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Winky Dink — United States

by Susan Merritt

The children’s television program Winky Dink and You was “an early example of interactive TV,” according to Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft. The program aired in the United States from 1953 to 1957 on the CBS television network. For 50¢ viewers could order the Winky Dink Television Game Kit that included magic crayons, an erasing glove, and a magic window, a transparent sheet of vinyl that stuck to the television screen by means of static electricity. During each episode, TV host Jack Barry invited viewers at home to “be a part of the program” by drawing on the magic window according to his instructions. Children added colorful elements to the black-and- white TV images and completed connect-the-dots drawings of props that supported the cartoon character Winky Dink and his dog Woofer in their adventures. Designer Harry Prichett and writer Edwin Wyckoff developed the program, which aimed to encourage children’s interest in art and turn the new medium of television into an engaging tool.

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