Tag Archives: Sonny Fox

Roundup: Historic Homes, Homes With Hope, DMV, More


The Historic District Commission meets on March 9 (7 p.m., Zoom). Among the agenda items, they’ll discuss demolition requests for 70 Compo Mill Cove.

From 1922 until his death in 2014, that was Allen Raymond’s home. A beloved civic volunteer who gave time, talent and money to Westport in countless ways, he paid a final visit there exactly a month before he died, age 91.

70 Compo Mill Cove

Also on the agenda are demolition requests for:

  • 10 Scofield Place
  • 32 Owenoke Park
  • 19 Old Orchard Road,

In addition, the Historic District Commission will be asked to approve:

  • An application for exterior repairs, new windows and siding at 18 Post Road West (National Hall), in a National Historic District
  • Eligibility for a Historic Residential Structures Special Permit for 188 Cross Highway
  • Exterior repairs at 39 Cross Highway, a local history property.

Click here for the full agenda, including log-in information and details for public comment.


Today is Giving Day. Homes with Hope — Westport’s wonderful supportive housing organization — is asking for help.

Just as they offer a variety of solutions — shelters, single-family homes, apartments and affordable housing, plus food and mentoring — there are several ways to support neighbors in need.

You can make a donation (click here).

You can post on social media, and ask your network to help.

You can create your own fundraiser too.

The tagline for Giving Day is “give where you live.” For people with nowhere to live, Homes with Hope can be life-saving.


Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d type: Thank you, DMV.

When my driver’s license renewal came up, I was not one of the lucky thousands who can do it online. Dutifully, I made an appointment. And prepared for the worst.

But the pandemic has goosed the notoriously inefficient, user-unfriendly department into new ways of working.

And boy, do they work.

I drove to Norwalk. My temperature was checked; then I was checked in quickly. I got a number. Two minutes later, it was called.

The clerk — a Westporter! — was friendly and funny. The paperwork was quick; the photo was, well, a driver’s license photo. I thanked her, and headed home.

Total elapsed time, door to door: 39 minutes.

I’ve waited longer than that while talking with a DMV clerk at his window in the past.

Like I said: Thank you, DMV!


What have you been dying to ask superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice?

This afternoon at 3:15, you get your chance.

Just head to Instagram Live (@WestportMagazine), and fire away.

Can’t wait. You can DM your questions ahead of time: @DaveBriggsTV.


During the pandemic, “CBS This Morning” has been honoring some of the 500,000 Americans who have died of COVID.

Tuesday’s show paid tribute to Sonny Fox. The longtime Weston resident — a legendary kids’ TV show host, among many other accomplishments — died last month, at 95.

Click here to view. (Hat tip: Larry Perlstein)


And finally … today we celebrate 3 important holidays. February 25 is National Toast Day …

… and National Chili Day …

… and National Rubber Ducky Day.

Remembering Sonny Fox

Sonny Fox — the longtime Weston resident who, as host of New York Channel 5’s “Wonderama” and “Just for Fun” gave countless tri-state baby boomer boys and girls their first chance to be on television, and gamely rode herd over them for several hours every weekend — has died. He was 95 years old, and lived in California.

The shows ran from 1959 to 1967. Under hot lights, on a small set, kids watched magic demonstrations, did art, competed in spelling bees and games, met (D-list) celebrities, and (for long periods of time) fidgeted.

I know, because I was one of those youngsters. So were many others. Sonny Fox looked out for his neighbors, and his friends’ children.

In fact, in 2012 when Sonny Fox — he was always called by both names — spoke at the Westport Library about his book “But You Made the Front Page! War, Wonderama and a Whole Bunch of Life,” he asked how many people in the audience of 75 or so had ever been on his shows.

A substantial number stood up.

That “war” part of his book is not an exaggeration.

Born Irwin Fox in Brooklyn when Calvin Coolidge was president, and a child of the Depression, he was a sergeant in World War II. Taken prisoner of war (serial number 42022375) in Germany, his life was saved when an American clerk at the camp deliberately and falsely identified him as Protestant, rather than Jewish.

Other Jewish soldiers were sent to a slave camp. Many never returned.

Sonny Fox did many things in life before his kids’ TV gigs, of course. Starting in 1947, he was a radio host.

And after: He emceed “The $64,000 Challenge,” produced movies for TV and specials for PBS, served as vice president for children’s programming at NBC, chaired the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, and profiled composers like Alan Jay Lerner, Yip Harburg, Burton Lane and Fred Ebb for CBS.

But in Westport and Weston, Sonny Fox was a guy who took the train into New York to work in television. He was an avid tennis player.

And he made sure that hundreds of children — now in their 50s and 60s — sat somewhat still, played for a while, and made their parents and grandparents proud.

Sonny Fox, in action.

(Hat tip: Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Memorial For Manny

Manny Margolis — the longtime Westporter known for his devotion to civil liberties and underdogs, who died August 17 at 85 — will be remembered this Saturday (October 8), at a pair of special events.

Manny Margolis

Manny’s memory will 1st be honored at the 11 a.m. peace vigil on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Post Road bridge downtown.  He was a longtime participant, dating back to the Vietnam vigil days at the old Town Hall.

At 11:30 a.m., the group will walk from the bridge to the Westport Library’s McManus Room.  There, anyone who wishes to can speak about Manny.

Margolis family friend Sonny Fox — the veteran TV personality — will run the event.

There will be plenty of memories — but no food.  Saturday is Yom Kippur, a traditional Jewish fast day.