Sunday, April 30, 2017
Sunday, April 16, 2017
I realize I have poked fun of some of the nonsense on the Internet where people talk about fears of clowns, department store Santa Clauses and department store Easter Bunnies. Now, I am going to confess to having been frightened by something that is frequently referred to a "beloved children's favorite." It is the children's book, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams and first published in 1922.
I never read the book or had it read to me, but I saw an animated TV version. I tried to look for the one I watched on YouTube and couldn't find it. I had a hard time looking up information on this story or looking for the video because I get shaky and nauseated just think about the story (Go ahead, you jerks, and call me "snowflake").
So what scared me about this story that it STILL bothers me in my 40s? Near the end of story, the little boy contracts a serious illness and a doctor tells the parents that they have to burn his toys because they are contaminated.
This probably wouldn't frighten any other kid, but since I was two years old, I have had multiple illnesses. I nearly spent several months of my early childhood in a oxygen tent at the hospital in Lebanon, Missouri, because of severe asthma. I was never able to really play outside like other kids, because what triggered my asthma was pollen and other allergens, which include trees and grass. I was confined to the indoors, so toys, books and records were my only source of fun. Imagine the terror if that was taken away and burned.
Maybe this didn't frighten other kids, because they didn't have illness in there lives or they had different circumstances in their lives. As for me, it created an anxiety that still won't go away.
At least I didn't say I'm afraid of clowns.
Sunday, April 9, 2017
I had been wanting to find this and, of course, Youtube came through. This is from the TV version of the popular radio anthology, Family Theater. The radio series adapted several classic children's books, while the TV series focused on mainly stories from the Bible (It was produced by a Catholic group - the radio show usually began with prayer).
I learned about this in an extra on the DVD of Rebel Without Cause. James Dean's first appearance on film was playing John the Apostle in a 1951 episode of Family Theater. The episode is called "Hill Number One." It features a wrap around story of a platoon of men fighting in Korea. A chaplain brings the men coffee on Easter Sunday and begins telling them the story of the Resurrection.
Like the radio series, the TV show attracted some major actors. In this episode alone, you will see such well-known actors as Roddy McDowell (Planet of the Apes), William Schallert (Patty Duke Show), Leif Erickson (High Chaparral), Frank Wilcox (The Untouchables & Beverly Hillbillies), and Michael Anasara (Broken Arrow, Law of the Plainsman, Star Trek & I Dream of Jeanie).
When this first aired, James Dean wasn't THE JAMES DEAN. This was just the beginning of his legend.
Feel free to post this on Facebook with a overbearing, guilt trip statement like "I bet you won't share this." Maybe I'll get more hits that way.
Friday, April 7, 2017
Saturday, April 1, 2017
This is the 60th anniversary of the greatest April Fool's Day joke ever by, of all people, the BBC News division. We studied this incident in my media and journalism courses at Missouri State University, back when it was Southwest Missouri State University. None of our professors had a copy of it. They assumed it was lost (kind of like early Doctor Who episodes). We can see it, thanks to YouTube.
On April 1st, 1957, the BBC news program, Panorama, ran a 3 minute story about the abundant harvest this spring on spaghetti trees in Switzerland. It was narrated by the shows, usually serious host Richard Dimbleby. At the time, spaghetti and pasta were not foods that the British ate. The only way to get spaghetti, in the 1950s, in Great Britain was pre-cooked in a can with tomato sauce. People began calling the BBC to find out if they could grow it in their back yard.
Here is the full report. The only thing missing from this is Richard Dimbleby's tag at the end, saying into the camera, "And that is our program for today, April 1st, 1957."
Runners up on great April Fool's Day jokes would be when a reporter for an NBC affiliate in Missouri (John Pertzborn, I think), in the early 90s, profiled a couple that was receiving "left over" TV transmissions from the 1950s. I became suspect when it seemed everything they were watching was off at Goodtimes or Video Steve compilation tape. Another April Fool's joke in the Missouri media world was in the late 80s, when the then top rated Top 40 radio station in Springfield, Missouri, KWTO-FM Rock 99, announced it was going country and the DJs quit on-air. Also a few years ago, Northern Bath Tissue announced their "Rustic Weave Artisan Toilet Paper" in an online commercial (I love the look on that woman's face when she sits down). Also, comic fans used to laugh about the time Comic Shop News announced that D.C Comics had bought out Marvel Comics. This was before Warner Brothers bought out D.C and Marvel was bought out by Disney.
Happy April Fool's Day!