A Very Fanboy Christmas 2010
Season’s greetings all you good little boys and girls and welcome to that special time of the year when the Fanboys of Christmas Present get to share a little bit of Christmas Past with you. We’ve had an excellent turnout this year so let’s get down to some Noel nostalgia shall we?
Ladies first this year so here’s Fangrrl Lisa Scherer way back at Christmas of 1973. Unfortunately neither of these photos show Lisa’s face but aren’t those footy pajamas a classic? In addition to traditional girl’s toys like a baby carriage and dolls, Lisa got a very special pop culture present this year – a stuffed Bozo the Clown. Most 40-something Fanboys will remember the Bozo television show that was created by one of the most famous men to play the clown, Larry Harmon. This format of games, cartoons, and the occasional educational segment was syndicated around the country with local television stations substituting some hapless weatherman or news anchor to be their own live Bozo. I grew up watching the show out of Orlando on WFTV Channel 9 and even had the talking version of the doll Lisa has here that spouted all of his famous catch phrases – Wowie Kazowee! According to the note written on the back of the photo on the right by Lisa’s mom, the first thing she saw this Christmas morning was the stuffed clown and she immediately pointed at it and cried “Booz-o”. No word as to whether the version of the show Lisa watched growing up was sponsored by a liquor store or not!
Way back in 1972, before I had even discovered The Monkees or The Beatles, I knew I wanted to be a rock and roll star. The Byrds did advise in the song of the same title that perspective pop performers “get a guitar and learn how to play” but the one I am holding in this picture wasn’t exactly what they had in mind. My six year-old counterpart, seen here modeling a stylish canary yellow denim suit by Billy the Kid, is holding a musical instrument more of the toy variety than the practical one as the strings are made of monofilament similar to fishing line. This photo was taken in my grandmother’s house where I received this and several other gifts during a family gathering that Christmas in Ocala. It would be about eight more years before I finally got a real guitar, also as a Christmas gift, that could actually be tuned and played without cutting your fingers! Sadly, after a week or two when I failed to hit the charts and the girls didn’t tear me apart, I packed in my musical career and joined the Cue Card Flippers of America Union, local chapter 137. The rest, as they say, is history!
Ever notice, as a kid, how parents seem to manage to snap a picture of you right when you’re having one of those out of body experiences that only a child with a new bicycle knows how to have? One year later in 1973 and across town from me in Ocala, my friend John Hickey was having just such a moment immortalized on film. John was so thrilled that Santa brought him a new red bike with ape-hanger handlebars and a working headlight, that he tore out of the living room on it while his mother was still trying to figure out how she was going to clean up all the wrapping paper and bows he had left in his wake! John made one ill-fated attempt at forming his own bicycle gang, The Hell’s Alter Boys, the following year and then stuck to recreational riding for the remainder of his childhood.
Ho-Ho-Holy Smoke! Did anyone see that article back in 1978 about a Tampa area toy store that was robbed on Christmas Eve? If you find it, send it to me so that I can turn in Andy Lalino’s parents and collect the reward! Seriously, this photo that former Oddservations columnist Andy Lalino sent in is one of the coolest Christmas photos I have ever seen. Just take a minute to look at all the great Fanboy stuff he got that year including the Star Wars’ Death Star playset, an energized Spiderman action figure, and the Mattel Colonial Viper and Cylon Raider space ships (the FIRING versions no less) from Battlestar Galactica. I remember drooling over the monster make-up kit Andy is holding when I saw it advertised in the pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine where it retailed for a princely sum. As awesome as everything in this photo is, the one item that intrigues me the most is the Aurora Hunchback of Notre Dame model kit seen at the middle left. This is one of the “Frightening Lightening” glow in the dark versions from the early to mid-70’s that was long out of production by 1978. Andy guesses that his father probably picked it up at one of the local toy stores that carried old stock. Interestingly enough, the built up version of that model and the Star Wars portfolio in front of Andy are the only two things seen here that he still has today. Thank heavens for photos!
Our final photo submission this year wins the award for the oldest one ever submitted to this column. The unfamiliar Fanboy in this snapshot is Floyd Smith, future father of Fanboy film fanatic Michael A. Smith. This picture was taken way back in Christmas of 1957 in the frozen north of Cleveland, Ohio when Mike’s dad was the tender age of 24. The elder Smith had little inclination of what the future held for him at this point in his young life. His main concerns back then were tooling around town on his motorcycle and hanging out at Arnold’s Malt Shop with his pals Ritchie, Potsie, and Ralph. Cool-a-mundo Mike thanks for sending this one in!
From the Merry Snoopy’s Christmas department we have a very special surprise for all you Fanboys this year. As astute readers will remember, I had the great honor of appearing on stage with the classic 60’s musical group The Royal Guardsmen in September of this year. When the Ocala contingent of the band (sans Barry Winslow and John Burdett and featuring alternate drummer Rick Cosner) landed a Yule tide gig at the Red Rose Inn in Florida’s own Plant City, I dusted off my cue cards and headed south. For those unfamiliar with the venue, the Red Rose Inn is similar in style to the supper clubs that were popular in Florida up until the mid 1980’s or so. They specialize in classic bands and tribute acts from just about every decade. This show was billed as Snoopy’s Christmas with The Royal Guardsmen and the Ocala based members of the band performed two forty-five minutes sets for the comfortably full house. In between sets I was able to grab one of my now annual Christmas photos with the guys in front of one of the Inn’s beautifully decorated Christmas trees. I highly recommend you check out the Red Rose Inn for a classy evening of fine dining and fun entertainment. To close out the 2010 holiday season, here’s a very special performance from Ocala’s Royal Guardsmen and yours truly with a Christmas message that still rings true after all these years.
This is ED Tucker wishing you a very merry Fanboy Christmas!