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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