Remember when TV stations had local programing? You do? Then you must be as old as Perry Block. For those under forty, let me explain. Back in the golden era of television, stations would do anything to gain viewers and improve ratings. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this was by bringing local children into the studio for fifteen seconds of fame.
Every station in our viewing area (all three of them) had a “Santa Show” where the kids would sit on Santa’s lap and stare dumbfounded at the camera while Santa attempted to gain their attention long enough to learn who they were and what they wanted for Christmas. (A ridiculous premise since he’s already supposed to know those things.)
My favorite local show was Uncle Zeb’s Cartoon Camp. It came out of channel 8 in Tulsa. Uncle Zeb dressed like an old prospector and was forever popping adult oriented one-liners. If the temperature was below freezing, like it is here today, Zeb would proclaim, “Hey, kids, it’s Brass Billy Goat weather out there.”
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“Hey, Randy, why do you think they boarded up the windows like that and spray-painted ‘No Trespassing’ on the building?”
“To attract attention. It’s a new marketing ploy.”
“That doesn’t make much sense.”
“Sure it does. Anytime you tell people NOT to do something, they can’t help but do it. For example, hang a ‘Wet Paint’ sign on a park bench and see how many people touch it to see if it’s wet.”
“Ah, that explains the gaps between the plywood.”
“Exactly, they’ll line up in droves to peek through those cracks.”
“But isn’t that the home of a supermarket gossip rag?”
“Yep, The National Inquirer.”