Sunny Days by David Kamp
I bought this book without even doing my usual sampling preview, once I discovered it was not only about all of my favorite childhood TV shows, but was also written by the same author of THE UNITED STATED OF ARUGULA, one of my favorite metafood books.
It’s about the wild creative atmosphere around educational children’s programming in the late 60s and early 70s. Sesame Street, of course… Roosevelt Franklin… some Mr. Rogers… but I really liked all the coverage of the lesser-known local favorite, Magic Garden. And the shout-out to Joya’s Fun School! I really liked Joya.
This book really pushed a lot of my memory buttons, but I think the weirdest trigger memory of all was when they covered “Berna-dette’s” Zoom intro. Honestly whenever I hear the name “Bernadette” I tend to flash back to that intro; all I remembered was she did something with her arms while they played a kind of celeste-sounding musical bit. I didn’t remember her being Chinese, or that the arm thing was supposed to give the illusion that she had no elbow joints or something. But they really spent a lot of time on it in the book, and now I know ALL about it. And it sent me back to watch some of the original Zoom show intro numbers, and OMG were they bad.
Speaking of bad, then there was the New Zoo Revue. I was very, very little when I used to watch and enjoy this show; and while probably none of the kiddie shows that I watched were true favorites with the parents and older brother in the house, I remember everyone PARTICULARLY hating on the New Zoo Revue. “They can’t even sing,” my mother protested, and I was little enough that this puzzled me. “They CAN sing,” I argued. They were right there on the TV singing. But even in my memory I remember some really awful singing, something along the lines of “With Doug, and Emmy Jo, every day’s a different shooooooow!” half-shouted and half-sung in a monotone.
Good times! Oh wait, I guess GOOD TIMES will be a different book altogether.