This is a tribute to our husband and father,

Reinald Werrenrath, Jr.

Please enjoy the memories evoked by these pictures, videos and stories, and feel free to add your own comments and thoughts about Reinald/Dad, a great guy!

Pictures of Reinald
Reinald in Videos
Educational Films
Reinald’s Written Words
Stories About Reinald
Reinald’s Memorial Service

Betty Werrenrath, Kirsten Werrenrath Roth, Reinald Werrenrath III, Peter Werrenrath

4 thoughts on “

  1. Robert Cass

    Robert Cass August 10, 2019 at 6:53 pm Edit
    In December 2013, a month after I started working at the Museum of Broadcast Communications as its new archivist/librarian, I received a call from Mr. Werrenrath, who wanted to donate some videotaped transfers of “Zoo Parade” and other examples of his work to the MBC. Before I drove to his home to pick up the tapes, I did some research and found an article about him and his wife, Betty, but when I got to Mr. Werrenrath’s house I didn’t see Mrs. Werrenrath. He didn’t mention her, so I didn’t ask, but I thought, Since that article was published in February 2011, when she was 96, it’s possible she’s passed away.

    But after about 30 minutes of hearing Mr. Werrenrath talk about filming some of the first televised baseball games in Chicago, and how “Zoo Parade” came about because Marlin Perkins “said it was too much trouble to bring animals from Lincoln Park Zoo to WBKB’s studios, so why not just take the cameras to the zoo?” the front door opened and Mr. Werrenrath said, “Oh, that must be Betty.”

    In walked a 99-year-old woman who didn’t look a day over 80. (I don’t know what was in the Werrenraths’ diet, but it did the trick.)

    My favorite story from that morning centered on the theme song to “Ding Dong School,” a show Mr. Werrenrath cocreated with Judith Waller and Frances “Miss Frances” Horwich, the show’s host …

    REINALD: I came home one afternoon and said, ‘Betty, I need a theme song for “Ding Dong School.”‘

    BETTY: I said, ‘When do you need it?’

    REINALD: ‘Now. We shoot the first episode tomorrow morning.’

    BETTY: So I came up with something on the piano.

    ME: Had you always written songs?

    BETTY: Nope! That was the beginning and the end of my songwriting career.

    … I love stories like that. Creativity can always use a deadline. (They also mentioned that Miss Frances’s school bell was borrowed from a neighbor down the street, probably on the same afternoon that Mrs. Werrenrath wrote the “Ding Dong School” theme song.)

    I posted some pictures and pages from Mr. Werrenrath’s self-published “A Diary of the Early Daze of Television, 1938 and Beyond,” which he included in his donation, on a blog that I created during my ten months at the MBC:

    Meeting the Werrenraths, and seeing how much they still got a kick out of each other, was far and away the highlight of that job.

    I’m sorry to hear that Mr. Werrenrath has passed away. He lived a good, long, loving life. May he rest in peace.

  2. Peter-Admin

    Hi Robert: Thanks so much for the wonderful tribute to my Dad. They may not have mentioned it during that visit, but I’m responsible for naming the program. They showed me the neighbor’s school bell and asked what I thought of when I saw it. As a 3-4 year old, I said “ding dong!”, and the name stuck. And thanks for posting the excepts from his book. I posted the entire document in the “Word” section of this site.

    1. Robert Cass

      No, your parents didn’t mention your creative contribution — you wuz robbed! That’s a great addition to the story, though.

      Thanks for letting me know that “A Diary of the Early Daze of Television, 1938 and Beyond” is available in full here. I’ve enjoyed looking at all of the pictures you have on display.

      1. Peter-Admin

        Cool, Robert!

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