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Whatever happened to ... Miss Julie from ‘Romper Room’? (With video)

First Published      Last Updated Nov 25 2015 10:33 am

Edna Anderson-Taylor, better known as Miss Julie during a 17-year run on TV, still sings some of show’s songs.

Editor's note • In this regular series, The Salt Lake Tribune explores the once-favorite people and places of Utahns, from restaurants to recreation to retail.

"Romper bomper stomper boo / Tell me, tell me, tell me do / Magic Mirror, please tell me today / Did all my friends have fun at play?"

For thousands of children who grew up in the 1960s and '70s, those words are magic.

And for kids in Utah, those words came from Miss Julie on "Romper Room," a nationally franchised TV show filmed locally at KSL-TV.

The Utah show was made from 1953 to 1981, with Edna Anderson-Taylor — aka Miss Julie — as "Romper Room's" teacher for more than 17 years.

Decades later, Utahns still remember what came after the rhyme — the chance that Miss Julie would "see" you in the Magic Mirror.

"I see Bonnie and David and Robin and Edward, and there's Mark and Rachel. And I see Caroline," she would say, looking into the camera.

"It was so special when your name was called on TV," said Michael Gray, an actor who grew up in Salt Lake City.

"I remember thinking, 'Please, please, please say my name,' " said Anne Ibach, who grew up in Ogden. "It was like magic. It would've been me she was talking to."

Becoming Miss Julie • Dozens of TV stations across the country taped their own versions of "Romper Room," each with its own host. Utah's first "Romper Room" host was Miss Nancy, played by Jackie Nokes, followed by Miss Barbara, Barbara Weggeland.

But for most of the show's run, it was Anderson-Taylor who appeared inside children's homes, not just in Utah, but also in Wyoming, Arizona, Idaho, even Alaska.

When Anderson-Taylor called to put her name on the audition list, the receptionist told her, "There are so many women here, dear, I wouldn't bother to come."

She went anyway. Of 175 women, she was third from last, but made it through several rounds of interviews.

With five women remaining, the national "Romper Room" team asked to meet the candidates' husbands. Their justification?

"You don't know how famous your wife is going to become," they told John "Jack" Anderson, Anderson-Taylor's husband. "All across the country, we don't have problems with the 'Romper Room' teachers. We have problems with the husbands. They can't [handle] being Mr. Miss-Somebody."

On hearing that, Jack "threw back his head and just guffawed," said Anderson-Taylor. "'If the time comes I can't compete with a bunch of 4-year-olds, I better toss in my towel,' he said."

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