Boreson: Stan’s the PAC Man

(Editor’s Note: This column was written to preview Boreson’s appearance at a ChoralSounds Northwest Christmas concert.)

With all due respect to J.P. Patches, I was always a Stan Boreson kid.

Oh sure, during the commercials I might flip away from “KING’s Klubhouse” on Channel 5 to J.P. on Channel 7 or Captain Puget on Channel 4. I might even turn the dial all the way up to the independent stations to see Brakeman Bill (Channel 11) or Sheriff Tex (Channel 13.)

Along with Channel 9, that was our entire television universe growing up in the Puget Sound area during the 1950s and 1960s.

Loyalty to our favorite local after-school program host is why so many of us baby boomers will be popping fresh batteries into our hearing aids to catch Stan Boreson performing with ChoralSounds Northwest this weekend at the PAC (Highline Performing Arts Center in Burien.)

Call 206-246-6040 or visit www.nwassociatedarts.org for ticket information.

The ChoralSounders will offer their usual Christmas concert mixture of beautiful carols and fun songs.

Accompanying himself on his “stomach Steinway,” better known as an accordion, Boreson will be doing such Scandinavian-flavored parodies as “Ragnar the Flat Nosed Reindeer” and “Walking in My Winter Underwear.”

“That’s the way my relatives talked,” Boreson told me. “It was natural for me to imitate my Uncle Torvald.“

His grandfather, Hans, arrived in the Puget Sound about 1890 as a carpenter aboard a Norwegian lumber hauler. Hans jumped ship on Camano Island, hid in the woods while living on berries for a few days, and escaped the detection of an angry captain who rowed around the bay hollering and waving his shotgun toward shore, according to historylink.org.

So with his repertoire of fractured Christmas tunes, this is usually Boreson’s busy season.

However, Boreson notes, he has been invited to perform at fewer office parties this December because of the slowing economy.

Boreson has played at innumerable Scandinavian music festivals, as well as appearing seven times on “A Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor (“a great guy”) and at a command performance for King Olav of Norway. Boreson was honored by Norway’s King Harald V with the St. Olav Medal of Honor—reportedly one step shy of full knighthood.

He and his wife, Barbara, have also traveled extensively with their own tour company. They just returned from their annual tour of Branson with a group of 40. Next year, they are leading a tour to Ireland.

Contact Boreson Tours at P.O. Box 15170, Seattle WA 98115 to be added to the mailing list or call 206-633-1693.

To order his music, visit www.stanboreson.com.

Of course, what I wanted to talk to Boreson about was “KING’s Klubhouse.”

In 1949, Boreson was a student at the University of Washington majoring in accounting and personnel management.
“I couldn’t find any personnel to manage and I couldn’t account for anything,” Boreson jokes.

KING-TV’s program director offered Boreson a live show. He would entertain for about 15 minutes and then introduce a movie.

“One day an actress named Gloria Swanson came on to plug her new movie, ‘Sunset Boulevard,’ ” Boreson remembers.

She started relating fascinating Hollywood stories and Boreson delayed starting the movie for an hour and a half.

Next was an evening variety show with local musician Art Barduhn--“Two B’s at the Keys.”

In 1955, Boreson began "KING’s Klubhouse," which each day began with the show’s nonsense theme song, “Zero docus, mucho cracas/ hallaballu-za bub.” Those who grew up with Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers will need to ask their parents or grandparents for the rest of the lyrics.

Besides the “Our Gang” comedy shorts, my favorite feature was Boreson’s extremely sedentary basset hound, “No-Mo-Shun,” named after the hydroplane, Slo-Mo-Shun IV.

“She was the only dog allowed up in the Space Needle,” Boreson recalled. “They flew her in by helicopter and the health department gave special permission to hold her own birthday party.”

The original No-Mo was killed on a Friday night but Boreson knew where to find a clone. Saturday morning, Boreson picked up the replacement basset hound at a kennel run by Bob Basset (no kidding.)

On Monday, the new No-Mo headed straight for the basket warmed by the hot TV lights.

“Even the crew didn’t know the difference,” Boreson added.

What I really wanted from Boreson was trash talk about his kiddie-show rivals, but he wouldn’t cooperate.

“We were all good friends,” Boreson insisted. “We’d get together and compare notes.”

In fact, Chris Wedes, also known as J.P. Patches, and his wife are scheduled to have dinner this week at the Boresons.

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