The Floppy Show (a fixture in the lives of central Iowan children) aired on WHO-TV from 1957 until 1987. Hosted by Duane Ellet and his sidekick beagle, Floppy, who first got their start on another WHO-TV show called The Pet Corner
Ellet constructed the balsa wood beagle (think Snoopy, only brown with a red sweater) with the help of his wife. Although his name started out as Mr. Dog, his floppy ears inspired the name change. From Floppy’s inception, on into the 60’s, a woman hosted the show and Ellet worked the puppet from behind a fence. Eventually Ellet, a self-taught ventriloquist, started hosting the show himself. It aired twice during the week- for 15 minutes over the noon hour and for 30 minutes later in the afternoon.
The show featured cartoons and cheesy jokes told by the kids in the audience. Floppy’s nose was beeped frequently for good luck.
Late in the summer of 1984, WHO cancelled the show due to falling ratings. However, the public was outraged at the thought of having to sit through a whole 30 minutes of the news at noon, and the show continued.
Duane and Floppy had just celebrated 30 years of entertaining Iowa’s children when Duane suffered a heart attack while out jogging one morning and died.
Floppy now lives at the State Historical Building in Des Moines.
Many kids in the Des Moines area appeared on The Floppy Show at sometime in their youth- it’s the Des Moines common denominator. My own appearance on The Floppy Show was at the Iowa State Fair. They were looking for volunteers to come up and sing “Tomorrow” from the musical Annie. My parents pushed me up on stage. Although I knew the words, my mind went blank as I looked into Floppy eyes and realized that was a wooden dog. My five year-old heart was broken.