Mr. I. Magination premiered as a local New York City children’s program on Sunday, April 24th, 1949 at 6:30PM on WCBS-TV. Paul Tripp created the series, wrote the episodes and served as host. The series was produced by Worthington Minor, Norman Pincus and Irving Pincus and directed, at least initially, by Hugh Rogers. In addition to Tripp, regulars included Ted Tiller, Joe Silver and Ruth Enders, who was married to Tripp. Each episode took viewers on a trip to Imagination Land, where historical events were re-enacted using children in the pivotal roles and minimal sets.
After five weeks on WCBS-TV, Mr. I. Magination expanded to three additional CBS stations in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington and shifted to 7PM. It likely continued to expand to additional stations as time went by. For the purposes of this guide I’ve decided to arbitrarily call the Sunday, September 25th, 1949 broadcast the end of Season One, when in fact that series never took a break and continued airing new episodes through June of 1950 before taking the summer off. Beginning with the October 2nd, 1949 episodes the series moved back to 6:30PM, likely as part of the overall plan for the 1949-1950 season on CBS.
Of the 23 episodes that were broadcast from April to September of 1949, three are known to exist, including the very first episode. That’s remarkable, considering the fact that it only aired on one station. The Paley Center for Media has three episodes, including the premiere, as well as eleven episodes without air dates. UCLA’s Film and Television Archive also has a copy of the premiere episode. The Peabody Awards Collection has one other episode. The Library of Congress and the Museum of Broadcast Communications do not have any.
I’ve compiled this guide from television listings in The New York Times, which do not include episode titles. The episodes appear to be named after the historical character depicted. The episode at the Peabody Awards Collection featured Robin Hood so that’s what I’ve called it.
|Season One: 1949|
|Ep. #||Episode Title||Airdate||Status|
|1.||“Christopher Columbus”||04/24/1949||UCLA, Paley|
|22.||“Queen Elizabeth I”||09/18/1949||Paley|