Let's Pretend with Uncle Russ


From 1948 to 1952, kids at American military bases all over the world would tune in to "Let's Pretend with Uncle Russ" on Saturday mornings. The show was presented by the Armed Forces Radio Service and was hosted by Russ Thompson.

Russ was a Staff Sergeant and was stationed in Hollywood, CA, then at AFRS Sendai, Japan, as program director in1951 and1952.

He produced, wrote, directed and was "Uncle Russ", a 30 minute show sent to Armed Forces Radio stations in almost every country in the world. Audiences would tune in to hear him tell stories and play music in the Saturday morning broadcast. The prime audience was the U.S. Military service people and their dependents ("GI brats of the fifties"), but he also heard from many others who listened in as well to be entertained and to hone their English skills.

"Uncle Russ" also had the "Around the World Safety Club", which sent out safety hints and suggestions and membership cards with safety slogans and a picture of "Uncle Russ" on each card.

On the show Russ did some character voices, including Percy the Penguin and Ricky the Robot, two of his favorite characters, along with Captain Comet and Rocket Ranger Jane.

Several countries had "Uncle Russ" fan clubs, and the fan mail was phenomenal. Russ was quite proud and very pleased to think that this program had such a profound effect on the children of the Armed Services. The Armed Forces Radio Service had a "hitch-hike" audience of give or take ninety million people!

Take some time to browse through the PHOTOS , and check the LETTERS page to see some of the fan mail Russ received while playing "Uncle Russ" to all those kids so many years ago.

There must be thousands of people who have since grown up and returned to America and remember "Let's Pretend with Uncle Russ" from Armed Forces Radio Service. If so, Russ would love to say "Hi" once again and hear from you.

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Picture of Mt. Fuji sent to Uncle Russ by Goro Sigematsu
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