Tom Hatten

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Tom Hatten
Tom-Hatten 2013-11-15.jpg
Hatten in 2013
Born(1926-11-14)November 14, 1926
DiedMarch 16, 2019(2019-03-16) (aged 92)
California, U.S.

Tom Hatten (November 14, 1926 – March 16, 2019) was an American radio, film and television personality and actor, known as the long-time host of The Popeye Show (originally The Pier Point 5 Club) and Family Film Festival on KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles in the 1960s through the '80s. Hatten was one of those television "pioneers"—from the 1950s and 1960s programs done "live"—no matter what mistakes happened. He also appeared in dozens of musicals, films and television shows.


Early life

Hatten was born in Jamestown, North Dakota. [1] He served in the United States Navy during World War II and used the GI Bill [2] to study acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. [3] He graduated cum laude [4] in 1950. [2]

The Popeye Show

In 1952, Hatten started working as a broadcaster at KTLA in Hollywood. He was a newscaster and announcer when the station launched the afternoon children's show, The Pier 5 Club, with Hatten as Skipper Tom in September 1956. [5]

The demise of The Pier 5 Club came in 1964 when Hatten left KTLA. In 1976, however, he returned to the station and revived the series as Popeye and His Friends, which ran until 1988. [5]

Following the end of the Popeye program, Hatten was host of KTLA's Family Film Festival. [4]

Family Film Festival

The Family Film Festival was a weekend-afternoon feature on KTLA 5 between 1978 and 1992, with Hatten screening a classic film, often from the 1940s, 1950s or 1960s. During breaks in the show, he would offer anecdotes about the film's history or its actors, or even conduct brief interviews with a cast or crew member (a practice that originally predated the cable networks American Movie Classics and Turner Classic Movies; see those articles for details). Many "Gen X"-aged men and women, born throughout the 1970s and raised in Los Angeles, were introduced to the films of Jerry Lewis, The Little Rascals, and Pippi Longstocking, as well as animated films like Gay Purr-ee , Hoppity Goes to Town , The Phantom Tollbooth , Once Upon a Time and Star Blazers through Hatten's Family Film Festival. The Little River Band's song "Reminiscing" was used as bumper music.


Hatten's acting credits include portraying a corrupt US Army general in the comedy film Spies Like Us (1985), with Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase. He appeared as Captain Murdock in several episodes of the television show Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and had a minor role as an officer in three episodes of Hogan's Heroes . Hatten provided the voice of the character Farmer Fitzgibbons in the animated film The Secret of NIMH .[ citation needed ]

On stage, in 1959, Hatten performed in a Los Angeles production of The Billy Barnes Revue concurrently with hosting the Popeye TV show. [6] He portrayed Horace Vandergelder in the West Coast Opera Theatre's production of Hello, Dolly! in 1991. He also appeared in a touring production of the musical Annie as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. [4]

For nearly 20 years, Hatten worked as an award-winning entertainment reporter for KNX 1070 News radio in Los Angeles, filing regular reports on the movie industry, new films, and celebrity news. [7] He left the station in 2007.

Hatten served on the board of the National Student Film Institute and was a frequent presenter at its annual film festival. [8] [9]

Personal life

Hatten was in a relationship with costume and set designer Peter Menefee for over fifty years. [10]


Hatten died on March 16, 2019, at the age of 92. [1]


1965 I Saw What You Did Gerald Nyes
1965 A Very Special Favor Therapy Group MemberUncredited
1967 Easy Come, Easy Go Lt. J.GUncredited
1969 Sweet Charity Man in TandemUncredited
1975Promise Him AnythingO'BrienTV movie
1982 The Secret of NIMH Farmer FitzgibbonsVoice
1985 Spies Like Us General Miegs
2004BravuraMr. CaseyShort, (final film role)

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  1. 1 2 Bennett, Anita (March 17, 2019). "Tom Hatten Dies: Former 'Popeye and Friends' & 'Family Film Festival' Host Was 92". Deadline. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  2. 1 2 Pinsky, Mark L. (January 1, 1991). "The Fruits of Being a Second Banana". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. p. F 15. Retrieved January 28, 2019 via
  3. Von Blon, Katherine (August 6, 1949). "'Shucks' Gets Good Rating". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. p. 7. Retrieved January 27, 2019 via
  4. 1 2 3 Bray, Jamie Shoop (February 22, 1991). "Tom Hatten tipping his hat to McCallum's Dolly". The Desert Sun. California, Palm Springs. p. 55. Retrieved January 27, 2019 via
  5. 1 2 Hollis, Tim (2001). Hi There, Boys and Girls!: America's Local Children's TV Shows. Univ. Press of Mississippi. pp. 46–47. ISBN   9781604738193 . Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  6. Alpet, Don (August 9, 1959). "Hatten: From TV to Stage in One Run". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. p. Part V, p 3. Retrieved January 28, 2019 via
  7. "KNX - Tom Hatten". September 28, 2007. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007.
  8. National Student Film Institute/L.A: The Sixteenth Annual Los Angeles Student Film Festival. The Directors Guild Theatre. June 10, 1994. pp. 10–11.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  9. Los Angeles Student Film Institute: 13th Annual Student Film Festival. The Directors Guild Theatre. June 7, 1991. p. 3.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  10. "Local TV host charmed L.A. for generations". Retrieved March 3, 2023.