By Terry Franklin Phillips Sr.
Brazil, Indiana, e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, August 10, 2015
There are some things I just don't want to know
It's amazing to search the Internet for one thing and then learn other things, things you really didn't care to know .
Linda is at Amanda's this week. On Saturday, Joey Robert Kinzel was born, making us grandparents for the seventh time, counting Terry's two children. So, last Saturday, while the dog and cat and I were home alone I decided to look up toys I loved when I was a kid. I was looking for a set of Doodyville buildings from the "Howdy Doody" TV show.
I remember the buildings were printed in full color on the back of a cereal box. You cut out the pieces and put the tabs and slots together.
I remember a lot of scotch tape was needed before I was finished with the one building in my possession. Cardboard tabs and slots just didn't work as well one hoped. You had to buy several boxes of cereal to get the whole town.
The general store I put together was neat because when you looked in the building's windows you could see all sorts of things one might find in a general store in the TV wild west of the 1950s — barrels, shelves with cans and sacks, an old fashioned cash register, just to name a few.
It wasn't hard to imagine Howdy and Buffalo Bob shopping there.
So, I wondered if any of those cutout buildings still exist and I decided to do a search for them on Google.
I didn't find what I was looking for but I ran across a Chicago Tribune column by Bob Greene titled, "A Belated Reprieve From Buffalo Bob."
In the column published on Feb. 26, 1989, Greene told about an earlier column he wrote about a book that bashed the "Howdy Doody" show cast.
Doing a little more research, I learned the book had been written by a man who was a child when his father was a writer on the show. The writer accused members of the cast of doing some things one would not expect of the cast of one of the most popular NBC-TV children's shows.
Greene based his column on that book and said he intended the column to be humorous.
Flash forward several years.
In 1989 Greene was invited to be a guest on a late-night radio talk show. The guest to follow him was none other than Buffalo Bob Smith, the adult host of the "Howdy Doody Show" and the voice of Howdy himself.
Greene dreaded the idea of running into Buffalo Bob because of the things he wrote in his column about the book.
Greene had learned second hand that Smith was outraged by Greene's column and felt that by writing about the book, Greene was doing further damage to his reputation and that of everyone on the show.
"A wave of fear and nausea washed over me," Greene wrote. "My first thought was that he was going to ground me. I'm serious. I was absolutely convinced that Buffalo Bob was going to demand my car keys and tell me that I was not allowed to drive for a week."
You have to understand that in those days when TV was a babysitter for so many of us, Buffalo Bob was a hero and many of us thought of him like we would our own dad or a beloved uncle.
Buffalo Bob hadn't arrived at the studio when Greene went on the air but when his interview was over, Greene walked out of the studio and met the idol of millions of kids in the 1950s.
Buffalo Bob Smith wasn't dressed in TV Western attire as Buffalo Bob but was wearing a business suit.
Buffalo Bob pointed a finger at Greene and yelled, "You!"
Greene tried to explain he had written his column as a humor piece. Then this exchange took place:
"It wasn't funny," Smith said. "The guy who wrote the book didn't know what he was talking about. You could have called me."
"I'm sorry," I squeaked. "Please don't ground me."
The next thing that happened was unbelievable, but Greene swore it happened.
"And that's when Buffalo Bob laughed and kissed me on the cheek."
Now, I could have lived the next 50 years without learning about that tell-all book about the cast of "Howdy Doody" though it was neat to know that Bob Smith was forgiving and kind, just like the guy he played on TV.
Bob Smith hasn't been the only victim. Time and again books have been published that "reveal" things we don't want to know about our favorites.
Such a book was written about Bing Crosby that accused him of being a bad parent.
I didn't need to know that Roy Rogers' real name was Leonard Slye or the Duke's real name was Marion Morrison.
The list goes on and on. There are certain things I don't need to see or know.
It's like the current debate over gay marriage. I don't want to see someone sitting on a toilet and I don't want to see same sex couples kissing or holding hands. I don't need to see pain reliever commercials that picture a little girl being adopted by "your new mommies."
It may all happen but I don't want to know about it.
Live in a fantasy world? Maybe. But that's better than to know about things I find disgusting in the "real" world.