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!