Thursday, September 29, 2005

Biography, Part 4!

OK, this installment, as I continue with my grade school memories, will focus on television!

I know when I was very young, like a toddler, that my favorite show was Fury, a show about a horse... I know this because I used to have one of those rocking horses on springs that I named Fury (although my mom tells me I couldn't pronounce the "F" very well, so it came out "Pury").

I know I was an enthusiast of Saturday morning cartoons, especially the super-hero shows that came out in the late 1960s, starting with Filmation's Superman, later joined by Batman and Aquaman! Naturally, I was also a big fan of the Spider-Man and Fantastic Four cartoons that followed, as well.

I didn't watch the Marvel Super-Heroes cartoons as a kid, because they were never shown in Washington State, so far as I know.

I also was a big fan of Space Ghost, Birdman, and the Herculoids... and Shazzan! too!

Actually, it seems that there were basically three animation companies (the top three, it seems) whose programs would be worth checking out... Filmation, Hanna-Barbera, and Krofft. I would always give at least one show from each of these studios a shot -- although I think I first recognized the Filmation look before the others (you'd think that Pufnstuf and Lidsville and Bugaloos would've been similar enough that I'd pick up on it, but it took a while, it seems).

Of course, I was at the right age to latch on to Scooby-Doo when it debuted, although once the show mutated beyond the Scooby-Doo Movies, and introduced Scrappy and other relatives, I stopped watching it entirely!

Any Saturday morning show that featured dinosaurs would be a must-see, naturally... so Valley of the Dinosaurs and Land of the Lost were absolute must-watch shows. Anything sci-fi would also get my attention... and yeah, shows that featured musical groups would be on my watch list, too!

So, you can gather from that I watched the Archies cartoons, as well as the Beatles, Osmonds, and Jackson Five shows... Star Trek, Space Academy, Ark II...

Well, you probably have the idea.

I remember weekday afternoons, when there'd be some programs on that were for after-school watching... usually hosted by some local character. Channel 11 had Brakeman Bill, who had Crazy Donkey as his sidekick. He'd have local kids on his show from time to time, and he'd show cartoons, too.

His biggest competition, fortunately, wasn't on in the afternoons, it was in the mornings... J.P. Patches is an institution in the Puget Sound area... J.P. was a clown who lived in the city dump, and his girlfriend was Gertrude (a man in drag, also a clown), and his arch-foe was Boris S. Wart. Also along for the ride was Ketchikan, the Animal Man! J.P. was hilarious, and he showed quite a few cartoons himself.

A later host of kids programs was when Channel 13 started broadcasting... and their afternoon character was Flash Blaiden, a super-hero character.

I think both Flash and Brakeman Bill, at different times, would show, instead of cartoons, movie serial chapters! So I was exposed to stuff like the Flash Gordon series, as well as the various Rocketman shows... but the only superhero serials that were shown weren't the Batman or Superman serials... just the Captain America one. Bizarre, that.

Later, Channel 13 would have Captain Seatac, and Channel 11 would have a Ranger Charlie and Roscoe (the most bizarre situation occured there... you think changing Darrins on Betwitched took getting used to? The original Ranger Charlie was a rather portly balding man in his late 40s... he went away, and it was just Roscoe the Racoon puppet hosting for a month... then there was a new Ranger Charlie... a 20-something hot young babe!). But those were during my high school years, so those don't count, do they?



  1. I think that the did show those 1960's Marvel superhero cartoons around here, at least a little. I have memories of that Spider Man theme song (does whatever a spider can) and I remember seeing a cartoon about Namor the Sub-Mariner when I was very young.

  2. And Ranger Charlie (the second one!) was really attractive.

  3. Hey, interesting blog... We used to sell JP Patches "Action Figures" on our novelty website... A customer told my wife that when he was a kid, his parents got into a fender-bender with JP and Gertrude, in costume... Gertrude tried to comfort the guy's younger brother (I think he said 4 or 5?) but it only made the kid cry harder... that must have been a sight to see.

  4. Anonymous12:01 AM

    oh my god! ranger charlie and roscoe! i was, like, 7 when that show was on. i vaguely remember the guy, but the girl charlie was really pretty, and i remember that roscoe was a really crappy hand puppet with ugly eyes (it occurred to me at the time that it was nowhere near as cool as the muppets). i wonder if there is any chance that there are archival episodes anywhere?

  5. Hey, Anonymous... you're really going far back in the archives, eh? I don't remember what Roscoe looked like -- at least not in detail! And it's funny, because I used to really be into puppetry, and you'd think I would have been critical of whatever they did, eh?

    Still, Crazy Donkey on Brakeman Bill was a really crappy looking puppet... but he had personality!


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