Broadcast Pioneers member Paul Norton tells us that Sawdust Sam was portrayed by Howard Ennis. As you can tell from the above photo, he wore a fake black felt mustache with a piece of curly hair on each side of his face.His hair was combed with the part in the center and he wore a hat with a small checkered pattern. He also wore a bow-tie with a small checkered pattern and a checkered sports coat. Part of his bit was rolling his eyes and making them bug out at you.
After leaving WFIL-TV, Howard was teaching school in Wilmington, Delaware. Paul thinks that Ennis may have been a Special Education teacher. Norton said, "Nice guy, and a very talented one, I thought." We have heard rumors that he also hosted a children's program on one of the UHF stations during the middle sixties. However, we have not been able to confirm that.
Broadcast Pioneers member Bill Webber told us that Sawdust Sam occasionally filled in for him on "Breakfast Time," (Webber's early morning kids show). One such time was during November of 1958. Webber also said that Sam, he believes, filled in for Happy the Clown and Sally Starr from time to time. Bill also said that he thought that Howard may have had a part in a show where the host read Philadelphia Inquirer comics to the children on Sunday mornings.
Betty McNamara, a visitor to our website e-mailed:
I grew up mostly in Claymont, DE. We loved Sawdust Sam. He was our local celebrity. He and his wife lived in Brookview Apts (torn down for redevelopment around 2001) in Claymont, DE. We children used to always hang around their porch or knock on their door, bothering poor 'Mrs Sawdust' to death and waiting for 'Mr Sawdust' to come home so we could bug him.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Bill "Wee Willie" Webber
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