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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Tom Hatten, 1926 - 2019

From KTLA's Sam Rubin's Twitter post:

On a warm and beautiful day locally, perhaps it is only fitting that we learn of the passing of a warm and really beautiful man. Local media legend, and an actor with considerable credits, Tom Hatten has died. He was 92 years old. On KTLA he hosted a series of great kid shows, as well as the Family Film Festival. The picture here is Tom with none other than Bette Davis. The stars came out for Tom with good reason - his shows were super popular and he was deeply knowledgeable about Hollywood and about the movie business. Tom and I were radio colleagues too; sharing the KNX radio entertainment reports for many years. I imagine there are so many people who remember Tom Hatten as a vital part of their childhoods if you grew up in Southern California, maybe you watched "Skipper Tom" on "The Pier 5 Club," or when Tom hosted "Popeye and Friends." One of the good ones, smart and nice and very talented - I will really miss Tom Hatten

Although 92 is a very good run, it is indeed sad news that Tom Hatten has passed. He was a big presence during the golden age of local Los Angeles television. KTLA-Channel 5 was a powerhouse in children's programming in the afternoons back in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Hatten was a big part of it as he hosted the Popeye cartoons. For kids in L.A., one cannot think of Popeye and not also think of Tom Hatten. And vice-versa.

In the 1970s and 1980s, he hosted the Family Film Festival and usually had guests on the program.

I saw Tom Hatten in person once and that was back around 1983. I was a member of the "Way Out West" Tent of the Sons of the Desert (the Laurel and Hardy fan organization) and we had a meeting at the Masquers Club in Los Angeles. In the audience at that meeting was Tom Hatten (I sat a couple of seats away from one of the best villains of the first season of Adventures of Superman, Dan Seymour). Hatten looked youthful, like he always did.

Thanks for the great memories, Tom!

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