Ruth Prins: the kinescopes

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The kinescopes

A few of the two-dozen cans of “Wunda Wunda” kinescopes that are being transferred. (Clay Eals)

The best way to re-live — or experience anew — the skill, passion and in-the-moment charm of Ruth Prins is to see and hear her “Wunda Wunda” shows once again.

Thanks to the generosity and vision of Ruth’s daughter Debra Prins, who has made some two-dozen kinescopes available for transfer to digital, and archivist extraordinaire Joe Wren, who has begun making the transfers, we all can do just that.

The results are below and here for your perusal. Be sure to check back, as additional transfers will be posted later this winter and into the spring.

The labeling of the kinescopes is haphazard. Few of them have dates. But from Ruth’s costumes and evolving sets, we can make educated guesses to a range of years.

So here they are. Click any image to be linked to its corresponding “Wunda Wunda” episode(s) or excerpt. Enjoy!

VIDEO: 25:32. “Wunda Wunda” 1950s episode features “Never Judge Another by His Size.” (Courtesy Debra Prins, Joe Wren)
VIDEO: 25:31. “Wunda Wunda” June 10, 1959, episode features “Why a Rooster Crows.” (Courtesy Debra Prins, Joe Wren)
VIDEO: 25:14. “Wunda Wunda” 1957 episode features “The Happy Rain.” (Courtesy Debra Prins, Joe Wren)
VIDEO: 21:40. “Wunda Wunda” 1966 episode features “The Girl Who Glowered and Frowned.” (Courtesy Debra Prins, Joe Wren)
VIDEO: 13:04. “Wunda Wunda” excerpt of Ruth in the 1950s with a live elephant, tells the story “The Elephant’s Child,” Rudyard Kipling’s ode to curiosity. (Courtesy Debra Prins)
VIDEO: 6:07. “Wunda Wunda” audio recording of “The Elephant’s Child” is transferred from her 1958 45 rpm record. (Courtesy Debra Prins, Dan Kerlee)
VIDEO: 0:32. Audio recording from 1958 has Ruth Prins singing the opening stanza of her welcome song, a standard feature at the opening of each “Wunda Wunda” show. (Courtesy Debra Prins, Dan Kerlee)

Three other episodes of “Wunda Wunda” have been posted online over the years and we present them below. Two are from 1966, posted as one video by Paul Hansen, son of the 1964-1972 Music Man Edward Hansen, and one is from the 1950s posted by University of Georgia Walter J. Brown Media Libraries:

VIDEO: 48:24. Two 1966 “Wunda Wunda” shows have been posted by Paul Hansen, son of Edward Hansen, who was the Music Man for “Wunda Wunda” from 1964 to 1972.
VIDEO: 27:16. “Wunda Wunda” 1950s episode from the University of Georgia Walter J. Brown Media Archives includes a branding watermark and time code.

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