Thursday, June 14, 2007

Let’s Watch a Popeye Cartoon!!!!!!!!!

There was a time when local TV Station’s had local children’s programming. It usually involved awestruck kids sitting on bleachers watching loony tunes and Popeye. Low budgets and corny hosts ruled the day but they were fun in their own simple way and it was one those few chances for a child to get his or her shot at 15 minutes of fame. When I traveled to a new city as a grade-schooler, It was very important that I check out local kids cartoon show so I could compare it to my hometown version.
Since I grew up in Portland, Oregon, The Ramblin’ Rod Show (1964- 1997) was the local cartoon program. It aired in the morning right before we went school. I remember sneaking out of my room on cold winter mornings so I could watch the heavily buttoned Rod Anders sail in on his boat, chitchat with the kids, and yell, “lets watch another cartoon!” Sometimes, as Portland was a small market, you might even see somebody you knew. One of the big parts of the show was the smile contest, if you won, and every kid wanted to win mind you, it was a dream come true as you would get a free bottle of Pop Shoppe Pop or a silly toy.

I was actually on The Ramblin’ Rod Show twice. The first time was for my birthday. It was an amazing experience for a kid. I sat on the upper (stage) left corner and actually talked to Rod, or rather he talked to me and I fumbled out some lame answers. The Chucky Cheese characters came out and sang us a song (which I can still sing almost word for world), and I got a yoyo. Luckily that yoyo took the sting out of not being the smile winner. A few years later, when I was older and cooler, *chuckle* my Cub Scout troop went on the show. I proudly wore my scout uniform, but alas, it didn’t help me become a smile winner for my second appearance, although, the recognition from the other kids at school smoothed things over.

I took away many things from the show, including an appreciation of golden age cartoons, but the big lesson I learned was that TV wasn’t live, i.e. it was recorded. Before I went on The Ramblin’ Rod Show, I could never figure out how all those kids’ parents let them go to the TV station so early in the morning. Being at KPTV in the afternoon and seeing myself on TV the next day opened my eyes to the way the world of TV worked. I also learned that shows were “edited” as we didn’t’ get to watch all the cartoons in the studio like we did at home, though we cheered for all of them to appear after Rod’s famous call.

Coming across some clips on youtube reminded me of many moments long ago and made me realize that The Ramblin’ Rod Show formed a very special part of my childhood.

Update found a site here with a complete show and bloopers!



The Moody Minstrel said...

I'll never forget the time I watched a parade as a youngster and Rod Anders came riding by on a bicycle, waving and flashing that famous smile. Wow...Ramblin' Rod himself in person! It really made my day.

One of the dens from my Cub Scout pack went on the show, but no matter how much we begged our den mother she'd have no part of it. B***h.

Don Snabulus said...

I never got to be on Ramblin' Rod, but that sure brought back a lot of memories.

It also goes to show how centralized our choices of entertainment are now and how devoid they are of local flavor. Even local news people act identically to news people in other parts of the country. Individualism and independent thought have been wiped out if you can't break into the core entertainment groups.

ladybug said...

I know, I was sure jealous you got to go and I *never* did. Although I have to admit I never got as excited about it as you did...but I sure liked the old timey cartoons.

Hey, at least you can still watch Perry Mason at noon EVERYDAY on KPTV 12. Beaniac used to like watching it w/grandma from time to time, and she'll even watch it w/me (if we remember), and she's home on a school day.

Trivia: Perry Mason was a radio show at NOON for years before it came a TV show (same for Stella Dallas). Dad used to listen everyday w/DeeDee (one of our elderly spinster aunts) while his folks were at work.

Pandabonium said...

Aw, those kids are too sweet. That's great.

In LA I used to watch "Sheriff John" and "Engineer Bill" (who lived a couple of blocks from me). A Popeye show, much like Ramblin' Rod was done by Tom Hattan who used to do cartoon sketches. (He latter had a movie career). Snabby's right - we've been robbed of local flavor by nationwide TV shows. (Like everything else - hotels, restaurants, etc.)

Thanks for the nostalgia attack. :D

Overdroid said...

6 of one, half a dozen of the other. As the media becomes a monolith, so too does it fragment into pieces. The era of personal television is upon us. If you want local flavor, check out YouTube!

I believe my brother (Wormer) and me were on the show for his birthday too. Although I might have been too young to remember.

Arkonbey said...

That's a great remeniscence, thanks for sharing. Being in New England, all we ever got was the Boston franchise of Bozo the Clown.

Locally, however, we did have Captain Bob. A crusty old sea captain that would teach us how to draw.

We also got a late-night weekend guy on WSBK who would show fantastic films like "Invaders From Mars". He'd also perform bumper skits like a re-enactment of the blob staring a furnace grate and grape jelly and a 'fast food war' with tanks made out of straws and styrofoam hamburger containers (remember those?).

Swinebread said...

moody – you got screwed… sorry.

snab – it’s weird how it just floods back. I never thought I’d miss the low budget cheesiness but I do. The reporters now seem like they could broadcasting from anywhere, they don’t feel like Portlanders. Especially those FOX 12 guys

LB – I never knew you cared one wit for Ramblin’ Rod… Hmmm.

Perry Mason the last vestige of the old KPTV.

panda – I get the distinct feeling that you lived nearby just about everybody ;) I totally agree. we’ve lost something with this entire media consolidation thing. We’ve still got some independent comic books outlets here in Portland though. Found a Tom Hattan interview here:

Also I think I found a clip of the Popeye Show here:

OD – sounds like a techie who lives in a big entertainment capital to me… ;) While it is true that media is fragmenting, particularly music, It’s interesting to note that the demise of Rod’s show was accelerated by media groups buying up cartoons so that they could be run exclusively on their cable stations (TNT for one big example). Rod’s show had to be cut down from one hour to ½ an hour because there was no available content to air, and then shifted to a weekend only program. So now you have to pay for Bugs and Daffy rather than getting them for free.
wormer needs to step up and fill in the memory gaps.

arkonbey – Interesting, I think I would have really liked his show. I found a clip of Captain Bob Cottle, but it’s only an interview.

Overdroid said...

Maybe. But the revolution is coming - because I'm a techie living in a big entertainment capitol I happen to know that the big boys are getting nervous. Advertising revenue for television is going elsewhere and everything is changing. Think about what MP3s did to the music industry - that's already happening to television. But the cat's already out of the bag.

I have no doubt that consolidation killed the Rod, but that was then and this is now. Bring on one million channels! Viva la revolucion!

Dean Wormer said...

I'm still pissed that I lost the smile contest.

NOBODY loses the smile contest.

Isis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pandabonium said...

Swinebread - oops. let me dash into a phone booth and turn back into Pandabonium. :p

I did grow up in an area that was home to a lot of TV personalities as well as others in the TV and film industries.

Back then they weren't super star millionaires, but just regular middle class folks. OK, upper middle class folks.

The town is Tarzana - so named because Edgar Rice Boroughs had a ranch there where he wrote the Tarzan stories.

Swinebread said...

OD - I guess they're getting their comeupance

dean - bitter isn't it?

panda - Tarzana... now it all makes sense. That must have been very interesting at times, especially since you got to interact with then as regular folks.

Heidi Meeley said...

Wow.... I am having a serious flashback. I was on the Ramblin' Rod show too! Once with my girl scout troup and once with my grade school class. OMG that takes me back. I loved that show! I am jealous that you were on for your birthday though. That was the coolest!

I have to go sit down now and reflect on just how damn old I am.

On second thought, were you really old enough to be on that show? You look WAY too young for that!

Swinebread said...

Gee thanks, Yes, I was on Ramblin Rod so long ago...

Sorry I didn't get to this message sooner.