Early Rochester TV Star

Jimmy O’Flynn

I uploaded two issues of Rochester TV Life from early 1952 (Jan. 19 – 25 and Jan. 26 – Feb. 1). That magazine had TV listings for Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse. In those days there was just one station in Rochester and Buffalo but Syracuse had two stations.

Both of those issues had articles on the death of Jimmy O’Flynn. The Democrat & Chronicle referred to Jimmy as the “most widely known and best loved small boys in Rochester history.” His mother said that at the age of 20 months Jimmy knew over 20 songs. Just a few days after his third birthday in 1948 he was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with nephrosis, a kidney disease. At that time the disease was usually fatal but today it can be solved with a kidney transplant if a donor kidney is found in time. Somehow Jimmy started getting better after getting some transfusions.

Jimmy was on Ed Meath’s radio show “Stars of Tommorow” and was the winner of the weekly talent show. Soon after a new TV show was started on May 4, 1950 called “Ask the Kids” where Jimmy was one of the panel of kids answering questions from viewers. From then on Jimmy’s career took off and he was soon hosting local shows where he would sing and tell jokes and stories. He was even a featured performer at the 1951 Lilac Festival.

The end came on Jan. 12, 1952 when his nephrosis got the best of him. By that time even though Jimmy was only seven years old he had made over 500 public appearances. Jimmy was buried in the Irondequoit Cemetery and a fund was set up in his name. That fund bought an organ for the Irondequoit Presbyterian Church.

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