I was about 6 years old when my best friend's mother managed to get tickets to Gene's show. It was no longer the general store set, but looked kind of like a modern apartment (though my memory could be playing tricks). There was a big tilted drawing board on the set.
Steve and I were pulled from the audience with about a dozen other kids and asked to stand around the drawing board while Gene drew a picture of a cowboy riding a horse while he told a story. He had already sketched the illustration very lightly in pencil and just traced it with a thick pencil (the kind you can smudge with your finger to create highlights...I know there's a name for it that kind of pencil, but it isn't coming to me).
Then he had us stand next to him as he did a commercial for a shampoo called Matey that came packaged in a red submarine (once the shampoo was finished it became a bathtub toy). Gene said something about bubbling the hair clean and put his fingers in my hair as though he was washing it.
The show was taped, not live, and aired a couple of days later. It was probably on around 9am...in any event it was shown during school hours and my mother wouldn't let me stay home to watch myself on TV (I finally forgave her about a month ago). When I got home from school I asked how I looked on TV. My mother said I looked great, my younger brother said, "You kept licking your lips."
Silly memories, but wonderful memories. I'm 56 now, so that was half a century ago.
Two more memories:
1) in the corner of the set was a small stage about 4 feet off the floor. It was a set for hand puppets, the puppeteers would crouch beneath, and used for a TV show called Tottle. It was a weekly inspirational show aired on weekends where the characters (some kind of animals who lived underground, but I don't recall what kind of animal) learned a morality or etiquette lesson each week. There's almost nothing about that show that I can find on the internet and wonder if anyone else recalls it.
2) as a junior or senior in high school and an aspiring journalist, I wrote letters to hosts of various locally produced TV programs asking to interview them for my school newspaper. One who responded was Larry Kane, then anchoring on WPVI-TV, and I interviewed him sitting on the Action News set (I sat in sportscaster Joe Pellegrino's chair). The other was a woman named Betty Hughes. She was the wife of a former governor of New Jersey and had a daily talk show on Channel 10 called "Betty Hughes & Friends." I was invited to watch a taping before interviewing her (her guest that day was Jonathan Winters). I immediately recognized the studio as the one I had been in a decade before for the Gene London taping.
Sorry this was long-winded, but I hope some of you enjoy the memories.