1950s Children's TV Shows. Baby Boomers Beware..!
Thursday/August/13 2009 Filed in: Entertainment / Media
Yoo Hoo, It's Me... My Name is Pinky Lee... Somebody Help Me!
September 20, 1955 -- A Generational Apocalyptic Moment.
That was the day Baby Boomers learned that sometimes bad things happen to good people.
Pinky Lee -- the frenetic, atomic-powered host of a popular children's show -- had a heart attack and died an agonizing death on live television.
Not So, Actually.
Okay, he didn't really have a heart attack and he didn't actually die that day. He did, however, have a bad reaction to nasal drip medication and he collapsed on camera. For millions of kids watching, it was easy to think the worst.
"Somebody Help Me..!"
During a live commercial, he said "Grow up to be big and strong like me" or words to that effect, then jumped to click his heels. He landed badly, staggered and cried out, "Somebody help me..."
The screen went dark and that was the end of Pinky Lee. Not the man but the brand.
After a long convalescence, his comeback was thwarted by the fresh success of the Mickey Mouse Club, the new afternoon go-to show for kids.
End of Innocence - More Bad News for Mid-Century Children
A few years later, Superman's George Reeves would prove to be not so invulnerable, after all. And only a few years after that, a young president would never return from a trip to Dallas. Pinky Lee was an early lesson to Baby Boomers that even the mighty can fall.
Plunk Your Magic Twanger, Froggy
TV Exposes Young Baby Boomers to Grim, Haunting Images of Hell.
Andy's Gang, an early 1950's kid's show, may have been a horrific glimpse through the dark portals of the very depths of Hell itself.
The star of the show was a demonic hand-puppet named Froggy the Gremlin, conjured up by host, Andy Devine, with the strangely suggestive chant, "Plunk your magic twanger, Froggy"
Revenge of the Jedi
Froggy, frozen-featured and lurching, exhibited the Jedi-Master ability to force his victims to do things (embarrassing things, humiliating things, awful things) against their will. His raspy, gutteral voice, repeating the phrase "you will, you will," was the stuff of nightmares.
Echoes of Timothy Leary: Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out...
Some journalists have even suggested that Froggy's exhortations planted seeds of rebellion into the adolescent collective consciousness of a Baby Boomer generation that would later turn-on to drugs, tune-in to counter-culture and drop-out of society.
That may be a stretch but there is something evil and twisted here. And that children-of-the-corn audience and their cacophonous clammer is truly blood curdling, isn't it?
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