My First Love Was Always That Dragon – In Black and White – Oliver J.

Posted on May 15, 2011


Tillstrom wanted a woman who could talk with a dragon. Enter Fran Allison stage right.

Yes I had a boyfriend when I was six but just before I knew I loved the boy a house away with blonde hair and blue eyes, my soul mate was Oliver J. Dragon.  He was the creation of Chicagoan Burr Tillstrom the brains, art and puppeteer behind the famous early TV show, Kukla, Fran and Ollie.  I was unaware that I was one of millions of women – young and old – who had the same feelings.  Many tested the bounds of fantasy and wrote love letters to Ollie.

Here I am with that neighbor I adored. I was embarrassed to go to the school bus stop next day. Decades later he said that was ridiculous. What do men know anyway. Dragons get it.

Now they are bringing out later episodes from a series made in color for PBS.  Forget it.  I don’t love Ollie in color.  He is much more stunning in black and white.

I read one other woman’s memories of Ollie and she said he could be “slightly mean.”  NEVAH.  He was a dragon with a twinkle in his eye and a kind of benign innocence motorized by a love of being just plain old fashioned ice cream sundae BAAAAAD.  My best Oliver move I cannot find recorded.  It was when he turned upside down when he was feeling particularly suave and self-confident and silly.  You can’t help but love a dragon like that.

See what I mean? Not as interesting as the black and white.

So I will wait for the old black and white early shows to come out – or will I.  There are some early things it would almost ruin to revisit.  I may just be content with a couple of treasures from the era.  It was a time when a kindly man taught us that Witches could be kind (Beulah), Dragons had no scary fire (Ollie) and that – Oh I just can’t be fair about Kukla.  I just don’t like goodie two shoes.  He is boring and his high-pitched voice drives me crazy.  Ollie isn’t mean; I am.