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On the set with Red’s Gang at KOIN TV in April 1958. KOIN celebrates the “Treasure Show” with left to right: unidentified, Luke Roberts, Bill Burred, Red Dunning, unidentified, Francis Murphy of The Oregonian, Bob McGill and three unidentified individuals.


While Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Hopalong, Sky King and The Lone Ranger were stars we saw on the silver screen, our stars were Mr. Moon, Mr. Duffy, Rusty Nails, Heck Harper, Addie Bobkins and Ramblin’ Rod. We grew up with them and they were our pals. When television was in its first decade in Portland, in the 1950s and 60s, They were there for us, to entertain and educate us; helping us to get a healthy start in life. Every kid who grew up in the Portland area, will remember what fun it was to visit their shows where they brought our favorite cartoons to us everyday with their own flair, style and schtick.


When 4:30 rolls around every Monday through Friday, you would hear Harry the Heron yell, “Come on gang, it’s time for Mr. Moon”. Over 100,000 youngsters in Oregon and Southwest Washington flocked to their TV sets to follow the fabulous adventures of Mr. Moon and his hilarious puppet crew. Beginning as a radio show in the early 1950s, Mr. Moon became one of the most popular kid shows in Portland.

Behind the Mr. Moon mask was longtime radio disc jockey Ed Leahy. He created the cast of characters from the Mother Goose Rhyme “Hey Diddle Diddle”. Another well-known Portland broadcaster, Art Morey, joined the show as the voice of Harry the Heron and other animal characters.

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In 1958, Frank Kinkaid auditioned at KOIN TV to produce a children’s show. His predecessor, Heck Harper, had just been hired by rival station KGW TV to produce a similar show there. Frank had been in acting and show business all of his life, spending over 15 years in Seattle and he decided to try something new in Portland. He brought his many talents to KOIN where he stayed until retiring in 1983 after 25 years. Frank had been the Frederick & Nelson Santa Claus in Seattle for 15 years and he used his Santa voice combined with his riverboat captain’s voice from his days in “Showboat” to land the job of “Mr. Duffy” and Cartoon Circus was born. 

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Kinkaid Family Collection

KOIN’s set builders built a very colorful set for Frank Kinkaid’s Cartoon Circus.

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Kinkaid Family Collection

KOIN’s popular Cartoon Circus got lots of letters and Mr. Duffy had his own mailbox.


*KOIN Television’s signal hit the airwaves on October 15, 1953 as Portland's first VHF TV station. At that time, it was owned by Mount Hood Radio and Television, a group that included Advance Publications, owner and publisher of The Oregonian; local investors and Marshall Field's Department Stores. The Oregonian also owned KOIN Radio (AM 970 and 101.1 FM).

KOIN TV has the distinction of having one of the first TV cooking shows, KOIN Kitchen, which was hosted by Betty Davis. During the days of live television, it was Betty Davis that dropped the turkey, live on KOIN KITCHEN after the show debuted in 1954, a decade before Julia Child made her debut. The KOIN cameraman followed the turkey right to the floor! On another show, sponsor International Harvester’s freezer's ice maker failure resulted in an avalanche of cubes shooting over and through Betty's clothes and face; this was also captured faithfully by the live cameraman!

The radio stations had been owned previously by, The Oregon Journal, with KOIN-AM earlier owned by "The Portland News" another newspaper. The original Call letter slogan: Know Oregon's Independent Newspaper was derived from "The Portland News" slogan minus "Know". Eventually, Marshall Field sold its stake to Advance. KOIN-AM (now KCMD) and KOIN-FM (now KUFO) were sold off when Lee Enterprises purchased KOIN from Mt Hood broadcasting in October 1977. A year later Lee Enterprises founded a production company, named MIRA Mobile Television.

On February 28,1971, both transmitter towers used by KOIN-FM and KOIN-TV—the 1000-foot-tall main tower and the 700-foot-tall auxiliary tower—collapsed during an ice and wind storm. The two KOIN (AM) towers, located on the same property, were not damaged. Nine days later, on March 9, KOIN-FM and KOIN-TV returned to the air when a temporary tower was erected on the site of the collapsed auxiliary tower. During those nine days off the air, CBS programming was provided to the Portland market by KVDO-TV channel 3 in Salem, which would later move to Bend and become Oregon Public Broadcasting's KOAB-TV.

During the 1970s KOIN had a few locally produced programs on the air, including KOIN Kitchen (cooking show), and public affairs programs such as News Conference Six and Northwest Illustrated. KOIN-TV was the second TV station in the Portland Market to broadcast Portland Trail Blazers games from 1976-96, while KOIN-AM did the radio side from 1970 until the station was sold in 1977.

By the 1980s, one of KOIN past general managers Richard M. "Mick" Schafbuch, served one term in 1981 as President of the CBS Network Affiliates Group. During KOIN-TVs 30th Anniversary week in 1983, the station broadcasted some old CBS programs from the 1950s and 1960s to local viewers. By this time the station had moved into its new location at KOIN Center Tower, which is the third-tallest skyscraper in Portland. In 1984 the station aired the Japanese program. "From Oregon With Love".

In October, 2000 the Lee Enterprises television group, including KOIN, was purchased by Emmis Communications.

On January 27, 2006, Emmis sold KOIN (along with KHON/Honolulu, KSNT/Topeka, and KSNW/Wichita) to Montecito Broadcast Group for $259 million. On February 1, 2007, KOIN began to broadcast its daily newscasts in widescreen.

On July 24, 2007, Montecito announced the sale of all of its stations (KOIN, plus KHON-TV in Honolulu and its satellites, KSNW in Wichita and its satellites, and KSNT in Topeka) to New Vision Television. The sale closed on November 1, 2007.

*Information provided by Wikipedia.com

Thanks to Betty Dayton for sharing the story of KOIN Kitchen.




Last updated 10-24-16



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