Paul Tripp

Paul Tripp

Birthday: February 20, 1911
Born Place: New York City, New York, USA
Birth Name: Solomon Tripp

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Paul Tripp was born on NYC’s Lower East Side on February 20, 1911. Originally he wanted to be an actor and singer in grand operas, but he had to lower his sights and perform in comic operas at local functions instead. He went to college and studied education. He graduated with a Master of Education degree. When he was unable to find any teaching jobs, he worked as a performer, scriptwriter and producer in legitimate theater, radio, nightclubs, vaudeville and burlesque. After a stint in the US Navy Signal Corps during WWII, Tripp returned to NYC, where he and his wife Ruth Enders Tripp did volunteer work for “Christian Dora House” settlement project. There the pair engaged the children in original plays that would utilize their imagination. This unique concept of teaching kids through music, stories, acting and discovery came to the attention of a talent agency. The agency heads were looking for someone to host a new children’s TV show. Impressed with their educational concept, the agency heads took the show to CBS TV producer Irving Pincus, who bought the show and Mr. I. Magination (1949) debuted on the CBS TV network on Sunday night, April 24, 1949. Writing, producing and hosting the show, Paul Tripp and his wife got a child actor and/ or child actress to recreate the lives of famous persons or had them perform in the Tripp’s own variations of popular fairy tales. Often “Mr. I.” (Mr. Tripp) and his cast of regulars: Simon Oakland, Joe Silver, Ted Tiller and Richard Boone interviewed guest inventors who showcased the latest devices created to help mankind. Mr. I. Magination (1949) moved to Saturday mornings in l951, where it remained on air until the series was cancelled on Saturday morning, June 28, 1952. On Saturday morning, June 5, 1954, Paul & Ruth Tripp succeeded Allen Ludden as the second hosts/performers and instructors of CBS TV’s kids TV news magazine On the Carousel (1954). The Tripps and Ted Tiller engaged their viewers in craft making, hobbies, songs, dramatizations, stories and interviews with guest performers, personalities and high school scientists and musicians. On the Carousel (1954) won the 1956 NYC Emmy award for “Best Children’s Educational TV Show”. Tripp compared a Saturday Night Magic TV Show for a family audience. He performed magic tricks with the top illusionists of the day. It’s Magic (1952) was seen Saturday nights on the CBS TV Network from Saturday July 31, 1955 to Saturday, September 4, 1955. Tripp succeeded Ginger McManus as the second host/performer of WOR TV Ch. 9 NYC’s: “Looney Tunes Show” weekday evenings from Monday, January 12, 1959 to Friday, July 10, 1959. Following his departure from the station, Tripp left NYC for Hollywood, California to play character parts in TV dramas and sitcoms. He made two memorable guest appearances on CBS TV’s Perry Mason (1957) as a villain and as an unfaithful boyfriend of “Sally Rogers” on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961). But soon the character roles dried up and The Tripps returned to NYC, where they began hosting their last children’s educational TV series: Birthday House (1963). Seen Monday to Saturday Mornings on WNBC TV Ch.4 in NYC, Birthday House (1963) engaged a birthday boy and/or girl and their friends and the viewers in games, songs, stories, craft making, informational segments, puppet plays and interviews with guest performers and personalities. Paul and Ruth Tripp co-hosted Birthday House”, with actresses/singers/TV educators, Jan Lara and Kay Lande. Puppeteer/Puppet-maker and pantomimist, Tom Tichenor also served as the show’s puppeteer and as “Strawtop, the Silent Scarecrow Doll”. Birthday House (1963) was seen on WNBC TV Ch.4 in NYC from Monday, April 1, 1963 to Friday, September 8, 1967. Following its cancellation, Tripp’s TV appearances have been limited to occasional character roles on TV dramas. He has also made guest appearances on TV talk shows: The Mike Douglas Show (1961) and on Bob McCallister’s version of WNEW TV Ch.5 NYC’s long-running comedy/variety kids TV show, Wonderama (1955). He has also written, produced and narrated a feature length animated adaptation of the children’s musical story that Tripp has co-authored with composer George Kleinsinger: Tubby the Tuba (1975). It debuted on the Home Box Office (HBO) cable TV network in 1981. Tripp has also written a number of children’s books, including “Rabbi Santa Claus” and “The Scarecrow Who Smiled by Mistake”. In recent years, he has also written, directed, produced, and performed in plays and musicals overseas.

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