DES MOINES, Iowa -- Floppy, a popular WHO-HD character, turns 60 on Friday.
The loveable dog puppet was part of The Floppy Show with Duane Ellett that aired on Channel 13 from 1957 to 1987.
“Floppy came along in the late 50s. He was Duane Ellet's best friend. He was our beagle of the state of Iowa, at least for central Iowa. He was Mr. Rogers before there was a Mr. Rogers. He was Sesame Street before there was Sesame Street,” said Ron Sampson with the Ankeny Area Historical Society.
The show hosted groups of kids each day, often for their birthdays.
Channel 13 Anchor Brooke Bouma made an appearance on the show when she was a kid. During the show, Ellett, Floppy, and the kids would tell jokes and introduce cartoons.
“Duane and Floppy would welcome you home at 3:30 when you got home from school. He was there on Sunday mornings when you got home from church,” Sampson said.
Rosemary Taylor, also with the Ankeny Area Historical Society, said she remembers being on the show when she was a young girl, too.
“I was probably 11 or 12, and our campfire group, there was eight of us, we were on The Floppy Show. So several of us got to introduce a cartoon and tell jokes. But it was just our little campfire group at that time,” Taylor said.
The show ended after Ellett died of a heart attack, but lives on at the Ankeny Area Historical Society.
“He didn’t ever talk down to the kids. It was their show. He did not try to make it his show. He and Floppy hosted the kids. I think it was the respect he had for them that made it so special. The parents stood in the background and just awed that Duane could do this for a half hour at a time every day for 30 years,” Sampson said.