Archive for May 2013

Kid’s TV Hosts from the 50’s and 60’s.   8 comments

TV SetToday I just wanted to remember the forgotten hosts of the shows we all watched as kids.
I guess I should start with “Hey kids, what time is it?” When we hear that we all know the answer, “Its Howdy Doody time.” Buffalo Bob Smith and Clarabell along with a Howdy, other puppets and the kids in the Peanut Gallery would invite us all to spend some time in Doodyville. Captain Kangaroo had Mr. Green Jeans and his own puppets. His show lasted almost forty years. He entertained some kids whose parents and grandparents had watched him as children. Let’s not forget “The Mickey Mouse Club” the host was Jimmy Dodd a very talented and under rated man but we all really watched it because everyone had a crush on Annette.
They were great, but right now I want to talk about the smaller shows. The hosts that don’t come right to mind but will I hope be remembered with a smile. Remember “Andy’s Gang” with Andy Devine and Froggy. “Plunk your magic twanger, Froggy” was funny to us as little kids and became even funnier as teenagers. Let’s not forget Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop. She was spun off from Captain Kangaroo and found her own place with us.
We also had the uniformed hosts. There was Claude Kirschner and Clowny. Claude was the ringmaster of Terry-toon circus in New York for ten years. Claude was always hampered by bean counting TV execs and low budgets but he made his shows entertaining and informative for kids despite them.
We had the “Merry Mailman” Ray Heatherton. Ray had been an accomplished Broadway actor serving with the Marines in WWII. When he returned he began hosting early television talk shows. This only lasted until his last TV show ended in 1988.
Officer Joe Bolton’s time in broadcasting went from 1927 until 1975. His beat on the kid’s shows started with the Little Rascals. When the station lost those rights he hosted the Three Stooges. He seemed to really care about the kids who watched his show.
Cap’n Jack McCarthy not only hosted Popeye cartoons he became New York institution hosting the St. Patrick’s Day Parade for 42 years.
I can’t end this without mentioning Wonderama with Sandy Becker and then Sonny Fox. Funny men no matter what you age. I think most kids in New York appeared on the show at one time or another.
Anyway that’s all I have to say today. This was a different blog but I just wanted to mention these hosts that helped shape a generation of New York kids. They are gone now but will not truly be forgotten as long as we are around.

Charley   12 comments

83 pct          I am just back from several vacations and will attempt to catch up on my blog writing. This is just a little story about a someone most people see as just a pitiful drunk not a real person. I hope it touches someone. Let me know what you think.

           Our first call was for a possible dead body in the snow. Mr. Anonymous didn’t bother to check but at least he made the call. So we headed over. Sure enough we got to the scene and saw a leg sticking out of a snow drift. We dug him out, it was old Charley. Old Charley was only in his twenties but he had been drinking heavily since he was ten. He was twenty-seven going on seventy-two.

Charley was a white male, he looked and sounded a  bit like Crazy Guggenheim. Crazy was a character on the old Jackie Gleason show. He was a drunk and an idiot but a very good singer. That pretty much was Charley except Charley couldn’t sing. We checked and thought we could feel a pulse, but he was unconscious and very cold. Rather than wait for an ambulance we just tossed him into the car and headed up to the hospital, lights and sirens.

We got to the hospital and put Charley on a stretcher, we had trouble straightening him out. We thought he might be frozen. The E.R. Doc came over and checked him. He was alive but the Doc. didn’t think he was going to make it.

Later that day as we were heading to the Station House to sign out.  We passed by a drunk stumbling down the street. Sure as hell it was Charley. That son of a bitch. We kept picking his ass up sure that he was dying but he always fooled us. When we dropped him off at the E.R. everyone thought that Charley was on the way out and now here he is two hours later on the street.

We stopped and asked Charley what happened.

“I woked up and I was in a hospital. They told me they thought I was dead. I said I don’t thinks so. They said I had to stay. I said I would if they’d gets me a beer. They said that would be bad for me. I told them no, it would be good for me and fuck you, I was goin home and I yam.”

“Are you okay Charlie?”

“Yeah, I feels okay, but I’m going to my mother’s because I don’t like the snow. It’s cold.”

We watched him go and I told Harry “The only thing that will kill Charley is when his liver explodes.

A few months later just before midnight we got a call for a 10-31 Burglary in progress on Wyckoff Avenue. We found it was only Charley. He was sleeping in a hallway again. This time he wasn’t alone.

We woke him up he said, “Hi fellas, we falled asleep.”

I said, “I know Charley but you can’t sleep here. The people are complaining.”

“Okay fellas we’ll go but I don’t hurt nobody.”

“I know you wouldn’t hurt anyone Charley. You’re not a bad guy.”

“Not me.”

Charlie smiled and pulled a dirty blanket off his companion. He woke up possibly the ugliest woman I have ever seen. She was filthy, covered with sores and scabs. She had dirty, stringy matted brown hair. Her complexion and the whites of her eyes were yellow. Then she smiled. She had four teeth and each was a different color. She smelled not quite as good as she looked.

“Cmon Ruby, we gots to go.”

Charley helped her to her feet. I could tell, in his eyes she was as beautiful as Farrah Fawcett. She looked at him like he was Robert Redford. They left walking down the street arm in arm, like young lovers.

I guess there is someone for everyone. Charley seemed happier than I had ever seen him. I was glad for him. We gave the disposition back. No burglary, 10-91 Condition Corrected and headed to the house to go home.

The next time we saw them we were stopped on the corner of Wyckoff and Gates. When Charley saw us he waved. I waved back. Charley came over to the car.

“Hi Charley, How’s it going?”

“Hi fellas, I don’t drink whicky no more, I only drink beer and wine now.”

“Why’s that Charley?”

“Whicky make you toopid. Beer and wine they don’t do dat.”

“Well, we wouldn’t want that now. How’s things with Ruby?”

“We gonna get married.”

“Hey, Congratulations Charley. I’m glad to see you happy.”

“Thanks fellas, I gotta go. I catch up to her before some other guy tries to steal her.”

“Bye Charley, Keep away from the Whicky.”

A month later we were in the diner on Myrtle and Wyckoff ordering our coffee when Charley and Ruby came in. Charley ran over to us.

“Hi fellas, me and Ruby are gonna split a container of coffee.”

“How come only one container Charley?”

“We only gots a dolla and we gotta leave a tip.”

“Well Charley today is your lucky day, they are having a sale. You can have coffee and two donuts each for the price of one coffee.”

“Wow, thanks for tellin me.”

Charley ordered the coffee and donuts for Ruby and himself and they sat in a booth. I called Claire the waitress over.

“Here’s the money for Charley’s order. Don’t tell him we paid. Let him think it was a sale. Tell him he just made it. That his order was the last one before the sale ended.”

We watched as she told him, he and Ruby were laughing and hugging each other over how lucky they were.

When we got out to the car I asked Harry, “Does Ruby look even worse than usual. Her eyes and skin are really yellow and her stomach is so swollen she almost looks pregnant.”

“Yeah I saw it too. I hope for Charley’s sake she’s okay. They are both pitiful losers but they are happy together.”

Charley really was a nice guy and we all liked him. The drink and whatever else he had done had just messed up his mind. His mother had one shown me high school pictures of him, he looked like a normal happy teenager. It’s was shame what had happened to him.

The next month we got another call for two people sleeping in a hallway. It was on Wyckoff Avenue and Linden Street We headed over, it was probably Charley and Ruby again. We would have to wake them up and send them on their way again out into the cold. I don’t know why they were always sleeping in hallways. Charley’s mother would let them stay at her house.

We opened the front door and there they were. Charley and Ruby curled up together wrapped in quilts.

I woke him and said, “Come on Charley you know you can’t sleep here. Get Ruby up and move along.”

“Okay fellas, Ruby ged up, we gots to go.”

He shook Ruby but she didn’t wake up. I leaned over and went to shake her. Then  I saw her face.

“Oh shit. Harry call the Patrol Sergeant and a bus, Ruby’s dead.”

Charley said, “She’s not dead she’s my girlfriend. Wake up Ruby.”

I got Charley out of the hallway and had a sector car run take him to the station house to wait for us. The Sergeant and the squad showed up. Det. Glen Prince caught the case. Glen asked where the guy who was with her is.

I told him “He is waiting for you at the station house.” I explained Charley was harmless and that I think the ME would be calling it natural because Ruby was an alcoholic and looked like she had advanced cirrhosis last time I saw her. He said he would talk to Charley at the station house and for us to let him know when the ME made a decision.

We got lucky, the night was pretty quiet and since it was in a public area the ME was there in about twenty minutes. He had been on a DOA in the Eight-One so he was close when he got the call. I gave him what information we had including a doctor’s name and number that she had in her pocket. The woman who called it in was standing by her door watching and the ME asked if he could use her phone. He said he was going to call her doctor.

I said, “At four in the morning? He is not going to be a happy camper.”

The ME smiled, “Fuck em, He gets paid five times what I make. If I have to be up with his patient he should be too.”

After about ten minutes he came out and said, “I’ll have the bus come and take her away. You were right he was not a happy camper. Her cirrhosis was terminal, he was surprised she lasted this long. I am calling it natural causes. She will be taken to Kings County  Morgue and the squad there will attempt to notify her next of kin.”

He signed our books and left. The bus took her away and we headed for the station house.

Up in the squad room we met Glen and explained what happened.

He said,  “Good enough. Charley, you can go. Sorry for your loss.”

We walked Charley down stairs. He was confused

“Is Ruby outside?”

“No, Charley Ruby died. She’s gone.”

“But she can’t be dead she’s my onlyest girlfriend I ever had.”

“I’m really sorry Charley, but she did die. Charley, do you want a lift to your mother’s house?”

“No, I’ll walk.”

I watched Charley as he walked away, I could hear him sobbing. At that moment he seemed like the loneliest person in the world. Poor Charley, for the first time in his life he had

felt loved by someone other than his mother and now she was gone. I came close to crying with him.

Posted May 14, 2013 by kevingcox in Random Thoughts

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