Status of Mr. I. Magination, Season 1

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. It was 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.

For the purposes of this guide I’ve decided to arbitrarily call the Sunday, September 25th, 1949 broadcast the end of Season 1, when in fact that series never took a break and continued airing new episodes through June 1950 before taking the summer off. Beginning with the October 2nd, 1949 episode, the series moved back to 6:30PM, likely as part of the network’s plan for the 1949-1950 season.

Of the 23 episodes that were broadcast from April to September 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 from the first season, including the premiere. It also has 11 episodes without air dates that may or may not have aired during the first season. UCLA’s Film and Television Archive also has a copy of the premiere episode. The Peabody Awards Collection has one other episode.

I’ve compiled this guide from TV listings published in The New York Times, which did 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 1: 1963
# Episode Title Airdate Status
WCBS-TV, Sundays at 6:30PM
1 “Christopher Columbus” 04/24/1949 UCLA/Paley
2 Unknown 05/01/1949  
3 Unknown 05/08/1949  
4 Unknown 05/15/1949  
5 Unknown 05/22/1949  
CBS, Sundays at 7:00PM
6 Unknown 05/29/1949  
7 “P.T. Barnum” 06/05/1949 Paley
8 Unknown 06/12/1949  
9 Unknown 06/19/1949  
10 Unknown 06/26/1949  
11 “Robin Hood” 07/03/1949 Peabody
12 Unknown 07/10/1949  
13 Unknown 07/17/1949  
14 Unknown 07/24/1949  
15 Unknown 07/31/1949  
16 Unknown 08/07/1949  
17 Unknown 08/14/1949  
18 Unknown 08/21/1949  
19 Unknown 08/28/1949  
20 Unknown 09/04/1949  
21 Unknown 09/11/1949  
22 “Queen Elizabeth I” 09/18/1949 Paley
23 Unknown 09/25/1949  

Revised June 2nd, 2016

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5 Replies to “Status of Mr. I. Magination, Season 1”

  1. One of the early episodes during the first few weeks was “Rip Van Winkle”- Tripp and Ruth Enders (Mrs. Tripp) recreated it for Columbia records in 1949 (originally released as a 78 rpm album set- four sides on two records- then reissued on “45 extended play” in 1952). In 1966, Tripp, his wife {AND his son} again recorded a new, slightly extended version of the story on a Musicor LP.

  2. I was recently telling my sister about my favorite tv program when a kid. ( I am now 79) it was mr I Magination. We are both history buffs and this program may have been the start! Thank you for wonderful memories.

  3. The show was not always of historical or fictional figures. I was one of the kids in later years, and my first appearance was with Ringling Brothers’ circus lion tamer Damoo. (My mother commented that had I really been in the cage with the big cats she would have read the riort act!) Also had Scott Crossfield on another show–more to my taste.

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