When I lived in New Jersey and Delaware as a child, every afternoon found me stretched out on the floor, my favorite blanket cuddling me in a cocoon as I watched Sally Star introduce episodes of Popeye and The Three Stooges. Sally Star’s blonde ponytail nestled under her white cowgirl hat. Her broad smile and musical voice lured me to the television while her fringed outfit made me long for my own cowgirl duds.
Lorenzo and Friends entertained me during my early childhood, too. The program always started the same way, with the lead actor sitting before his mirror, talking to the audience as he applied his makeup. I sat transfixed in amazement as I watched this man transform into the ever silent Lorenzo. Of course Shari Lewis drew me into her wonderful world, too. I loved the quick patter between her and Lamb Chop. My sister explained the art of ventriloquism to me, but I never saw Shari Lewis’s lips move, so I vehemently argued that Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse spoke on their own.
Once my family moved to San Antonio, Captain Gus became my guide through cartoons. Captain Gus’s bold red mustache and cheery, “Ahoy, Mateys!” or “Ba Ding Bing!” always made me smile. Everyone looked forward to a chance to sit on his boat to watch Popeye, or Bugs Bunny, or Looney Toon. I loved my afternoon escape each day. The warm hearted Captain and the wonderful humor of the cartoons provided entertainment while I ate my after school snack.
These “stars” from my childhood either started my mornings with their perky happiness or helped me unwind after a day at school. Their goal wasn’t to educate me as much as to entertain me, and I’m thankful for the role they played in my youth.
Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman