George Pierrot, 1965


Published:

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE WALTER P. REUTHER LIBRARY, WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY

 

1965 With his raspy voice, drowsy countenance, and portly physique, George Pierrot hardly seemed anyone’s idea of a riveting TV personality. But Pierrot, host of the World Adventure Series, which morphed into George Pierrot Presents, gained such a following that his show aired every weekday afternoon — and for a time on Sundays, too. It debuted on Channel 7 in 1948, and soon moved to Channel 4. The premise was simple: On an unadorned set, Pierrot and a guest provided color commentary as a film of Turkey, Finland, or Burma unreeled. Pierrot himself was a world traveler, author, and raconteur. He’s pictured above, circa mid-’60s, holding the whole world in his hands. Pierrot was born in Chicago in 1898, but grew up in Washington state. He came to Detroit in the early 1920s to edit The American Boy magazine. Pierrot’s TV show’s roots went back to 1933, when he premiered the World Adventure Series at the Detroit Institute of Arts. For a quarter, Depression-weary Detroiters were transported to exotic, faraway places by watching a travelogue and hearing Pierrot’s lecture. The TV program took its final excursion in 1976, but the DIA series continued until 1979. Pierrot had a deep affection for Detroit and made his home in the city’s Indian Village neighborhood. He also had a wicked wit, as Tim Kiska notes in his book on Detroit television history, From Soupy to Nuts! The author mentions Pierrot was fond of reciting naughty limericks, and his humor was intact to the end. As the ambulance drivers arrived to spirit Pierrot away, Kiska reports the aging globetrotter quipped, “One of you boys better drive. I don’t feel up to it.” Pierrot’s excellent adventure ended in 1980.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

A Look Back at the Firefighters Who Helped Fight Devil's Night

Following a mid-80s peak, Detroiters seem to have beaten back the flames of Halloween-time arson

Robots are the Future, and These Detroit Girls Will Be Building Them

An all-girls robotics team is opening doors for women in STEM.

Old Traditions Meet New Ideas at Greenfield Village’s Annual Hallowe'en Festival

The historic site delivers an upgrade from ordinary trick-or-treating

6 of the Spookiest Destinations in Metro Detroit

A new approach to tourism in Detroit hopes to capitalize on the public’s hankering for a good ghost story

Hamtramck is Trying to Save its Historic Negro League-Era Ballpark

It's one of the last remaining in the country.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Top Docs List 2017
  2. Why you should drink the F-ing Merlot
    Michigan winemakers believe the beleaguered grape deserves your attention
  3. The Common Cure
    Cats and dogs get many of the same cancers we do. Could they be the key to unlocking new...
  4. Making Bad Wine Extinct
    Better education and new technologies are improving nearly everyone’s output