I was reeling. Andy had invoked the name of one of the children’s entertainment industry’s trinity – Judy Price, Phyllis Tucker Vinson and SQuire Rushnell, the VPs of Children’s Entertainment at CBS, ABC and NBC.
History is replete with famous trios. Baseball’s all-time greatest double-play combination: Tinker to Evers to Chance. The greatest forward three in basketball: Bird, Parish and McHale. Everyone’s favorite heroic trifecta: Luke, Leia and Han Solo.
For those who labored in children’s television during The Golden Age of Television Animation, the highest of the high were Judy Price, Phyliss Tucker Vinson and SQuire Rushnell. And I hear you: “Why did SQuire Rushnell use a capital ‘Q’ in his name. Well, it‘s a cute story, so I’ll take a few seconds to tell it.
During his two decades at ABC, SQuire signed personal notes to friends as ‘SQ’. His daughter, Hillary, filling in one summer for SQuire’s vacationing secretary, noted his signing some letters ‘SQ’. Feeling she’d hit on something, she suggested he incorporate the SQ into all his letters, thereby branding himself. A devoted father, SQuire told his daughter, “Whatever you want, honey.” And a logo was born…
But back to the trinity. During The Golden Age of Television Animation, cable TV was in its infancy. ABC, NBC and CBS controlled everything from dramas, comedies and movies-of-the-week to the news and, of course, children’s entertainment. Sure, children’s shows aired weekday mornings and after school on syndicated TV. But major animated shows ran on Saturday mornings on ABC, NBC and CBS.
As the VPs of Children’s Entertainment, Judy Price, Phyllis Tucker Vinson
and SQuire Rushnell wielded enormous power. They decided what shows kids would watch, what studios would produce them and what writers would write them.
And now Judy Price, Queen of CBS Children’s Entertainment, wanted to meet me.