Trent Wood: 1925-2014

Trent Wood, fondly remembered as the longtime host of the Memphis TV program “Looney Zoo,” died Tuesday in Oklahoma.

Trent Wood and Tiny in 1961

Trent Wood, the popular host of the Memphis children’s TV show Looney Zoo, passed away Tuesday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Wood was born in 1925 in Louisville, Kentucky. His family came to Memphis when his father, the Rev. Howard Thomas Wood, was named pastor of Linden Avenue Christian Church. When the church moved to a newer and larger campus at Union and East Parkway, the church’s name was changed to honor their pastor: Lindenwood.

Trent attended Central High School and studied economics at Rhodes College. He served in the Army during World War II, and when he returned to Memphis began working in television, first at WHBQ-TV Channel 13 and later at WMC-TV Channel 5. He first hosted a children’s show called Storyland and another program called Homemakers before taking over the hosting duties of a show called Looney Zoo. It became one of the longest-running shows in local television history.

When the show went off the air in 1971, Trent and his wife, Mae, moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he worked in the bond department of First National Bank.

I profiled Trent and his co-host, Tiny the Clown (Rhodes College professor Ray Hill), in the March issue of our magazine. Go here to read the whole story of this talented gentleman.

Funeral arrangements are, at this writing, incomplete.›

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Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and Inside Memphis Business. Vance is the author of three books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History Expert (2011) and Vance Lauderdale's Lost Memphis (2013). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards, the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den. 

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