|Tiny Tov and his Acorn House in Torahville.|
The half-hour show was produced by the Chicago Board of Rabbis and premiered on January 1, 1962, and ran weekly until the 1980s. It aired at 8:30 AM (floating between 7 AM to 9 AM depending on the year) on Sunday mornings on WBBM-TV Channel 2.
"Ah room zoom zoom, ah room zoom zoom, gily gily gily gily gily a sa sa. Come through the Magic Door with me, just say these words and wondrous things you'll see."The second theme song was written by Charles Gerber and was set to a melody from Beethoven's "Pastorale" Symphony No. 6:
"Open, come open the Magic Door with me, with your imagination there's so much we can see. There is a doorway that leads to a place. I'll find my way by the smile on your face."Set in "Torahville," the main characters of the series included "Tiny Tov" (a character "reduced" to appear as a kind of miniature elf) and his cousin "Tina Tova." Tiny lived in a nicely decorated house made of an acorn; the entrance was called "The Magic Door."
Before Tiny would enter his dwelling, he would sing "A Room Zoom Zoom." Go ahead, sing it loud and proud!
In addition to Tiny and Tina, there were other puppet characters, including Boobie Beaver, Icky Witch, Rabbi and Mrs. Moreh, Deedee, Max the Mailbox, Rumplemyer Dragon, Bunny Rabbit, Buddy, Worthington Warlock, Scrunch, and human characters also participated. All of the characters were Jewish except Reverend Raymond from nearby Chapeltown.
travel back to biblical times in the early days of the series by riding on his Magic Feather. Tiny would say, "Aleph bet, gimel hay, magic feather, move away!" Later on, the program evolved into moral topics. There would be a "Hebrew Word of the Day" related to whatever values were taught. Each week Tiny would educate children on Jewish history, sharing stories from Torah and discussing Jewish tradition. Every episode would include a brief Hebrew lesson, stepping through the Aleph-Bet (Hebrew alphabet).
The character of Tiny Tov was created by Irv Kaplan, who later moved to Israel and was instrumental in the creation of Israeli Public and Educational Television. There was only one Tina Tova played by Fran (Uditsky) Moss.
There were three Tiny Tov's in all. From 1970, Tiny Tov was portrayed by Emmy-nominated actor Jerry (Jerome) Loeb until he moved to California in 1973. The second Tiny Tov was played by Charles Gerber, who also created the song lyrics. The third Tiny Tov was played by (Rabbi) Joe Black.
The Magic Door Theme Song
WBBM TV The Magic Door 25th Anniversary Show.
Rabbi Joe Black as Tiny Tov on "The Magic Door." Circa 1979
I received an email from Marty Zitlin on May 11, 2019, co-producer of The Magic Door show from 1977 to 1981. He included this picture of their 1980-81 Chicago Area Television Emmy Award for The Magic Door Series.
Copyright © 2017, Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. All rights reserved.