|Founded||1953 in Baltimore, Maryland as Bert Claster's Romper Room Inc. BV|
Claster Television, Inc. was a Baltimore, Maryland–based television distributor founded in 1953 by Bert and Nancy Claster as Romper Room Inc. It was originally a producer of the children's show Romper Room. Romper Room was one of the first pre-schoolchildren's programs, predating Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Sesame Street, and Barney & Friends.
Romper Room was fairly successful in its early years. CBS offered to pick up the show, but the Clasters instead decided to syndicate and franchise it, by taping episodes and selling the tapes to local stations or giving the option to local stations to produce their own version of the show.
In 1969, Hasbro bought Romper Room Inc. and renamed it Claster Television Productions. Throughout the 1970s, Claster continued to make Romper Room and did not distribute anything else until 1978 when it brought the Japanese animated television series Star Blazers into the United States. It also developed the television series Bowling for Dollars.
In the 1980s, Hasbro formed contracts with animation studios to make cartoons that would promote the sale of Hasbro's toys. In 1983, Claster distributed the animated series G.I. Joe, which was fairly successful. A year later, Claster distributed The Transformers, which was a major success for Hasbro and Claster.
G.I. Joe ended in 1987, while The Transformers left off airing new run episodes in the United States, but continued to air for some time in Japan under the supervision of Takara, the Japanese rightsholder to the Transformers franchise. Beginning in 1989, Claster distributed a G.I. Joe cartoon series sequel that was made by DIC Entertainment. This ended in 1991. Romper Room finally was ended in 1994 due to loss of interest and popularity, giving the program a run of 41 years. Romper Room had been the longest-running children's show in history to date, a record that Sesame Street passed in 2010.
In 1996, Claster syndicated ReBoot, the first all-CGI television show, for a short time after it was cancelled by ABC. At the same time, they distributed a CGI revival of Transformers known as Beast Wars until 1999 (Its sequel, Beast Machines, would air on Fox Kids). Claster released The Mr. Potato Head Show in 1998, which was another attempt to sell Hasbro toys.
All of Claster's shows ended in 2000, when Hasbro formed a central media division which merged Claster with other Hasbro media and some shows from Claster Television would be owned by Hasbro.
List of television series distributed by Claster
- Romper Room (1953–1994)
- Bowling for Dollars (1960s–2008)
- Fred Flintstone and Friends (1977–1978)*
- Star Blazers (1979–1984)
- The Great Space Coaster (1981–1986)
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (1983–1986)
- The Transformers (1984–1988)
- Muppet Babies (1984–1991)**
- Jim Henson's Little Muppet Monsters (1985)***
- Super Sunday (1985–1986)
- My Little Pony 'n Friends (1986–1987)
- Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light (1987)
- Maxie's World (1987)
- The New Archies (1987)***
- COPS (1988–1989)
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (1989)****
- James Bond Jr. (1991)
- Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars (1991)
- Mother Goose and Grimm (1991–1992)***
- Catwalk (1992–1994)
- Conan the Adventurer (1992–1994)
- The Pink Panther (1993–1996)
- Transformers: Generation 2 (1993–1995)*****
- The Baby Huey Show (1994–1996)*****
- ReBoot (1994–2001)******
- Mutant League (1994–1996)
- Action Man (1995–1996)
- Littlest Pet Shop (1995–1996)
- Richie Rich (1996)
- G.I. Joe: Extreme (1995–1997)
- Vor-Tech: Undercover Conversion Squad (1996-1997)
- Beast Wars: Transformers (1996–1999)
- All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series (1996–1999)
- Mummies Alive! (1997–1998)
- The Lionhearts (1998)
* Syndicated re-run series packaged by Columbia Pictures Television.
** Syndicated re-runs only, Claster roughly edited two minutes to fit in commercials.
*** Syndicated re-runs only.
**** Sequel to the former 1985-1986 G.I. Joe series.
***** "Enhanced" rebroadcast of the original 1984-1988 series.
****** Syndicated reruns, plus new episodes.
- "Nancy Claster, 82, Miss Nancy of 'Romper Room,' Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
- "Miss Sally of kids' TV". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
- "1st `Romper Room' teacher Nancy Claster dies at 82". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
- "Update of classic may get to educate a new generation RETURN TO 'ROMPER ROOM'". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2011-12-24.