Mention his name and you will see nostalgic smiles creep across the faces of thousands of South Louisiana residents. His name was Buckskin Bill, at least that's how those of us who grew up with him on television remember him. To his family, he was just Bill, Bill Black.

Bill was coerced into moving to Baton Rouge from a job in Oklahoma. In the early days of his television career, he was a behind the scenes guy. He was a cameraman and a floor man but he had other ideas that would take him in front of the camera and into the spotlight. In 1955 he moved from Tulsa to Baton Rouge and into the hearts of so many children in the state.

Using his talents honed as a rodeo clown,comic, and an emcee young Bill Black felt very comfortable in front of an audience. Even if that audience wasn't directly in front of him. Black embraced the growing medium of television as a means to connect and connect with kids and their parents was what he did.

His iconic Monday Morning Storyland March fast became an important part of any complete breakfast.  Storyland was Bill's early morning show. It was geared for a younger audience as it aired at 9 AM. Later in the day at 3:30 it was the Buckskin Bill Show that aimed for the after-school crowd.

For many Louisiana kids, the Buckskin Bill show was the place to be seen. It's where many of us made our very first and for some our last television appearance. But this show wasn't all kids stuff. It was about supporting the community. Bill made sure to make the show educational for his viewers as well.

Through the program, Bill helped Baton Rouge establish its first zoo. His program was very instrumental in helping the zoo to purchase its first two elephants. He helped to raise funds for the purchase of an amphibious airplane to help transport supplies to families in the Amazon Jungle as well.

WAFB Television in Baton Rouge has created a television special to honor his work and his memory that will air tonight at 6:30 PM.

Bill Black died Wednesday afternoon he was 88.



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