Ramblin Rod - A Staple of Portland Television

ramblin rod portland

If you're a Portland local, Ramblin Rod is in your vernacular. You were either a kid who watched it or you were someone who was on it...or both. But, never neither.

I was a lucky kid who got a chance to sit in the bleachers, mug for the camera during the Smile Contest and watch all the cartoons dished out. King of da castle, king of da castle! ;)

Rod Anders was one of the main voices of KPTV Channel 12 and took the reigns of The Ramblin Rod Show in 1964. The local kid's program started out as "Popeye's Pier 12," hosted by a man named Bob Adkins. After Rod took over and the 70s hit, it was renamed to what we all know as "The Ramblin Rod (Cartoon) Show."


I remember when my grade school classmates and I were told that we would be attending the program. We were stoked! I mean, not only did we get to be on TV, but we got to meet the man himself, Ramblin Rod!

ramblin rod shrine

Rod would pilot himself onto the set (made up in a marine motif) via his single-person tug boat, all animated and happy to be there. So were we!He wore a brown cardigan which seemed to be this huge magnet for buttons that the kids would bring him (before he retired, I actually wondered how he walked under all that weight!). There had to have been a ton of those buttons that he never put on the sweater, otherwise, he would have been invisible! ;)

During the show, we all watched Bugs Bunny, Popeye and Hanna Barbara cartoons (my favorite was Pixie and Dixie). He'd announce, "LET'S WATCH A POPEYE CARTOON!" and all us kids were told to go, "YEA!!," waving our hands over our heads. Rod was a pretty funny guy, too, by kid's standards.

They'd have the daily Smile Contest where the camera man would scan across all our little faces and then a crew member would tell Rod who the "winners" were. There were always 3 and the prize was free Pop Shoppe Pop (the dad of a friend of mine used to own a Pop Shoppe store in Milwaukie, Oregon. Hi, Mike Briggs!).


Now, on this particular time, I do not remember what the question was, but the Ramblin' one lined us all up like a herd of cattle going to slaughter and asked something (I wish I could remember). When it came my turn, he put the mic to my face, I answered the best I could and proceeded to pick my nose! Oh, the humanity of it all!! Now, why do I remember THAT and not the question? Because my dad teased me about it for years to come. Thanks much, old man! I'm still in therapy! ;)

I also remember taking the opportunity while I was standing up there to go over and look "in" his boat. I was shocked to see that it was nothing more than a large piece of cardboard and he was walking it in and out! OMG!! ;)

Although not vividly, I would remember that day in kid-dom for the rest of my life.

Rod Anders continued entertaining children on his show until he retired in 1997. The end of an era. A couple years later, in 2002, Anders died of a stroke. Another sad day in the life of this adult kid.

Check out a couple of the videos above and you'll be able understand what a thrill it was for a young kid to be on The Ramblin Rod Show.


Have A Ramblin Rod Story?

Growing up with Ramblin Rod in our homes, we all have some special memories worth sharing. Now's your chance to tell us all about them.

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Your Ramblin Rod Memories

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Ramblin Rod: The Man! 
I remember waking up and have the Ramblin Rod Show show on all the time while I would get ready for school...watching him come on the boat and greet …

Ramblin' Rod: What A Happy Show! Not rated yet
I remember watching, and being on, the Ramblin Rod show, several times as a kid. The "let's watch another cartoon," followed by a wave of hands, was …

Halloween Memory of Ramblin' Rod Not rated yet
I went to school with Rod Anders' (Ramblin' Rod) boys, Robin And Dana and I lived right next door to them when they lived on Sandlake Road on the Oregon …

As An Actor On The Ramblin Rod Show Not rated yet
My name is Jay Mather. I was honored at one time to be an actor on the Ramblin Rod Show We were there doing some Disney characters. I was the Madd Hatter. …

Smile Winner Snub on Ramblin Rod Show Not rated yet
I had been practicing my smile when I was informed we were going to be on the Ramblin Rod Show. For the next few weeks all those around me saw my million …

Ramblin Rod's Carboard Boat Not rated yet
You're right about the boat. I always thought Rod "rode" in on the thing..ya know by the tides or something. Then my 5th grade friend, James Simmons, crushed …

My Blooper on Ramblin Rod Show Not rated yet
When I was a kid I loved the Ramblin Rod Show and Pop Shoppe, so when my mom told me I would be on for my birthday I was excited. I couldn't get …

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