Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
Virginia Sherwood Carino, a former broadcaster and ABC News White House correspondent best known in New Orleans for the role that began her career – as Miss Ginny on WWL-TV’s “Romper Room” – died Oct. 7. She was 87.
Mrs. Carino suffered complications from Alzheimer’s disease, her family said. Her husband was former WWL-TV general manager Larry Carino, who came to WWL in 1958 as sales manager.
Mrs. Carino’s career included a stint at ABC News, as one of the network’s first female correspondents, covering the White House during the Nixon and Ford administrations. Later, she became a communications coach and consultant, helping TV reporters and hosts, political candidates and corporate executives enhance their communication skills.
But she is best known in the city where she began her TV career and spent nearly 10 years teaching children to be “Do Bees” and not “Don’t Bees,” on Channel 4’s “Romper Room.” Each weekday the station aired a local edition of the nationally syndicated show which licensed local versions in TV markets across the country. A later New Orleans version was hosted by actress Linda Mintz.
As “Miss Ginny,” Mrs. Carino presided over the Romper Room schoolhouse, welcoming six preschool-aged children to the studio for games, exercise and lessons in everything from math and reading to table manners – particularly how “Do Bees” acted. "Do Bee good boys and girls for your parents," was an example, illustrated by a large bumblebee hand puppet and on signs posted in the school room studio.
Each show began with a Jack-in-the box opening title, to the theme of “Pop Goes the Weasel,” and closed with the hostess looking into her Magic Mirror. Miss Ginny, and her counterparts across the country, would recite the still-familiar line, "Romper, bomper, stomper boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me, do. Magic Mirror, tell me today, have all my friends had fun at play?” She would then name the children she saw in "television land,” who had mailed in their names and were part of the at-home audience.
Mrs. Carino hosted various other shows and appeared in commercials on the station before leaving in 1967. She was a graduate of Stanford University, where she majored in theater.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. Carino is survived by a daughter, 8 stepchildren, 28 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service was held in Sun Lakes, Arizona. Memorial donations may be made to the Mayo Clinic for Alzheimer’s Research or the Alzheimer’s Association.