I've been doing some digging on this title, and our current info seems to be incorrect. Afternoon actually seems to have been the primary title. Michael Davis discusses it a bit in Street Gang, noting that the Muppets in fact were initially on "Inga's Angle," a fifteen minute section starring Inga Rundvold (p. 77-78 of the book). Davis (who interviewed initial Afternoon host Mac McGarry, as well as Jane Henson, for this portion of the book) says this was the lead-in for Afternoon, which while perhaps a little off, explains why the ad we have gives it a 45 minute slot and lists the Muppets and Inga first. Inga Rundvold, like most of the other WRC-TV personalities used on Afternoon, had various duties and shows with the station (Tippy Stringer, who sang on Afternoon, was also the late night weather reporter).
By now Sam and Friends was on the air, so it's mentioned, and it's obvious that Inga is the new host. The reference to "our new-look" Afternoon might even imply this is when the change was made, but it could have been earlier. But it seems pretty clear that Afternoon is still the title, however much they trumpet Inga. The only references to "Afternoon with Inga" outside of three or four Muppet books and that site, and two recentish profiles of Inga Rundvold, come from 1956 listings, one in February and one in March (and in all of WRC-TV's advertising, while the other personalities are billed by full name, Inga Rundvold is billed as Inga, like Cher). So the name change had to be after December, meaning at most it was Afternoon with Inga for about five months after ten months as Afternoon. I'm also not entirely sure some of the listings don't actually mean "Afternoon with Inga" and somehow this mistake was perpetuated, but I did find the two 1956 listings, so there's some cause anyway. So with this evidence (and a pretty great ad, I like how the man ogles Inga, the women ogles the baritone, and the dog is fascinated by the Muppets, who are also misspelled), I think we should move to Afternoon as primary title and Afternoon with Inga as the redirect. Thoughts?
I also toyed with whether to give Mac McGarry his own page, since Davis has several choice quotes from him about Henson and the Muppets (especially Yorick, who it's clear was a bigger star than Kermit at the time as far as identification and popularity), and we know they interacted since he was co-host with Scott (and he was an announcer on Old-time radio shows, so that's another connection). But there's no pic of him with Kermit, and his career is less obscure than say Pat Mackenzie (where I felt any of the few details I found here and there really needed to be recorded and wouldn't work on the Esskay page) so my general gut is just to work it into the expanded page (I will create a page for Carl Degen though, who directed Afternoon *and* The Tales of Tinkerdee and had been responsible for Jim Henson working on those Sneegle safety films, and so on).
The Muppetts? That's as bad as the early Beatles 45 that was spelled "The Beattles". Anyway, I'll let other people share their thoughts. I was just thinking that if anybody can get to Washington D.C. editions of TV Guide, that would help figure out what they called it, and when the changes happened. Too bad I'm in the wrong part of the country.
Yeah, this is fantastic research. I totally agree -- rename it to Afternoon, with appropriate notes about Inga-related matters. It looks to me like "Afternoon" was just the name of their afternoon line-up, which is an amusingly literal early-TV thing to call it.
It may be impossible to track down a definitive answer about exactly when it was called Afternoon vs Afternoon with Inga, because the people at WRC probably didn't care. They weren't worried about branding or consistency. It's possible that it was called different things depending on who you talked to.
So I think the evidence that you've got definitely establishes that Afternoon is the basic name, with variations. We should point out that it's called Afternoon with Inga in the Muppet sources, and then go into the whole explanation.
I'm sure that anybody who cares enough about Afternoon to look at our page about it will be a hardcore nerd who will be very happy to read about all of these details. :) I know I am. Hooray!