Maggie Muggins

Awarded in 2008
Maggie Muggins

People of a certain age remember her well. The little girl with the red braids, freckles and cheery nature began charming young radio listeners in the 1930s and continued to do so into the television age. Maggie Muggins was the creation of Mary Grannan, a Fredericton school-teacher who claimed her story-telling grew out of an early aversion to teaching arithmetic to her class at the Devon Superior School. She was a teacher for nearly two decades, but in summer she took courses in Boston and New York and participated in amateur theatre. When Radio Station CFNB, first in the Maritimes, opened here, she began producing scripts for two shows, “Musical Scrapbook” and “Aggravatin’ Agatha.” The financial rewards were modest, $3 a week for the scripts and their performance; nonetheless, it served to supplement her Depression- era teaching salary of $700 a year. And it was a launching pad. The renowned broadcaster J. Frank Willis heard her work, and in 1939 the fledgling CBC network began airing episodes of “Just Mary,” featuring Maggie Muggins, on Sunday afternoons. It became the cornerstone of Canadian children’s programming, running 44 episodes a year from then until 1962. In 1954, “Maggie Muggins” became a TV show, too. Mary Grannan was nothing, if not prolific. She also wrote 29 books and numerous other weekly radio shows. A striking woman noted for her fashionable attire, she was a Frederictonian always. She died at her home here in 1975 and was buried in the Hermitage Cemetery.