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Patty Loves Nathan's

 

By Ed Stout

 

This is not really about Fairview, or Dayton, for that matter. Instead, it's about a few of the, often silly, TV shows that I watched while growing up. Rest assured that I won't discuss all the silly shows I watched. Such an endeavor would take on a War and Peace-like length.

Our generation is known to be the first television generation, but to some extent, I'm the exception. I was born in rural Virginia and we didn't have a television in our home until we moved to Ohio in October of 1955. I'd seen TV of course. Both of my older sisters had families of their own and they had televisions. When I visited my oldest sister in Dayton, I saw such wonders as Tick Tock Toy Shop and Winky Dink. In Virginia, I would go to my other sister's house after school. She put towels on my niece and me as we watched Superman. When the show was over, we'd jump off the porch.

I somehow managed to survive the first seven years of my life without a television set in our living room. When we moved to Ohio, I was in the third grade. I can still remember when that black metal RCA was carried into our house. In no time, I was addicted to shows like The Mickey Mouse Club and The Little Rascals.

The Mickey Mouse Club came on every day at 5 p.m. I got to know the Mousketeers, especially the girls. Most boys my age were smitten with Annette. But for my taste, cute little Karen was the one. Man, that Cubby (Karen's "boyfriend") was a lucky kid. All the Mousketeers could sing and dance but some, like that lucky Cubby, who played the drums, had special talents. Jimmy Dodd provided the adult supervision and each day they would have a different serial for us kids: Spin and Marty, The Hardy Boys and the like. Every once in a while, Uncle Walt himself would appear on the show. It was great fun.

'No sooner than The Mickey Mouse Club went off, and Uncle Orey would tell us that "It's six o'clock and time for The Little Rascals!" Each day we were treated to an episode or two of the classic Little Rascal/Our Gang films. In addition, we were privy to lots of live studio fun, courtesy of Uncle Orey himself, Ferdie Fussbudget and our favorite, Nosey the Clown. Sadly, it is my duty to report that Jack Jacobson, who played Nosey the Clown, passed away this past March at his home in Tucson, Arizona. Nosey was 88 years old. In his memory I'll say that Nosey was a great clown. In my opinion, he was better than Bozo and ranked right up there with Clarabell. If Kramer had ever seen Nosey, he would have been terrified.

As I moved on into my upper grade school years, TV westerns were all the rage. It seems like there were hundreds of those shows. Many of them were from Warner Brothers Studio and I called them soundstage westerns in that there were very few scenes shot outdoors. Some of these were Sugarfoot, Bronco Lane, Cheyenne and Maverick. I knew the theme songs to all these silly shows.

One of my favorite westerns was Have Gun Will Travel. It was in essence a show about a mercenary named Paladin. If someone paid him, Paladin would ride great distances to shoot someone. Paladin had a business card which had a knight from a chess set on it and it read, "Have gun, will travel" and beneath that, it said, "Wire Paladin, San Francisco." So I always assumed, "Wire" was Paladin�s first name. It was a funny first name but there are a lot of funny first names � Norman, for example.

In my 10th grade year, I learned that I had been mistaken. One day in his World History class, Mr. Caterlin was talking about television and asked, "Does anyone know Paladin's first name?" I started to raise my hand but before I did, Mr. Caterlin said, "Some (stupid) people think that his name is "Wire." Everyone in the class laughed. From that I learned that Paladin apparently did not have a first name. Also, I learned that if anyone needed to contact Paladin, they should send a telegram to him in San Francisco.

I can't say that Fairview High School was able to broaden my horizons or improve my taste of television programs. I, like millions of Americans, watched the show that gave the "idiot box" its name, The Beverly Hillbillies." I can't say why I was so enthralled by the show. Perhaps it was the fact that Jed Clampett always outwitted the city slickers. More likely, however, it was my fascination with Jethro Bodine. During some of the episodes Jethro would mention some of his future career choices. At one time or another, Jethro wanted to be a "double-ought" spy, streetcar conductor, fry cook or an international playboy. It seemed to me that all of these were well thought out and viable vocational options.

Finally, in high school, I'll confess that I watched The Patty Duke Show. I have no good excuse for this behavior. Perhaps it was one of the few youth oriented shows on TV. Or maybe it was because it aired on Sunday night and it was a way of dealing with the slight but real depression inherent in the fact that I had to return to school the following morning. For whatever reason, I watched it. It wasn't something I ever told anyone. Confessing to my friends that I watched The Patty Duke Show would be like a red blooded adult American male saying that he enjoyed reading Jane Austen novels.

Patty Duke, who had won an Oscar for her portrayal of young Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, played a double role in her television show. It was an improbable situation comedy about identical cousins. One of the cousins (Patty) was a girl next door type and the other (Cathy) was a fancy girl who liked opera and such. The theme song to The Patty Duke Show went like this:

 

Meet Cathy, who's lived most everywhere,
From Zanzibar to Barclay Square.
But Patty's only seen the sights
A girl can see from Brooklyn Heights - What a crazy pair!

But they're cousins,
Identical cousins all the way.
One pair of matching bookends,
Different as night and day.

Where Cathy adores a minuet,
The Ballet Russes, and crepe suzette,
Our Patty loves to rock and roll,
A hot dog makes her lose control - What a wild duet!

Still, they're cousins,
Identical cousins and you'll find,
They laugh alike, they walk alike,
At times they even talk alike -
You can lose your mind,
When cousins are two of a kind.



So every Sunday night, I was watching a show about a girl who lost control over a hot dog. Where were these girls? I don�t think any coed at FHS would lose control over a hot dog. Still, I watched just as faithfully as I'd watched Jed, Sugarfoot, Butch, Alfalfa, Nosey, Cubby or Karen.

Ed Stout, a/k/a Mr. Darcy, or, according to some, a/k/a Mr. Collins