Monday, April 27, 2009

I ♥ TV Land

My cutesy wutesy sweet baby cakes cockatiel, Darwin, is learning to whistle the theme song from the Andy Griffith Show and I must tell you, I'm much more thrilled than is proper. I find myself telling relative strangers about this astounding aviary feat with an excited voice and possibly a bit of giddy hopping around.

Since realizing that it is actually the tune he's whistling, I've been madly encouraging it by playing the song over and over on the computer. I can tell he really gets a kick out of it. He does. He's also figured out that if I'm out of the room and he starts whistling it, that I'll come blazing down the stairs to stand in front of him and "ooh" and "ahhh" and tell him what a pretty bird he is and what a good sweet boy his mommy thinks her Little Chicken is.

Have I ever told you that I sometimes channel Barney Fife? Mr. Right fancies bringing it to my attention when I do, although it's something seemingly out of my control. Barney was always my favorite even though I wished Andy could be my dad and that Opie could be my cute little red-headed brother. Andy took life a little too seriously, but Barney...he was always up for a good time.

I have have only had two celebrity sightings that I can recall. One of which was in a fancy schmancy restaurant in Dallas where I was standing with Mr. Right while waiting to be seated. I sensed someone standing next to me, but paid no mind until Mr. Right ventriloquized through his teeth and said, "Yook to yur yeft." I gave him my best furrowed brow look that said, "Are you completely senile?" Now that he had my attention, he gave me the international symbol for "look behind you" which is basically a crazy eyed, crooked mouthed head jerk upwards. Ever so subtly, I turned and encountered a pair of legs in pin striped pants. As my eyes traveled about four more feet upwards, they landed upon the face of Steve Harvey. That's it. Then he was whisked off to a private room, never to be seen by me again.

My other encounter was my favorite for a couple of reasons. The first being that this was a guy I really liked and the second being that I actually had a verbal exchange with him.

It went down in 1987 at the Collinsville Hilton Inn just across the river from the St. Louis airport. I was working as a front desk clerk and growing weary of my sassy little bow tie and starched skirt at the end of my shift. I was getting ready to run my nightly reports when I heard a man say, very shyly and subdued, "Excuse me." I looked up with my permanent Hilton Happy Face and looked dead straight into the eyes of Gilligan. That's right. Bob Denver. (No...not John Denver...Bob Denver. John Denver had a bowl haircut, glasses and sang Rocky Mountain High. Bob Denver slept in the top bunk above the Skipper and ruined every plan ever concocted by the Professor to get off the island.)

I looked at Mr. Denver and gracefully blurted out, "Oh my god!! You're Gilligan!" What could have got me a scowl and a poke in the eye, actually resulted in my getting a huge smile and a very polite, "Yes! Thank you. Most people don't recognize me these days." He was kind enough to give me his autograph (actually he just signed his check in sheet) which I saved, and then regrettably lost during the transient and gypsy like fourteen year phase called my first marriage.

When my oldest two children were young and we would take car trips, they would as children often do, become restless and beast like. At these moments, I would say, "Would you like me to tell you a story?" And no matter what their response, I would tell them a story. In my best Mystery Theatre voice I would begin. "Just sit right back and you'll hear the tale...the tale of a fateful trip, that started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship...."

Then, when in protest they would shout, "That's not a story, tell us a real story" I would say, "Okay, okay. Sit back and relax because this one is just going to kill you." I would then use my best Story Lady at the Library voice and begin. "Listen to a story 'bout a man named Jed. A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed. Then, one day...he was shootin' at some food and up from the ground came a bubblin' crude. Oil that is. Black gold. Texas tea...."

I loved the Beverly Hillbillies because Granny reminded me of my own Granny Hazel. She was full of spit and vinegar and was like a tiny stick of dynamite. I also loved that the Clampetts were completely without knowledge of anything modern day or contemporary and thought that the pockets on the pool table were places to put their silverware and napkins. To this day, I still occasionally refer to doing math as "cypherin" and refer to my over sized cereal bowls as, "Jethro Bodine" sized.

All of my television watching experiences were in black and white. The aforementioned programs all began in black and white, but even after they were filmed in technicolor, I saw them in black and white. Sentimental philosophising, you say? No. My parents never once owned a color t.v. until I moved out of the house when I was seventeen. I moved out of the house in 1986. (Or more accurately, the household moved away from me, but that's an entirely different story.)

Television lost it's allure for me for many years after finding out that all of the shows were in color but I was still seeing them in black and white. It became my preference to spend my time outdoors where the real technicolor was or in the house behind a chair playing telephone operator with my sister, Inga, using the Sears catalog as the phone book. I was so out of touch with TV Land in fact, that when I moved for the first time from the country and in to town when I was eleven or so, I almost gave my middle school Speech and Drama teacher a heart attack.

Mrs. Bondurant was her name and she'd developed this evil plot to destroy me. Quite hateful of her I must say, because this was literally my first day of class in this new school and here she was trying to do me in.

The exercise involved the class breaking into four or five groups and picking a piece of paper out of a hat. Each paper had the name of a television program on it and each group was to concoct a little skit and act it out as the characters from that program would.

My group chose first and I stared in horror at the paper. I was utterly clueless as to what the program was. I quietly said, " mom doesn't let me watch that show." My fellow classmates looked at me with pity and politely drew another slip. Again...horror. Clueless again. I made up a silly excuse and they now, a bit disgruntled, plucked out another slip. (Well now, what was I to do? Who in the hell were the Munsters and how was I going to pull this one off?)

I'd never seen a single program that was on those slips in the hat. I've since made up for it and live out my viewing life in TV Land primarily in re-runs. I've now seen the Munsters (which I could have lived without) and just about every other show ever made. I'm nocturnal and the people who program t.v. must have discovered that animals such as myself love old re-runs because that's what plays in the late night hours.

There are a few shows that I can say with relative certainty, I've seen every episode. I'm a bonafide connoisseur of M*A*S*H, an avid Cheers fan, a lover of Frasier, a devotee of Will & Grace and the youngest Golden Girl.

To you, Maude...Dorothy...Bea, I thank you for your contribution to TV Land. You brought laughter to millions, including me. I'll never forget that "cuter than" rhymes with "intra uterine" or that cheesecake is the best cure for just about anything. You will be missed.

So, does anyone have the theme song to The Brady Bunch done up all whistley like? I can't go having my Little Chicken being a one trick pony.


lakeviewer said...

Oh, fun. You take me back too. I had no time to watch television; now I watch it while I write, while I vacuum. You name it; it is making up for lost time.

Angie said...

My Dad spotted Don Knotts once in an elevator at DisneyWorld. He was so excited because he loves Andy Griffith. The rest of us responded with, "Yah, whatever, that's nice." I've really watched the show, so I didn't feel the excitement. But if I had met one of the people from Brady Bunch or Dallas, that would have been a different story.

Andrea said...

Oh man, I love TV Land too! Something about those old sitcoms made them so much better than most of what's on TV today. When I'm feeling kind of down and out, I make sure I watch "old" TV so I can drift off to LaLa Land!

Wendy said...

I totally adore reruns, even the Golden Girls.
Eric ALWAYS sees famous people, I swear.
Jeff and Paula had a bird that whistled the Andy Griffith theme, ever and over, ad infinitum.

Good post.

david mcmahon said...

Came here from Lakeviewer. You met Gilligan - how lucky is that!!

Amy said...

Rosaria - Isn't it fun to watch the "oldies?!" I watch while I work as well.

Angie - I'm with your Dad. I would have squealed had I seen Don Knotts! True confession: I've never once seen an episode of Dallas. It's one of those shows I couldn't bear to watch on a 13 inch black & white.

Andrea - It IS comforting isn't it? I find the "old" shows, for the most part, much more fun to watch than all of this "reality" t.v. I live in reality, baby...and that ain't it!

Wendy - Thank you, Lady! I noticed you put a qualifier before The Golden Girls. "Even" The Golden Girls?!

David - Thanks a ton for popping in! I always appreciate looky loos and especially those who share my love of all things Gilligan.

Linda Rae said...

I think this may be more suited to Jeff's blogger name (curmudgeonry) but I have never watched TV Land.
I can't believe they're still showing them. I think I saw all those shows with my children the first time around and then again during reruns. That was enough for me.

Reya Mellicker said...

How cool that you met Bob Denver. Sweet.

You channel Barney Fife? He was so gay. And a man. Are you sure?

Amy said...

Reya - HA!'s true, it's really Barney I'm thinking of. I didn't say it was pretty...just true.

Linda - Nope...old black & white re-runs are right up my alley. Maybe I'm a bit of a curmudgeon?!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Very cool and funny post! I love your blog's look as well! Congrats on POTD!

Amy said...

Sniffles: Thank you so much for dropping by my blog! I always appreciate visitors who take the time to comment. I must confess, though. I'm still a wee bit wet behind the ears with this blogging thing and my tiny little brain has no clue what "POTD" is. But unless it's an insult or some type of viral infection...thank you!

Amy said...

Sniffles: Oh my gosh! I just realized what POTD is and I'm thrilled!! I've just this week been turned on to David's blog so I'm not quite up to speed with all he has going on over there. I just saw his entry for Post of the Day and I was there!! Holy cow!! Thank you for telling me.

Many thanks!!

Cheffie-Mom said...

Hi, I'm over from Authorblog. Congratulations on the Post of the Day Award!

Amy said...

Cheffie: Thanks so much for dropping by and thanks for the kudos! I'm absolutely delighted that David included me in his post today!