item 1 >>> Now Playing… \’ren Karen was a Gidget clone sitcom that ran for one season in 1964…starring Debbie Watson, with Gina Gillespie, sister of Mouskateer Darlene, as her best friend. Theme was by the Beach Boys, Mike Love on lead. The Surfaris did a longer version as a 45 B-side, explaining how the titular kitten was a “gone folksinger and a teenage ringer-dinger.” Why couldn’t I ever meet girls like that…
item 2 >>> LQQK @ †h∆†!… foggy A bit o’ Brit Pop from the early 70s…Lindisfarne with “Fog on the Tyne.”
kowa-item 3 >>> Goopa? You might have wondered why, in yesterday’s Wicked Ballsy, I wrote Kowagoopa instead of Kowbunga. You know, enumerating the Indians and tribes over 2343 shows is as daunting as counting Clarabells. The main ones were Chiefs Thunderthud, Featherman, and Thunderchicken, plus Princess Summerfall Winterspring. But many other braves and papooses came and went as the story-lines required. As to who belonged to what tribe, alliances shifted…Tinka Tonka, Sigafoose, Ooragnak, Chigoochi, and I’m sure others. Kowagoopa was the Princess’s catch-phrase, modeled after Thunderthud’s Kowabunga. But remember, he used Kowa- for anything and everything, Kowa-capeesh? And yes, it was variously spelled with a K or C. (Not for nothing, but as puppets go, she was kinda hot, never really noticed it before…)
item 4 >>> Coming soon to a blog near you…How many Howdy puppets were there? Here we’re on surer footing than when we tried to tabulate the Clarabells. I would say 8 ½ …full story next week maybe? But speaking of tabulations, let’s get out the Calc-O-Doodle and do some math. The manta of the show is “We were on for 14 years.” Well, no, you weren’t. True, 1947-1960 is 14 years, but that’s misleading, since only ONE episode aired in 1947…Sunday, December 27. So counting from the beginning of 1948 to the end of 1960, that would be 13 full years. But the finale was on the last Saturday in September, so by my cyphering, that’s 12 3/4 years. I’m just sayin’…
item 5 >>> Down the Sidelines, Streakin’…Not that you should start a tussle with your best football buddies, but if someone parrots that half-assed claim that the Pats’ “8 straight games with 30 points ties the record,” kindly inform them that regular season streaks don’t stop when the season ends…the actual record is 14, the 1999-2000 Rams…the 2006-7 Patriots are 2nd with 9. And If they don’t believe you, send ’em to me. Not sure where this “single season” fetish comes from…perhaps an attempt to “protect” Joltin’ Joe’s consecutive hit record of 56 games, in case someone were to approach it by spanning 2 seasons. Actually, he hit in 57 straight games…that includes the All-Star game…plus 3 gay games, who knew?
item 6 >>> Comparative Fruits…The trouble with NFL records is that so often you’re dealing with apples and oranges, with a few bananas and grapefruits thrown in for good measure. Regular season schedules range from 10 to 16 games, and maybe 18 is coming, plus the strike-seasons of 9 and 15 games. And this isn’t taking into account the earliest days of the league, when a team could fold after only a few contests, and scheduling and standings in general were pretty loosey goosey. (Plus I’m one of those cranks that thinks the 1946-49 All American Football Conference stats should be included…otherwise, a Cleveland Brown or S.F. 49er team record could be excluded as an NFL record, which makes no sense.) Now season length does seem unfair when considering the most of something…but it’s even worse considering the least. Fewest touchdowns in a season, the record goes back to 1933, the Cincinnati Reds had 3 in 10 games…with no chance of anyone coming close to breaking that today. What would be interesting: fewest touchdowns in a 16-game season, but the official record book, as I’ve said many times, is severely out of touch with the average fan. So with this in mind, I’ll try to make some sense of the records that Pats may or may not have set this season.
item 7 >>> Turnovers Fresh from the Oven…Nowhere is this mess more tangled than MOST TURNOVERS, TEAM, SEASON…here is what you read in the “Official NFL Record and Fact Book 2010,” and I have added the number of games played in bold…
This season, New England had just 10 turnovers…5 INTs and 5 lost fumbles. So clearly they have done the beleaguered Record Book a big favor by beating everybody, apples, oranges, and kumquats. The only sticking point for the purist is whose record they broke, the 82 Chiefs or the Dolphins and Giants of 08…guess what I think?!?!
item 8 >>> Re-do the Record Book…Hire ME to do it!…For Fewest Fumbles Lost, the Pats are in the clear with 5…the old record was 7, the 02 Chiefs. But Fewest Team Interceptions Thrown is again muddled…with 5, the Pats tied 4 other teams… a 12-game, a 14-game, and 2 16-games…so it’s hard to know where you stand. Well, here’s how I’d do it…and it sounds complicated, but a chart format would be easy to set up, and would give you a true picture of the performances these records are supposed to represent: All records would be given in the form a spreadsheet…columns for regular seasons of 10, 11, 12, 14, and 16 games…with asterisks at the bottom of the page for the 9 and 15 game strike seasons if they applied. Each record for each length of schedule would be recorded in each column. So you’d have the overall record for, say, Fewest Team Touchdowns…3…but you’d see it under the 10-game column, and you’d also see who scored the fewest in 16-games, which you have to admit is more relevant…more interesting…to fans today. Put me on the payroll, boys, you won’t regret it!
item 9 >>> Time to Vent…I came across the term “club fighter” a while back, a boxer who is successful on a regional basis, springing from a local gym or sports club, but who never makes it to the national scene, for whatever reason. Doesn’t mean he’s not a good fighter..there’s only room for so many at the top level, and life is complicated. This idea can be extended to anything…I recently mentioned “club” ventriloquists. Turns out local TV stations were rife with ’em. Back in the 1960s, the TV listings of Boston newspapers tried to be as inclusive as possible, and listed Springfield stations, altho the Boston edition of TV Guide did not. You might have noticed “Pete and Willy’s Tree Hut” on UHF Channel 40, but being on the North Shore, you could never pull in it. That was ventriloquist Peter Savioli and his pal Willy O’Wood, hosting cartoons and educational segments. And the dude is still around, you can find more info at this site…it lists active vents it appears, no historical data: http://dickensndave.bravehost.com/registry.html
item 10 >>> Then there was the ventriloquist’s wife who divorced him
because he was snoring on HER side of the bed…Of course, if you were on “local” TV in a major market, like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, or Los Angeles, you were one rung away from going national, either with a network or thru syndication. And indeed, many entertainers and shows did so graduate. So it’s not impossible you might have heard of Doris Faye, who was Princess Ticklefeather on the Big Apple’s Bozo show, and her dummy Sunflower. And given this was around 1960, she very well could have used real Indian-style swastikas on her costume…close but not quite! Now back in Kowa-item 3, there’s a picture of the puppet Princess on Howdy’s show…she was introduced for the sole purpose of selling more merchandise to girls…it worked for a while, but when the numbers started to slip, they turned the character into a live person, Judy Tyler. But even back then, there were a surprising number of female vents, compared to say female stand-
up comics…in fact, at the very first Emmy Awards for 1948, Shirley Dinsdale and Judy Splinters received the honors for Most Outstanding TV Personality.
Always wanted one of these, ever since high school, when some kid showed up for a chess match wearing one, cheeky punter…yes, I coveted my neighbor’s headwear…
Resume and audio samples at http://home.rr.com/mastolfi