Herb McAllister

Herb McAllister

Happy Herb McAllister

In late 1955 Herb McAllister created Froggy Doo as a hand puppet for use on a children's television show entitled "Happy Herb's Show". The show first aired on KFBB in Great Falls, Montana, and incorporated a studio audience. Happy Herb
visited with children on the show, taught them how to draw cartoons, and performed magic and ventriloquism with Froggy and his other puppet Clarence.

In 1956 Herb designed and constructed the marionette Froggy Doo which made its debut on Halloween. Froggy became so popular that the show was renamed "Happy Herb and Froggy Doo" and aired for eight years on KFBB-TV. For three years Herb also featured Froggy on a Saturday morning radio program which included reading children's letters and stories. Of course, Froggy added spice by playing his famous piano.

During the autumn of 1963, KGHL-TV in Billings (Now KULR-TV) hired Herb to perform "Happy Herb and Froggy Doo". Then a calamity struck. In October 1966, burglars broke into the station and stole thousands of dollars of electronic equipment and… Froggy Doo. The perpetrators sent a ransom note through the
mail demanding $150 plus $10 in quarters. But a few days later, a boy who was riding his horse on the outskirts of Billings found Froggy's body hanging on a fence post. About a month later, three children spotted Froggy's head lying on the back seat of a car in an alley in downtown Billings. But all was not lost. Froggy just needed new clothes and Herb painstakingly repaired his long time friend. For ten more years Happy Herb and Froggy Doo enjoyed an exciting and successful run on KULR- TV.

After twenty-two years on television, Herb retired and moved to Palm Springs, California, to create oil paintings of landscapes and Western subjects. In 1978, Herb moved to Denver, and worked as an illustrator for Jeppesen Sanderson, a division of Times Mirror. For seven years, he free-lanced for CM Comics. Following his retirement from that company, he returned to his native Montana, first to Billings then to Kalispell. He continues to paint and occasionally perform as a magician. His trusty sidekick Froggy Doo still keeps him company in his studio each day.

The Greater Montana Foundation thanks Scripps and their Television stations throughout Montana for providing studio, production and edit facilities for the Legacy Broadcasters Initiative interviews. Without their generous support, this project would not have been possible.

The Legacy Project of the Greater Montana Foundation is produced in coordination with the Montana Historical Society. Many thanks to all who work and donate to MHS and its great work.