Hal Fryar, TV’s ‘Harlow Hickenlooper’ for a generation of Hoosier kids, dies at age 90

Hal Fryar played Harlow Hickenlooper on local TV (photo provided)

BRADENTON, Fla. – For kids who grew up in the 1960s around central Indiana, the name “Harlow Hickenlooper” is hard to forget.

The character played by Hal Fryar rose to fame as the host of a children’s show on WFBM-TV in Indianapolis that ran from 1960 to 1972. The show featured old Three Stooges shorts and Hickenlooper, clad in a striped jacket, usually ended up getting a pie in the face during locally staged skits.

Fryar passed away at the age of 90 Sunday in Bradenton, Fla., according to his website.

His career as an entertainer began as a teenager, when he served as an announcer, emcee and writer in Indianapolis during the mid-40s. He graduated from Indiana University in 1950 with a degree in speech. His broadcasting career began in Ohio on TV and radio.

He appeared on other children’s shows throughout his 43 years in local television, including a stint as “Grandpa Harlow” on WFYI from 1990-1995 in which he hosted episodes of Barney. He appeared in the Three Stooges movie, The Outlaws Is Coming, and was inducted into the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame in 2008.

Fryar is survived by his wife of 37 years, Henrietta Fryar; his daughter, Pam Allen; his son, Gary Fryar; stepdaughters Connie Linton and Marsha McMullin along with several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

From his obituary:

Hal was always generous, witty, and dedicated to entertaining, often volunteering his talent to community events. He always expressed personal interest in others and was forever introducing people to create new connections and friendships. Hal was a dedicated member of the Emanuel Methodist Church of Bradenton.

Fryar will be laid to rest after a private funeral service in Florida.

In lieu of flowers, his family asks for donations to Hospice House of Bradenton, 3355 26th St W., Bradenton, Fla. 34205. Fans can also send their condolences through this contact form on Fryar’s website.