Friday, April 15, 2005

Credit Where Credit Is Due

This is the original Dr. Max. His real name was Max Hahn and he was the host of The Dr. Max Show a kid's program broadcast out of Cedar Rapids Iowa during the 60's.

I lived in La Crosse, Wisconsin and I would watch Dr. Max and his clown friend Mombo at my Grandparent's house every afternoon after school, since they had cable television (the station signal was too far away for my folk's aerial antenna.) Grandma would let me sit in the big chair, bring me some sugar cookies and fruit punch and I would settle in for a visit with the good doctor. Dr. Max introduced me to art of Warner Brother cartoons, the genuis of Curly Howard and the other Stooges as well as moral teachings from Davey and Goliath. He and Mombo also performed simple comedy sketches.

I'm sure anyone over 35 or so had a similar show in their part of the country. With Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Nikelodeon all these shows died away. A pity because a lot of these hosts were real friends in young lives.

So, thanks Max Hahn. I dedicate this blog to you.

Find out more about Dr. Max and Mombo (and you can even order a video with clips of the show!)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in Cedar Rapids and remember The Dr. Max Show (for the record I'm 36). It would come on at 3:30 as school let out and I would run home to watch it.

Also Mombo the Clown lived behind the elementry school I attended, he'd say hi to us during recess, now a days that probably wouldn't happen.

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also grew up in NE Iowa in the early 60's and Max Hahn was a friend of my father's (they were drinking buddies - but to Max's credit, he never ever alluded to his "other" life outside of his show.) In fact, it was because of alcohol that Dr. Max was even on the air. For the previous 6 years, a gentleman know to the kiddie crowd as "Marshall J" who rode a palomino horse and had a Dalmation named Rascal, had entertained Iowa children in much the same way as Dr. Max and Mombo. One day, Marshall J came riding onto the set, fell off his horse and introduced a cartoon in a clearly drunken stupor. Before the station could cut to the cartoon, Marshall J stated clearly to someone off stage, "That ought to hold the little bastards for a while!", a comment that was broadcast across the state to children far and near. Marshall J did not finish that broadcast and was later reported to have started his show in California after his Iowa stint. Desperate for a new host, they contacted Max Hahn, a local rep theatre fixture to fill the spot. I remember Max telling my dad he hated being known as "Dr." Max, and he was always looking to change it, but of course, never did. Mombo was a Coe College graduate named Fred Petrick who was one of the sweetest and kindest men I ever met. With or without the clown make-up, Fred was as sweet as they came. He still worked at Quaker Oats in Cedar Rapids as a Traffic Manager for 4 or 5 years after he was introduced to the kids and would put his clown make-up on in the car as he left work, driving down Center Point Road on his way to Broadcast Park, the home of then WMT-TV. Fred passed away in 2001, well into his 90's and I'm sure Max is gone, though I don't know when. I still remember his sign off - "Take it easy, play it safe and be careful." Not a bad motto to live by. Thanks for taking me down memory lane!

8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone doing biographical research on Jay "Marshal J" Alexander, I can assure you that the "that oughta hold the little &%$" urban legend is totally false. Neither Jay, nor anyone else, ever committed such a blunder. Jay indeed did suffer from alcoholism (possibly related to war trauma) though, although he was not fired from WMT. He had two on-air incidents in seven years, both involved nothing more than slurred speech. He was a genuine phenomenon, who was a real star in California too. If anyone has any real anecdotes or artifacts, I would be interested in hearing from you at

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Max lived across the street from us in real life in CR. He had a very young son. I had forgotten all about the show until recently but recall it very well now. I'm 50!

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My sister and I also grew up rushing home to watch The Dr. Max Show. We did not grow up in the Cedar Rapids area but in northeast Iowa in a small town called Luana. Usually once a year Dr. Max and Mombo would attend one of the nearby county fairs and we tried to see them each and every time they were in the area. In the original post you mentioned a site where you could get clips of the show. . .that link no longer works. . .any clues as to how to get those clips? It would be great to see the show again!

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched Dr. Max and Mombo every day at 3:30. Once I started school, I'd rush home from the bus to catch the Road Runner (dad's personal favorite) or the Three Stooges (my personal favorite). Of course there was always Davey and Goliath and the spooky episode when Davey got locked in a boxcar and kept hearing "God is everywhere...everywhere...everywhere...". Does anyone remember the "Important Book"? I never had one but always wanted one. I saw them in person in 1965 at the Twin-o-Rama in Cassville, WI and have home movies of myself with them when I was 5. Thank you for the stroll down memory lane!

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this post is nearly 3 years old but I just found it doing a Google search for Dr. Max and Mombo. :) This show was a favorite of mine as a kid. I was born in 1971 and went to elementary school at Squaw Creek Elementary in what used to be far out in the boonies of the C.R./Marion area by Hwy 13 & Mt. Vernon Rd. After school was out I couldn't get home fast enough to turn on the tv and watch cartoons and Dr. Max and Mombo. I really don't remember much of the specific episodes or skits but it was always entertaining and good clean fun for us kids to watch. I wish I could rewind time and go back to those days just for a little bit to enjoy them again. Thanks for bringing back some good memories.

2:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm also a 1971 Cedar Rapids kid. I called Fred Petrie to interview him for a high school speech I had to give. I just looked him up in the phone book, and called him. I was immediately blown away by how warm and friendly he was, how giving of his time to answer my questions and help me out. Total stranger, calling out of the blue, and he still took the time. To this day, 20 years later, I still remember the phone call.

I enjoyed the Dr. Max show, and missed it when it was gone. Warner Bros. cartoons were my favorite, but to this day, I still miss Mombo more. He was a good man.

10:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I vaguely remember Marshall Jay, and certainly remembered Dr. Max and Mambo (Mombo; there seems to be some descrepancy about spelling). I had an Important book, and remember that it was white, about 4 x 5, and had a red strip down the side (for the first edition. The second edition had two red stripes, and so on). I don't remember what was in it. Sure wish I could find it now.

When I had the chicken pox, my mother wrote in and my name was listed with all of the other kids with chicken pox in March of 1966.

I was a senior in high school (Cedar Falls, IA) and went to the National Dairy Cattle Congress, in Waterloo, in September of 1975. As I was walking into McElroy Auditorim, Dr. Max asked me if I wanted to be in his show. I said sure. He gave me $5. I helped Mambo with a magic trick. I remember they were on right after, get this, Willie Tyler, and Lester, a ventriliquist act.

Sure wish someone would find some tape of one of his shows and put it on YouTube, or someplace (are you listening WMT?). There is a brief clip of Dr. Max and Mambo at the very end of a show on YouTube now.

5:11 PM  
Blogger R Sammons said...

I grew up in Cedar Rapids. That was quite a while ago. I had watched Marshal J, but by the time Dr. Max came around. [We all heard variations on the earlier reply about why Marshal J left, but I have never been certain whether they were true or just a good story somebody wanted circulated.] I was probably a bit too old to really appreciate Dr. Max’s show, although I do remember seeing it with my younger sister.

I remember going to [the old, long-demolished] Van Buren School with Dr. Max’s daughter and son. I do not know whatever happened to them. The Hahn family lived in a house on K Street SW and I delivered the Gazette there, but they moved on to some place else in about 1962 or so.

That kind of show is a thing of the past. Outside of news-based programs there don’t seem to be many local television stars for people of any age these days.

Ray Sammons

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Called WMT, they said the footage is long gone. Got a call in to SF stations to see what they might have.

LW-Cedar Rapids, IA

12:55 PM  
Anonymous David Byers said...

I used to watch Dr. Max and Mombo nearly every day too. I'm 63 (in 2017). I'm old enough to remember Marshal J as well. I later moved to California, and was surprised to learn, from the woman I married (an L.A. native) that he had been out here on television and had been pretty big. There were various phony stories about why he disappeared all of a sudden, including that he walked, intoxicated, onstage at either the Paramount or the Iowa theater -- wherever it was he hosted a Saturday afternoon cartoon matinee -- with a loaded revolver.
Anyway, I had an Important Book -- may still have it somewhere -- and met Fred Petrick. Quite a shock to see him out of his Mombo makeup. It's true that he was as sweet as they come. David Byers

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes.. Marshall J was one of my favorite after-school TV shows when I was growing up in San Francisco. He was a role model for me because he was always calm and had a kind voice that reminded us at the end of each show to be nice to your little brother and sister, help your mom and dad... positive things like that. Marshall J was also the most genutine, authentic cowboy figure I had ever seen aside from Roy Rogers. I remember well the Marshall J theme song, similar to the classic cattle call. Glad to know of others who liked Marshall J and hope his legasy is not lost.

9:57 AM  

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