forgotten sitcom "This Is Hollywood" with Mitzi Green and Gordon Jones. She also appeared on "The Johnny Carson Show". 

In 1962 Ms. Gibson joined forces with Frank Buxton to star in "Discovery," a weekday afternoon educational kids TV series on ABC. Most of the segments were filmed at NYC's Ritz Theater and others were done on location.

   

The show moved to Saturday mornings, eventually the studio segments were dropped and "Discovery" was filmed on location for the rest of the run. When Mr. Buxton left in 1966 Gibson co-hosted the series with Bill Owen. The series moved to a Sunday morning timeslot in 1968.

   

"Discovery" went off the air in 1971, Virginia Gibson left TV altogether for other venues. I was lucky enough to do a phone interview with her in the 1990's and she was kind enough to share information about her career in kid's TV with a young writer and researcher.