Monday, October 1, 2012

Did She See Me?

By Paul Dugan, Groovy Reflections Team Member

I grew up as part of the first television generation and I consider myself very lucky. It was such a magical time. We didn't take it for granted and our parents didn't use it as a baby sitter. It wasn’t a substitute for outdoors but rather a supplement, I can remember being so disappointed when Mom said it was raining so I couldn't go out to play, why not go watch TV.

An early TV memory for me was the Howdy Doody Show. How I loved Howdy, Buffalo Bob, Phineas T Bluster, Princess Summerfall Winterspring and my favorite one of all, Flub-a-Dub! I didn’t know he was a combination of eight animals: a duck's bill, a cat's whiskers, a spaniel's ears, a giraffe's neck, a dachshund's body, a seal's flippers, a pig's tail and an elephant's memory! Heck, I didn’t even know he was a puppet!

All I knew was I wanted one! Mom compromised and got me a cat, which I promptly named Flub-a-Dub! I so wanted to be on the show and sit in the Peanut Gallery, it looked like such fun! All those kids seemed to be really enjoying themselves.

In the mornings before I began going to school there was Miss Jean in Romper Room. (It was a franchised show and each city had their own Miss________). I always tried very hard to be a Good Do Bee, although I often failed. Perhaps that’s why she never saw me in her magic mirror, I couldn’t understand why? There I was right in front of her, waving my arms; maybe she needed glasses!

In different areas of the country there was local kids programming. In the Boston area, we had The Major Mudd Show. He was a space commander, always on the lookout for his Lost Battalion. There were always local kids on the show and they got neat prizes! 

Another show I didn’t get to be on. Sigh. At least it was fun to watch; they had cartoons and sometimes the Three Stooges shorts would be on and the Major always had his classic sign off: I.B.B.Y. which meant I’ll Be Blasting You. I still use this expression today. 

It wouldn’t be kid’s TV in Boston without remembering Rex Trailer’s Boom, Boom, Boomtown! Rex was a real singing cowboy; he could do riding tricks, rope tricks and lots more! I knew I could do the same if I just had a horse. There were the cartoons like Popeye and Davey and Goliath, but most of all I wanted to be a Cowboy and Rex epitomized that!

One of the last of the kid’s shows I remember watching was Salty’s Shack out of Rhode Island. This show was geared toward older kids and while it featured the obligatory cartoons, it also had a segment featuring Salty Brine himself teaching you how to draw. As I look back now I realize it was very educational, but as a kid I just thought it was fun! Salty, the old sea captain would set up an easel and take you step by step on how to draw a picture, maybe a boat one day, a sailor the next, or a tree maybe, I actually got fairly good at it.

I don’t watch a lot of television anymore, except maybe for some sports, but I sure wish I could go back to being a little kid and my biggest worry was whether Miss Jean would see me being a Don’t Bee!

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Tim Armstrong said...

Great story Paul! Reminds me of the fun shows I watched as a kid. We had Miss Kelly for Romper Room, and I too wondered why she never saw me waving at her! Ironically, my wife just asked me the other day what I.B.B.Y. meant after she saw it on a GR post, and I replied "I have no idea". Thanks to you, I now know! Thanks for taking me back.

Anonymous said...

GRoovy post, Paul!!I long for the simpler days of TV as well!!

Pete Frecchio

Anonymous said...

That was a magical time and a great time to be a kid. Romper Room, Lunchtime Little Theater, Captain Kangaroo... Running around outside,...freedom to be a kid. You present that wonderful era in such a way that makes me want to live in that time! Great post!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful story, I'm a baby boomer and it brought back so many happy memories.

sookietex said...

GR8 post Paul. i'm a boomer too :D Howdy was more during my older sibs' era but to this day i remember the theme song as they would sing along when they watched :D

LOVED Romper Room Never missed watching & i was a 'Do-Bee' ;D i.e. 'push your chair back in to the table after you stand up' & so on. So many great life lessons. Afternoons were for Popeye cartoons. i think the host's name was CaptJack but can't remember for certain, but loved the tugboat from which he 'set out to sea'[even after i figured out it wasn't a real tugboat].
Stay groovy :D