In like a lion
From the late 1950s through early ’80s, popular puppet King Lionel accompanied announcer and weatherman Lee Woodward.
Lee Woodward introduced King Lionel to KOTV viewers in the late 1950s. Eventually Lionel became a fixture, bantering on-air with the daily news and weather crew.
Tulsa Historical Society and Museum
Tulsans who watched Channel 6 TV news and weather from the late 1950s through early ’80s will remember announcer and weatherman Lee Woodward and his popular puppet, King Lionel.
Whatever was happening in the local, national or international news, King Lionel always put in his 2 cents worth, often to the shock of Woodward and the news crew, but it was mostly humorous and kind. Consequently, he drew thousands of local fans.
King Lionel and his plush family, Basil Lionbone and Granny, lived in an elaborate, portable cardboard castle that Woodward designed and built. The quartet and castle made local appearances around Tulsa, at charity events and Tulsa Philharmonic concerts.
When KOTV decided to retire King Lionel in 1978, the local studio was overwhelmed with letters and phone calls to reinstate him. The station did, for four more years.
Woodward and King Lionel permanently retired from KOTV in 1982. Woodward, honored as one of the Tulsa Press Club’s six original Tulsa TV Icons in 2003, died this past June at age 85.