Did you know that Lew Anderson died this week? I just found out.
Think Howdy Doody. Think Mr. Bluster, Chief Thunderthud, Princess Summerfall Winterspring, Flub-a-Dub, Dilly Dally and Buffalo Bob. Most of all, think Clarabell Clown.
Yes, it's true. Anderson, who was the last man to play Clarabell (after Bob Keeshan, no less), has gone to that final horn toot roundup under The Really Big Top. Kids everywhere are safe now from seltzer bottle spray.
Actually, they've been safe for a long time. Howdy Doody left TV in 1960 after a pretty amazing 12-year run. But that silly show was part and parcel of my childhood. The era of huge TV sets with tiny little screens. Everything was broadcast in black and white. No room for gray in the early 1950s. Apparently color showed up in about 1955, but who knew?
Simpler times, we like to say. There is some truth in that, I suppose. Our world view was smaller. Our choices were more limited. Most of us toed the mark. What parents and teachers said was law. We respected authority, including our country's leaders.
Most of all, we respected our president. (sigh) That was then. This is now. Which brings me full circle to Clarabell the Clown.