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No question I was an early peanut in the gallery, going down to the Blumins to watch their amazing 10" screen, until my father, whose nickname in the family was "Kit" because he'd build anything from a tv to a boat from a kit, bought a TransVision kit (that Bill Smith and I helped schlep from New Yawk City over da ferry to FawCawnahs where dad built the damn thing one winter in the basement with the help of Mr. Abbott next door, in 1951. Abbott was a radio-tv repair guy who'd learned his craft in the Army during the waw. You hadda string wires thru insulation called "spaghetti." Spaghetti in my family thus always had two meanings, the kind you ate, and the kind you made into tv sets. After the masterpiece was built you had to put it someplace. Having just finished the basement with salvaged knotty pine castoffs from U.S. Gypsum at the dump near Howland Hook, dad built a shelf behind the wall closing off the oil burner (an upgrade from the old coal furnace) and extended the knobs thru the wall. So we had a tv mounted in the wall. Class man. At any rate, I helped build it by staying out of the way and making myself scarce. Building and watching tv are two way-different activities and my talent was the latta. The first thing we got on the tube was da rolla' derby, wid dese big women knocking each other all over the rink. Looked great to me. Was always wary of big women after that. Learn something every day.

After that it was Clarabell and Howdy, until Captain Video came on alongside, at least I think it was alongside, and caused all the fights with my younger, smaller, weaker, sisters over who gets to watch what. No need to say who won until I was run off by homecoming Dad in the interests of avoiding Balkan-like hostilities. Maybe it was Kukla, Fran, and Ollie that caused the trouble. The program I liked was Mr. I-Magination, and some of those smart kid Quiz-Whiz shows that someone got Davey Blumin on but that I never had a shot at; never forgave him that one for increasing the size of his head superfluously.

Yeah, Buffalo Bob is rounding up them peanuts in the great prairie above. Way to go, Bob. What time is it, kids?

-rs



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