(WBRZ News 2) Baton Rouge children’s television icon “Buckskin” Bill Black died Wednesday at his home, his family confirmed. He was 88.
Black was best known for Storyland, a children’s show that ran on WAFB from 1955 until 1990.
Through the show, he spearheaded a fundraising – rather, a penny-raising – campaign to gather enough money for the Baton Rouge Zoo to buy an elephant. Children contributed their pennies and some appeared on the hand over their coins. The pennies added up, covering the cost of acquiring two elephants.
Phil Frost, director of BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo said, "as I have gone out into the community and spoken to clubs and organizations, it has been rare to not have someone approach me and tell me about their fond memories & experience with the Penny March and Buckskin Bill. I have never grown tired of hearing the community express how they, as a child, gave pennies. We are forever indebted & truly grateful to Bill Black for his support and his willingness to help the Baton Rouge Zoo become a reality."
After the show ended, Black ran a consulting business and spent some time as a substitute teacher. What he saw doing that work led him to run for school board. He was elected in 1994 and served four terms.
He also frequently reminded children that “you’re never completely dressed until you put on a smile.”
Black also taught communications at LSU.
Black’s wife, Elma, died last year.
Funeral arrangements are pending.