David Boreanaz

PASADENA, Calif. — Will Rocketshop 7 someday blast off as a feature film?

The cherished children’s TV series, broadcast out of Buffalo’s WKBW in the ’60s and ’70s, is a touchstone for many boomers who grew up in the Toronto/Buffalo/Niagara area. The possibility that there might be a project about the series was raised almost as an afterthought on stage at the TCA17 press tour just as Bones‘ star David Boreanaz was exiting a press scrum.

Under the name Dave Thomas, Boreanaz’s dad hosted Buffalo’s Rocketship 7 from 1962 to 1978. Thomas later changed his name to Dave Roberts and became a Philadelphia TV weatherman, retiring in 2009.

Dave Thomas, Mr. Beeper, Promo the robot and friends

Six months after I told him I grew up watching his dad on Rocketship 7, Boreanaz brought his dad to a TCA press tour a few years ago. I literally knocked over kids from Glee at a Fox party to get to him. It was one of those wonderful occasions when a childhood hero turned out to be as nice as you might imagine. Read about that encounter here.

Bones‘ 12th and final season just began on Fox and Boreanaz was reflecting on what he might do next. Directing is high on his agenda.

Broeanaz (left) brought his dad Dave (second from right) to TCA in 2013 to the delight of restored seven-year-olds Andy Ryan and Bill Brioux

So is writing; I asked Boreanaz about his dad as he was exiting the stage and he smiled and said he had a script at home he began six years ago about Rocketship 7. Maybe, he mused, he’d have time to return to that project now.


I mentioned this later to my pal Alan Pergament from the Buffalo News, who never misses a Niagara peninsula scoop. He smartly took the note and ran with it (courteously asking permission first). Read his take here.

Rocketship 7 was a low-budget local kiddie show that ran weekday mornings on WKBW. A mix of puppets and cartoons (including Art Clokey’s curious clay Christian parable Davey and Goliath), it featured a robot named “Promo” made out of cardboard and blinking lights. Thomas used to cross the border into Canada to entertain kids at Toronto’s Sick Children’s hospital, Promo neatly folded in his trunk.

Airing in the years when local shows aired live or were recorded and then routinely taped over, almost nothing survives of Thomas’ 16-year run on Rocketship 7.

Thomas/Roberts, however, will get a little more TV face time in a couple of months: as Pergament reports, Boreanaz’ dad will pop into the final episode of Bones.


  1. Joan Mizzi-Fry Reply

    Thanks so much for featuring Rocketship 7 in today’s blog. Many fond memories came flooding back. Tom Jolles could never fill Dave Thomas’ boots. Mr. Thomas, Promo and company took us to infinity and beyond!

  2. david graham Reply

    I grew up with Rocketship 7–the show also taught children about world events-I remember a segment called “the Rocketship 7 gazette” where Mr. Thomas and Promo would discuss some of the events going on in the world that even kids could understand

  3. Jan Laurito Reply

    I used to watch every morning while getting ready for school. Those were such innocent times. I sure missed Dave Thomas when he left Buffalo. I think I somehow instinctively knew David is his son leading me to follow his career from Buffy through Bones. You guys are both great in my book!

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