Tom Hatten
Tom Hatten is a veteran radio, film and television personality best known as the long-time host of The Popeye
Popeye the Sailor is a cartoon fictional character created by Elzie Crisler Segar, who has appeared in comic strips and animated cartoons in the cinema as well as on television. He first appeared in the daily King Features comic strip Thimble Theatre on January 17, 1929...

(originally "The Pier Point 5 Club") and Family Film Festival on KTLA
KTLA, virtual channel 5, is a television station in Los Angeles, California, USA. Owned by the Tribune Company, KTLA is an affiliate of the CW Television Network. KTLA's studios are on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, and its transmitter is located atop Mount Wilson...

 Channel 5 in Los Angeles in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. He has also appeared in dozens of musicals, movies and television shows, often portraying characters in the military.


Hatten served in the Navy during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and later used his GI Bill scholarship to study acting at the Pasadena School of Theater
Pasadena Playhouse
The Pasadena Playhouse is a historic performing arts venue located 39 S El Molino Avenue in Pasadena, California. The 686-seat auditorium produces a variety of cultural and artistic events, professional shows, and community engagements each year.-History:...

, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1950.

The Popeye Show

In 1952, he started working at the KTLA studios in Hollywood, filling several broadcasting jobs before landing the part of the good-natured Sailor in the station's nautically-themed afternoon children's program, the "The Pier Point 5 Club". This was in contrast to "Skipper Frank" Herman who appeared in the earlier afternoon with KTLA's "Cartoon Carousel".

Clad in Navy whites, Hatten presented a sizeable library of the animated works of Max and Dave Fleischer
Fleischer Studios
Fleischer Studios, Inc., was an American corporation which originated as an Animation studio located at 1600 Broadway, New York City, New York...

 (relatively easy to obtain at a Paramount affiliate) starring as the spinach eating salt of Elzie Segar's "Thimble Theater"; Popeye
Popeye the Sailor is a cartoon fictional character created by Elzie Crisler Segar, who has appeared in comic strips and animated cartoons in the cinema as well as on television. He first appeared in the daily King Features comic strip Thimble Theatre on January 17, 1929...

. A skilled artist and cartoonist, his show had how to segments which taught the viewer how to draw the characters seen in the cartoons. He also had two guests on each program. Another oft-remembered sequence in the show involved his guests in a unique competition. Each guest was given a large upright easel and
sketch-pad along with chalks and pencils. Carefully placed at the center of each pad, Tom would draw an abstract shape which he called a "Squiggle". The object of the competition was to create a full drawing incorporating the squiggle into anything recognizable without crossing any of the squiggle's initial lines. Hatten later hosted two incarnations of the Popeye show and always had anecdotes about the history of the Fleischers, the cartoons or the business in general.

"The Pier Point 5 Club" was given a more elaborate studio set, and ultimately re-christened
"The Popeye Show". This time, Tom was more formally costumed as a Harbor Master and placed in
a nautical structure resembling the marina headquarters of a sporting regatta. Tom still had
two guests, the squiggle contest and was expanded to a full hour. The audience could now join the club compete with pin and certificate for those who wrote in. While Hatten had his show, King Features was inspired to create a new series of Popeye cartoons to go with it. These cartoons were stiffly animated and strayed far from Segar's original vision. Jack Mercer, who had originally replaced William Costello (aka "Red Pepper" Sam) as the voice of the 'squinky-eyed' sailor for Fleischer, paid Hatten a visit in recognition of his being the largest West Coast showcase of the Max and Dave Fleischer studio.

As late as 1985 Hatten's show was aired on Saturday and Sunday. The guests and games were gone but still featured Tom's knowledge of cartooning and the industry. Tom eventually went on to host KTLA's "Family Film Festival" where more of his cinema expertise was utilized

Family Film Festival

The "Family Film Festival" was a weekend afternoon feature on KTLA 5 between 1978 and 1988, with Hatten screening a classic movie, often from the 40's, 50's or 60's. During breaks in the show, he would offer anecdotes about the film's history or its actors, or even conduct brief interviews with a cast or crew member (a practice that originally predated the cable networks American Movie Classics and Turner Classic Movies
Turner Classic Movies
Turner Classic Movies is a movie-oriented cable television channel, owned by the Turner Broadcasting System subsidiary of Time Warner, featuring commercial-free classic movies, mostly from the Turner Entertainment and MGM, United Artists, RKO and Warner Bros. film libraries...

; see those articles for details). Many "Gen X"-aged men and women, born throughout the 1970s and raised in Los Angeles, were introduced to the films of Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis is an American comedian, actor, singer, film producer, screenwriter and film director. He is best known for his slapstick humor in film, television, stage and radio. He was originally paired up with Dean Martin in 1946, forming the famed comedy team of Martin and Lewis...

, as well as such animated films as "Gay Purr-ee
Gay Purr-ee
Gay Purr-ee is an animated film musical produced by United Productions of America and released by Warner Bros. in 1962. It features the voice talent of Judy Garland in her only animated-film role.- Plot:...

", through Hatten's Family Film Festival.


Hatten's acting credits include portraying a corrupt military officer in the movie Spies Like Us
Spies Like Us
Spies Like Us is a 1985 American comedy film directed by John Landis and starring Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Forrest, and Donna Dixon...

, with Dan Aykroyd
Dan Aykroyd
Daniel Edward "Dan" Aykroyd, CM is a Canadian comedian, actor, screenwriter, musician, winemaker and ufologist. He was an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, an originator of The Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters and has had a long career as a film actor and screenwriter.-Early...

 and Chevy Chase
Chevy Chase
Cornelius Crane "Chevy" Chase is an American comedian, writer, and television and film actor, born into a prominent entertainment industry family. Chase worked a plethora of odd jobs before moving into comedy acting with National Lampoon...

. He appeared as Captain Murdock in several episodes of the television show Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.The show renders the title as Gomer Pyle - USMC. is an American situation comedy that originally aired on CBS from September 25, 1964, to May 2, 1969. The series was a spinoff of The Andy Griffith Show, and the pilot was aired as the finale of the fourth season of The Andy...

, and had a minor role as an officer in three episodes of Hogan's Heroes
Hogan's Heroes
Hogan's Heroes is an American television sitcom that ran for 168 episodes from September 17, 1965, to March 28, 1971, on the CBS network. The show was set in a German prisoner of war camp during the Second World War. Bob Crane had the starring role as Colonel Robert E...

. Hatten provided the voice of the character Farmer Fitzgibbons in the animated movie The Secret of NIMH
The Secret of NIMH
The Secret of NIMH is a 1982 animated film directed by Don Bluth in his directorial debut. It is an adaptation of Robert C. O'Brien's 1971 children's novel Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. The film was produced by Aurora Pictures and released by United Artists. While released to critical acclaim,...

. Hatten appeared in a touring production of the musical, "Annie" as President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

For nearly 20 years, Hatten worked as an award-winning entertainment reporter for KNX 1070 Newsradio in Los Angeles, filing regular reports on the movie industry, new films, and celebrity news. He left the station in 2007.

External links

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