KALIHI (KHNL) - If you grew up during the late 1970's, you probably remember rushing home from school to watch "Keiki TV Pow" and the man known as "Professor Fun". It was Hawaii's first interactive television game show and it aired on our station, then Channel 13.
The game was easy and fun. Kids watched from home and the lucky ones got a call from the always-energetic host, Professor Fun. All you had to say were the infamous words "pow, pow, pow" and hit as many spaceships as you could to win tokens from the Fun Factory and other prizes. The show quickly drew a large audience and became the top rated television show in the afternoon.
"At that time, that was fantastically advanced that a kid could play a game on a television show," said Fred Ball.
Today, Fred Ball, the man who played "Professor Fun" for three years, still walks around with that familiar graduation cap, black rimmed glasses, vest and tie. He says his fans who are all grown-up now still stop him on the street to ask the same question.
"Some people will say they tried calling in a thousand times but couldn't get through," laughed Ball, "Well, those people were not listening! I called them, we didn't call you."
"I would reach into one of the boxes and draw out a name, call them up to make sure they were home, and then, when it was time to go on the air, I'll say ready set go and they'll know when to say 'pow, pow, pow!" said Ball.
Ball had no script and just went out and winged every show. From break dancers to local celebrities, he also brought on a different guest everyday. The show was definitely unpredictable but that was the attraction; never knowing who or what you were going to see.
"There have been times when there's been friends of mine that said you are an icon. I thought they said an acorn but I wasn't sure," said Ball. "I thought about it and said am I? Am I really an icon?"
As the host of Hawaii's first interactive television game show, many would say 'yes'.
Professor Fun still entertains people today as a balloon magician.
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