I was the star of a long-running, or at least constantly running, TV show at a tender age.
When I played on the 500 block of Laporte Avenue, on the even side of the street, I had a screen name, a theme song, and a number of invisible cameras that broadcast my every move, my every pose, to a waiting world.
I’m not sure which came first. I remember standing next to the sidewalk there at 512, looking off to the distance, wearing cowboy garb and holding the little rifle that made a substantial click when you fired it (after cocking it), and I was Magic Man. So I guess I had a clue that super heroes were a thing, even if my notion of costuming was rudimentary, but certainly convenient.
Magic Man could basically do anything. Not that he did. He mainly struck poses. I may have gotten bored with Magic Man early on, though I yearned for a magic finger (something Kathryn spoke of), and when I got to throw a penny in a fountain at some eating place in Loveland with Grandma Mimi & Aunt Mary, I was angry at myself for wasting the wish on something that wasn’t a magic finger. When would I get another chance like that?
I think The No ran a bit longer, and must have had better ratings. There were no particular ground rules, no powers to keep track of, and if there was any cast apart from me and whoever was standing around, it would have been Jack, my invisible twin, and possibly Pooh. Pooh’s still around here, though Jack took off without leaving a note some time in my grade school years.
The No had a theme song, which ran through my head and probably out of my lips, either as an aimless half-singing sound or as open-mouthed humming. The tune seems to be based in part on “The Erie Canal” (not the E-Ri-E), which also furnished some lyrics:
Is a comin’, comin, comin’
Is a comin’ to your town.
You can always tell your neighbor
You can always tell your friend
That The No’s motion pictures
Are a-never gonna end.
This was my joke. “The No”: What kind of name is that? How I must have laughed, at least once, though I don’t recall it. I played it close to the vest.
(No relation to The Flashlight, which was a one-off drawing on a small chalkboard we had at 512. It was a simple line drawing of a regular two-cell flashlight with “The” written over it. I had bridged the worlds of words and pictures, and I was still young and teeming with potential.)
The Flashlight, by the bye, is also loosely associated with mental images of The Three Stooges in the one where Curly’s attempts at plumbing caused water to gush from a painting of Niagara Falls, and a dowager looked up just in time to catch a cake falling from the ceiling. These must have come from a time when the Packard-Bell TV still showed pictures. There’s also some mental linkage there to a dream I had of finding a door in the back of a closet at 512 that led into a room where people were having a party. Some of them were wearing bird masks. Perhaps “Listen to the Mocking Bird” was playing on the record player? Probably not, but it would have tied it all together nicely.
There was a picture of me looking aggressively, nizoidally cute in an Easter suit at 512. Can’t find it just now, so here’s a more recent shot of how it all ended up.