Jim Henry was known to many for years as Canyon Kid and he became part of the KTIV family hosting Around Siouxland.
For that and the magnitude of other endeavors he took on, Jim left a forever mark on Siouxland.
"Hello boys and girls!"
A familiar greeting in Siouxland for more than 30 years, from a familiar face, Jim Henry as the Canyon Kid welcoming viewers to his children show at KVTV, now KCAU. The show started only days after the station went on the air in 1953. When management couldn't find a retired type to host, they turned to Jim.
"Somebody said, "Would you be interested?" And I thought, why not. So I went home and made up a show," said Jim Henry.
And Canyon Kid was born. Jim says he chose a western costume because it was simple and inexpensive. But he soon realized he had to come up with a reason for the Canyon Kid name.
"It's not from canyons in the Old West. It's from the buildings in New York City that form canyons. People seemed to go for that, believe that. And in a way it was true," said Jim.
The show worked, despite Henry's Brooklyn accent.
"I thought this is crazy. What are you doing here. But nobody has said anything. Nobody said, "Wait a minute," said Jim.
For several years, the show included about 20 children, who would perform, show of their works of art, or answer questions. An estimated 70,000 kids appeared on the program. His half-hour show aired daily for most of its run.
"Never seemed like a lot of work to me," said Jim.
The show usually went well, but in the days when it was live, things could go awry, like the time he was doing an advertisement demonstrating the "easy to use" cartons that were replacing milk bottles.
"I couldn't get it open," said Jim.
Pet Day was usually memorable. None more than the time Jim was on vacation and Gene Sherman was the guest host.
"Someone's raccoon ate someone's turtle," said Jim.
Despite a few minor mishaps, the program flourished. And while Jim never preached, he did end each show with a gentle reminder.
"Be kind to one another," said Canyon Kid.
In addition to hosting the children's show, Henry also became the entertainment editor, meeting some of hollywood's brightest stars, and showing off his quick wit.
But it was as Canyon Kid, that Jim became best known. People still stop and tell him how much they enjoyed the show. Jim didn't mind, even when it dated him.
"Now what's interesting to me is talking to adults who are 40 years old or 50 years old and who will stop me and talk to me because they were on the show. And I just think it's wonderful," said Jim.
When the lights went out on his children's show on Channel 9 in 1985, the lights came on here at KTIV when Jim became host of Around Siouxland, a job he loved for nearly two decades.
"It's fun to do and I've met a lot of people," said Jim.
A lot of people over a lot of years. A half century of broadcasting, a feat that even took Jim aback.
"You know, wow, 50 years," said Jim.
We do know. We agree.
"Thank you for being with us," said Jim.
No thank you Jim. The honors been ours.
A veteran of World War 2, Jim trained to be a bombardier in Sioux City before being stationed in England.
He flew 25 missions on a B-17 Flying Fortress.
He returned to Sioux City after the war.
Jim's time on "Canyon Kid's Corner" made him one of the longest-running children's TV program hosts in history.
He was also known well in the Sioux City Community Theatre, where he was a founding member and appeared in their first production in 1948.
Jim was living with his wife, Karen, in Midland, Michigan at the time of his death. Jim Henry was 90-years-old.
--The Sioux City Museum contributed photos 11 - 17 in the slideshow above.
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