Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Missing My Chance at Fame

Do you remember those kiddy programs that would be broadcast from the local TV station every weekday afternoon when you were growing up? They were usually hosted by a local personality that kids adored, such as a clown, a Mister Rogers type, or in my case, a captain of a ship.

Captain Gus came on every afternoon at 4:00 pm and was broadcast from KENS-TV Channel 5 out of San Antonio. He had bright red hair, red mustache, would sit on this ship in the studio and begin the program with, “Ahoy there, little mateys!” Cartoons like Popeye and Bugs Bunny would be interspersed with Captain Gus entertaining us “little mateys” throughout the hour.

Of course, my younger brother and I loved to watch Captain Gus. It was like kiddie crack.

Next to Captain Gus’s ship  would be a dozen or so little kids sitting on bales of hay throughout the program. At one part, he would announce that we were going to “meet the mateys” and he would come around to each kid, one by one. Each “matey” would get to say their name, where they were from, and Captain Gus would usually ask them an interactive question or two.

At the end of each program, the good captain would let us know how we could be a matey on his show.

Oh my gosh, I wanted to be a matey! The kids looked like they were having such a good time and I wanted to be one of them. More than anything in the whole wide world, I wanted to be a matey on The Captain Gus Show.

After begging and pleading, my mom or my dad did manage to get me a “matey reservation” on the program. I was SO excited. I was five or six years old and I think my younger brother was too little to be a matey.

So, we drove the 70 miles to San Antonio and my dad took me inside the TV station. I was going to be a matey!

I remember it like it was yesterday. We walked into the studio and there was Captain Gus’s ship, the bales of hay where the matey’s sat, the bright lights, the TV cameras. . . .

. . . . And I totally freaked. I just lost it.

I wouldn’t let go of my dad’s hand. Tears and wailing ensued. I just couldn’t go through with it. It was all too much.

Maybe it never occurred to me that my dad would be in another room and I’d be alone with the mateys. Maybe I was afraid my dad wouldn’t be able to find me afterward and I’d be cast adrift on Captain Gus’s ship forever. Maybe the bright lights and big studio frightened me. Maybe I was shy and didn’t know any of these other kids. But whatever it was, there was no way I was letting go of my dad’s hand and sit on those bales of hay.

Anyway, I missed my big chance to be on TV. Afterward, I’d watch Captain Gus and his mateys with a pang of regret.

These were much braver kids than I.

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At 12:00 AM , Blogger Fleeter said...

I remember! I never had the desire to be a Matey, but I watched Captian Gus every afternoon. What makes you think of this stuff and then actually go find it? Amazing . . .

At 2:28 AM , Blogger Speck said...

Oh, Oh, Oh! Bozo the Clown Show, Channel 7, KATV out of Little Rock, Ark. He would interview the kids on the show sitting on a circus ring thing in front of the circus wagons (Gus' bales of hay).

You had to be at least six years old to be on the show, and mommas were booking their new babies the week they came home from the hospital. The backlog was that bad.

Bozo would have Girl Scout troops on as a group and I got to be on the show with my Brownie troop. We sat on the circus ring thing, about 9" high, and waved to the cameras when we were introduced. We were all wearing our little Brownie Scout uniform dresses, and all our little white panties showed.

You know the cameraman was smirking.

At 11:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ours was the Calamity Kate show. I had no desire to meet her, and probably would have cried if I did.

I did believe that Sesame Street was a real place, and I wanted to go there.

At 3:57 PM , Blogger Lorraine said...

We had 2 shows like that: Addy Bobkins and Heck Harper. We were on both shows. It was fantastic!

At 11:33 PM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

I LOVE that story, Dooder. :)


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