Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Ersatz Children's Holidays

Plug in your fogey-scope here's my 'when I was a kid' diatribe.

There are three holidays from my childhood that have disappeared.


The night that the TV channels put on their Saturday morning line-up preview. Friends would come over to watch. It was a big deal. Cartoons were only on Saturday mornings for about 4 hours, and new seasons started every year in September like clockwork. You can understand the obvious reasons this children's holiday is gone.


Similar to the first, the night that "Wizard of Oz" was shown on television. You got to see "Wizard of Oz" once a year, and it was stay home and watch it special. This holiday died with the advent of the betamax.


The day the JC Penney or Sears wish book arrived in the mail. Hours were lost contemplating the treasures located within. I can still smell those books, feel the glossy paper in my fingers and hear the soft crinkly sound of pages turning. Ah, childhood longing. It was all there in those books. The closest we come now are Lillian Vernon catalogs or the Sunday Toys 'R' Us flyer. Lame by comparison.

(We were a Penney's family. My first lesson in diversity was that some families were Sears families. They were different, yes, but we had to accept that. Just like some people chose, inexplicably, to drive Fords.)


dguzman said...

Oh, Jess--I remember each of these "holidays" well. I'd love to compare lists of our favorite cartoons sometime--we'll have to get a meme going on that.

At the risk of alienating you, we were a Sears family. BUT we drove Chevys and Buicks! Does that help?

Dr. Zaius said...

The VCR also killed the Friday night "Rocky Horror Picture Show" exodus.

Jess Wundrun said...

Not alienated at all, dguzman. My favorite set of cousins were both Sears and Ford people. To this day the Ford/Chevy battle wages.

FranIAm said...

Wow, what a post!

Yes- the new cartoon season. Oh those days. Gone.

And the great annual Wizard of Oz watching event. My favorite!!

Now as it happens, we were Sears people because there was no Penney's for miles around the NYC area. Even Sears came late to the party.

However, we would get the Spiegel catalog. That one would be poured over in just the same way by me. Hours spent pondering the many items that I longed to have.

To this day I still feel a little tug o' my heart that I did not get the blue/green "luv" beads door.Oh were that the way I would enter and exit my personal lair in 1968... It was not to be.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I'm with you all the way on this one sister. It's like we were the same kid. Except for the whole penis/ovaries thing.

FranIAm said...

Wow- holy SHITE!

Dr. Monkey has a penis AND ovaries.

That is amazing.

Jess Wundrun said...

franiam Spiegel was not allowed in the midwest. I kid, it might have been around then but it was too high falutin' for us.

dr. MvM did you have to walk six miles uphill in the snow to get to West Towne Mall too? Eery.

(is franiam right about the jumblies?)

Matty Boy said...

Cartoon previews. Very big.

Wizard of Oz. Also huge.

I remember the Monkey Ward catalog with the Good Better Best options for buying shit.

I also loved the yearly rerun of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Cinderella with Leslie Ann Warren and the Mary Martin-Cyril Richard Peter Pan.

Which I think forces me once again to say I am not gay and never have been gay.

Just in case there was any confusion.

dguzman said...

I still live for the once-yearly Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin and Xmas specials. Luvs me some CB.

Splotchy said...

I for one don't miss the horrendously awful Saturday morning snorefest that was my childhood cartoon experience. I don't have a lot of nostalgia for it.

Kids are waaaay better off today.

Yeah, I'm bitter.

(I'm with you on the specialness of Wizard Of Oz, and I'll add the Alistair Sim Christmas Carol as well).

Suzy said...

Are we all the same age, or what? I remember when some soap/detergent product had Wizard of Oz puppets in conjunction with the annual airing. Oh, how I wanted my mom to buy it!

Saturday morning cartoons? Who cared if they were bad?

We got Sears AND Penney's, and Monkey Wards as well. My mom loved catalogs. (Miles Kimball was her favorite.)

One more bit of old fogey-ism ... did anyone else have the Jewel Tea salesman coming to their house with his crate of goodies?

Jess Wundrun said...

dguzman indeed! Also, Rudolph. I decline comment on the drinking game aspect, tho.

splotchy I think you are correct for your era, just a few years behind me. After the fall of Underdog and Josie and the Pussycats there was mostly dreck.

suzy ha! I used to live in Oshkosh, not too far from the Miles Kimball building. I think Lillian Vernon and Mrs. Kimball ought to go head to head in a celebrity catalog death match!

I have never heard of Jewel Tea. But then, after age 5 we lived in the country, so salesmen didn't drop in. The Avon lady came by every month, though.

Jess Wundrun said...

matty I can see your manly chest hair from here.