Segarini: Time Machine Part One

Spotty and Bob

I am not, by nature, a nostalgic person. I do not pine for my youth, I do not dream of going back in time because they were better days, and I do not believe for one minute that everything was better in the “good old days”, especially considering that for some of you, the “good old days” were the ‘90s….

=0=

I am a man who was born between generations. After the 2nd world war, but before the baby boom. The fact is, I was born just days after VJ day, the surrender of Japan to the US, which eventually led to the Japanese domination of the automotive, gaming, and electronic equipment industries, not to mention donutrobotics, and Hello Kitty. The Germans didn’t do too badly either, I’m typing this on one of their incredible computers.

If that’s losing, I’m a donut.

=0=

richie-richWhen I say I am not a nostalgic person, it doesn’t mean that I don’t look back at my childhood without fondness. Quite the contrary, I was blessed with a childhood that I would put up against anyone’s as being near perfect. Not in the sense that it was all unicorns and rainbows or informed by Richie Rich amounts of money and toys, etc, nor was it in a spotlight of adulation or fame, exotic travel or Christmas and birthday gifts consisting of puppies, ponies, and my very own golden ticket to Wonkaville.  And even though my childhood was and remains a wonderful experience, it took place at a time when the world had just as many problems as it has now…we just weren’t aware of a lot of them, but the ones we were aware of were more than enough.

Looking back through rose coloured glasses is how most people tend to view the past, erasing the bad and embracing the good. It is the difference between nostalgia, and actual memories. We tend to forget the bad times and shunt them aside, just out of view and eventually out of mind. I believe that recalling the bad with the good makes the happy memories even more special, more meaningful, and to dismiss them or sweep them under the rug turns memories Beatles-Stonesinto fiction. It also makes it damn near impossible for those who long for their nostalgic belief that everything was better, to move forward with the ability and desire to accept or even acknowledge new experiences, new technology, and new culture. You must know some of these people. They who decry the latest music/fashion/trends, the friends who claim they have seen “all the great bands”, or “they just don’t build ‘em like they used to”, and the universal response to a great many things summed up in just two words which say nothing, but mean everything.

“That Sucks!”

To be honest, nothing sucks. Really, not to everyone, but a lot of us have trouble saying “to each his own”, or, “something for everyone”, or “that’s not to my taste”. It’s just easier to blow things off with a dismissive, “That Sucks!” and go back to our Elvis records, Beatle collections, Led Zeppelin T Shirts, Nirvana CDs, Prince videos or Maroon 5 downloads…depending on when your “Good Old Days” happen to reside.

=0=

We all start off with the previous generation’s culture. Not because we want to, but when we start to become cognizant of the world around us, our generation hasn’t created anything to call our own. …and we don’t until we find ourselves inspired by that which already exists and has withstood the test of time long The-Great-Debate-Norman-Rockwellenough for us to be exposed to it. Eventually, we take the pieces of what we are exposed to that engage us, throw ourselves into first imitating it, then adding to it, until finally, we either create or discover something that is unique to us. Those are the beginnings of our own cultural ascension and contributions. We get begat…otherwise, nothing would ever change. Conservatives from my generation, for example, live to ‘go back’ to Norman Rockwell basics, forgetting that with Mr. Rockwell comes segregation, class warfare, cold wars, military escalation, suppression, repression, and Elvis would still be driving a truck.

=0=

When I first began to think about writing this column, I asked myself what was the defining tipping point that engaged my generation as a whole. What was it that did not exist in the public eye when we were born, but became all-encompassing during our childhood. What was the single most ubiquitous cultural shift that took place during our formative years. I pondered….

angry birds*Montage of Bob pondering, Fourplay’s “Rollin’” playing underneath quick cuts of pan and scan photographs of Bob pondering, pacing, scratching his ass  head , staring out the window, playing Angry Birds, pacing, cigarette butts piling up in an ashtray, pacing, playing Angry Birds, and…one last slow-mo pondering, fade to black.*

After due deliberation, it came to me as clearly as the kiss at the end of a wet fist….

Television!

=0=

The Magic of Futuristic Technology

Having been weaned on radio, my love affair with television started at a very early age…kind of like going from the bottle to solid food.

Whereas Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons, The Shadow, Superman, and Lights Out! and Suspense, were broadcast on radio and the theatre of your mind created the visuals, when television came along, they created the images for 1947-Pilot-TV37wMAGyou…right there in the living room! What crazy mad science and magic is this? Nothing will ever be the same….

Our first TV was a hand me down from my Uncle Al, a 3 inch screen table model. My smartphone has a bigger screen AND colour.

We were able to watch this TV because, even though the screen was only 3 inches diagonally, a 7 or 8 inch magnifying glass slid into slots on either side of the screen so we could watch it without getting nose prints on the glass. That way, Mom could slide the magnifier off and wash it along with the dinner dishes and my magic plastic Winky Dink Screen…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Babysitter in a Box

Miss Francis was my first teacher. She was the first person outside of my family that I saw every weekday morning, still in my jammies, at the ungodly hour of waaay too early. She talked right to ME! Suddenly, Mom had an assistant…and I had a large elderly Eastern European woman telling me what to do for a half an hour every morning.

Ding Dong School

After I was thoroughly taught, I waited for this….

Crusader Rabbit 1950

This little character, along with his Bestie, Rags the Tiger, was the first cartoon character to be designed for television, not ported over from an existing movie career or the radio or anywhere. This is the root of Jay Ward and everything Hanna Barbara ever did.

…and on Saturday mornings, this was my adventure time. You sent away for a clingy piece of plastic that stuck to the front of the TV and a box of ‘special’ Midget WrestlingWinky Dink crayons, and when the Dink got in trouble, you could draw him a bridge or a ladder, or a shotgun and help him get away from the bad guys or solve a mystery. Of course, most of us soon learned that regular crayons worked equally as well directly applied to the TV screen, but the elbow grease to clean a bridge or stairs off the screen in time Roller Debyto draw a cave opening or a door was tiring, and also left a mess, which Dad would yell at you about when he tried to watch Midget Wrestling or Women’s Roller Derby that night. Really, really, yell. Really, really, LOUD.

Winky Dink

By the time I was 6 or 7, there was this…

Tom Corbett Space Cadet

Cardboard sets and actors who looked like they were late to their regular jobs of resetting pins at the bowling alley or checking the oil in your car, but gosh darn it, it was spaceships and aliens and right here in my house and a small step up from Captain Video, an even sillier adventure show for us kids . This was the thing that dreams were made of.

…That was followed by this much better produced, acted, and shot actioner, which spent some money on the product because it was syndicated television, meaning it was owned by the creators and/or their agents and could be sold to individual stations regardless of network affiliation.

Rocky Jones – Space Ranger

But for a kid who started reading comic books as soon as he could read, the best was yet to come. To get ready, tie a tea towel around your neck and put your underwear on outside your pants….

Monday! Part Two of Time Machine. Look! Up in the air! …and three pieces of real fried chicken!

=0=

Any Questions or comments, please write them in the Comment Section below.

Your Comments Are Welcome

Segarini’s regular columns appear here eventually.

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, continues to write music, make music, and record.

One Response to “Segarini: Time Machine Part One”

  1. Phil Olmsted Says:

    I wish I still had my Winky Dink screen cover. It would make watching a lot of the current TV trash a lot easier.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: