Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Long Ago and Far Away

Back when I was still at primary school kid's TV was a lure once the school bell signalled the end of the day. We'd run home to catch an hour of our favourite shows before heading out to play.

An hour.

Not come home, flop in front of the TV, retreat to the bedroom and fire up the X box and stay all night. An hour of kids TV.

There were usually two programmes and that was it, the end of children's telly for the day. Seems incredible now that kids have so much 'choice'. Of course that choice is to sit and watch five hours of Hannah Montanna. Canned laughter is alive and well and plastered all over American teen comedy shows.

For us, an hour was just enough. We'd fill our heads with Robin Hood and William Tell, The Lone Ranger, Timeslip, Just William and Ivanhoe and off we'd go to recreate the moves our heroes had just made - or kick a ball around.

The 'choices' available to kids today aren't choices at all. By giving them what they want, endless episodes of one show, we give them no variety. Some of our shows may have been corny but we had variety; Casey Jones, Circus Boy, The Freewheelers - one about a train engineer, one about a kid in a circus troupe, one that involved lots of speed boat chases and kids searched for Nazis in 1970's England! (Surf Nazis Must Die!)

And then the thing that prompted this blog, a show that suddenly pooped into my head after 40-odd years - Mr Piper.
Suddenly there it was, the opening song from the show and I couldn't get it out of my mind. It was sung by a rotund tenor called Alan Crofoot who was Mr Piper. From what I recall he introduced various segments, 'Down on Animal Farm' and 'Port of Call' I remember. I think there were cartoon in there too.

But how about that. More than 45 years on, not only I am singing the words to the theme tune (in my head) but I can remember bits of the show. I wonder if the kids watching TV now will have the same kind of fond memories of their shows as I do.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Richard. Thank you for your kind words about Mr. Piper.

    My father, Allan Wargon, created it. The latest episode of his blog at allanwargon.blogspot.ca deals with it, as will the next episode. We'd like to link that episode to your blog and quote an excerpt from yours.

    If that's okay with you, please email dad through his blog, by Saturday June 15 if at all possible. That's when I'll be posting it. Thanks,

    Sholom Wargon