December 6, 1976: “Commander Tom”

The temperature got up 37° on this day in December 1976, with some light freezing rain, drizzle and some snow flurries. I remember Tom Jolls would refer to that mix as “snizzle.”

Tom Jolls, weatherman extraordinaire!
Tom Jolls, weatherman extraordinaire!

Tom Jolls teamed up with news anchor Irv Weinstein and sports anchor Rick Azar for WKBW Channel 7 in the year I was born and were still at it after I graduated from college in 1988. He was one of the reasons I wanted to become a weatherman.

He was also one of Buffalo’s local media celebrities, hosting a children’s show as Commander Tom. With sets and costumes rivaled only by those one might see at local youth theatre, the Commander Tom Show included Tom Jolls in various segments between cartoons.

Here is a a clip from what appears to be an early 1980’s Christmas Special during which Ann the Elf makes “Fuzzies” while Commander Tom looks on with the enthusiasm of a root canal.

Commander Tom was an after-school staple that I seem to recall also aired on Sunday morning’s and introduced my to Davey and Goliath, the Christian-themed claymation show featuring a kid and his conscience-driven talking dog. (“Daaaaavey, I don’t think Jesus would snap that kitten’s neck like that.”)


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