EXPIRED: 06/18/10 – Tom Leahy, 87, took kids in Wichita, Kansas to the moon every weekday from 1960 til 1973.
Tom Leahy, a local weatherman and news reporter, answered the call when the local station KARD-TV needed to fill out its afternoon schedule. With the space program being so popular, they figured an astronaut show would be good.
So Leahy played Major Astro, a spaceman who traveled the universe to bring kids the finest cartoons and adventures. Major Astro, who dressed in a space suit, would adjust his Space Scope, which was built into his base station on another planet, to tune in great kids favorites like The Whirlybirds, Sea Hunt and Astro Boy.
Leahy ended each day’s show by saying “Join me next time when everything will be a-okay, and all systems will be go. Happy orbits, boys and girls. I’ll see you tomorrow”.
After being cancelled in 1973, Major Astro had a brief resurgence on KSAS-TV in the late 80s. The format was pretty much the same, expect the space suit was cooler, Major Astro looked a little tired, and the space ship that he left to at the end of the show was replaced with a Space Shuttle. The whole thing petered out by 1989.
Prior to his squeaky clean portrayal of Major Astro, Leahy played “the Host” in a late night show on KAKE-TV n the late 1950’s called The Host & Rodney. In it he dressed as a ghoul with a very sarcastic sense of humor and introduced (and often made fun of) the latest in B-movie horror films. Not many of those clips remain, unfortunately.