Dave Ward introduces today's generation to KiTiRiK and the woman inside the cat suit

Thursday, October 29, 2020
Dave Ward explains how KiTiRiK became a Houston icon
Who is KiTiRiK? She is an icon from the early days of Houston. Dave Ward catches up with the early TV star to learn about her rise to fame on KTRK.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In the early 1950s, when KTRK was assigned the potentially unlucky Channel 13, station owners decided to embrace it! A black cat was named the station mascot, and incorporated into our logo.

When station managers noticed young Bunny Orsak applying for a job in their lobby, they immediately knew she would bring them the good luck they knew would override that unlucky channel number.

"I thought they were crazy," Orsak said to ABC13 Anchor Emeritus Dave Ward. "I came back in a bathing suit. And so they decided that I would put on the leotard and the mesh hose and get the tail."

Then there was the name for the soon-to-be children's television host.

"They had a contest and a lot of people sent in all these different names," Orsak said. "And this woman, who was an artist, sent artwork that had KTRK with an I in between each letter. So we thought that was a really good idea because it could promote KTRK as well as my name. And they called it KiTiRiK."

With the cat suit, whiskers drawn on her face using an eyebrow pencil and a winning personality, Kitirik and Orsak became a Houston TV phenomenon still remembered by viewers to this day.

Many Houston kids celebrated their birthdays on Kitirik's live show, learning valuable lessons with her puppet friends.

In 1974, after a 16-year run, the Kitirik show was canceled.

"More than nine lives," Orsak recalled fondly.