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Clellan Card is best-remembered today by Minnesota baby boomers who watched him on Axel and His Dog, a children's television program that aired on WCCO-TV from 1954 to 1966. However, he was an important figure in Twin Cities broadcasting from the 1930s to the 1960s, and his long career was studded with many notable achievements.

At one time or another, Clellan worked on every major radio station of his era in Minneapolis/St. Paul: WCCO, KSTP, WTCN, and WDGY. He participated in one of the first -- possibly the first -- experimental television broadcasts in the Twin Cities in about 1933. In 1938, he hosted the first live program broadcast from WCCO radio's new studios (where the station still remains today). He appeared concurrently on competing radio stations in the Twin Cities during two separate periods, in 1944 (on WCCO & KSTP) and again in 1950 (on WCCO & WTCN), and quite likely was the only major local radio personality ever to do so. In October 1954, he was the star of the first local television colorcast in the Twin Cities, a special broadcast of Axel and His Dog.

Clellan Card was arguably the single most popular radio personality in the entire Upper Midwest during the late 1930s. His "Doughnut Dunking Jamborees" (held each April Fools Day) regularly drew crowds of more than 2,000 people to watch a radio broadcast -- at seven o'clock in the morning. His recitation of a Scandihoovian lampoon of "The Night Before Christmas" was a beloved annual tradition from 1938 to 1965.

Clellan attained immense local popularity again in the 1950s and 1960s as the children's television character Axel. The ratings for Axel and His Dog were often more than double those of all three competing programs combined. He was chosen "Best Children's Television Personality" many times by the local chapter of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).

The children who grew up watching Axel on television have not forgotten him. Even today, more than 30 years after Clellan's death, many Minnesota baby boomers can recite a "Birdie" (Axel's catch-phrase) at the drop of a hat.

For additional photos and more about Clellan Card's life, click below.

1901 - 1938

1939 - 1953

1953 - 1960

1961 - 1966



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