I fully realize that for those of you outside of the 515, you probably won’t know this week’s edition of Wayback Wednesday. And that’s okay. Because according to Tim Hollis’ book Hi There Boy’s and Girls! there were over 1400 known variations on this theme. Some, like Bozo the Clown and Captain Kangaroo, had a more national scope. But if you grew up in the 515 (and I’m talking the old 515 that stretched border to border) like me, you know two shows: Betty Lou and the House with the Magic Window and, today’s subject, The Floppy Show.
I’ll point you over to Wikipedia if you want to know more about Floppy, but the highlight for any kid in Central Iowa was actually going and appearing on the live telecast of the Floppy Show. I still remember it vividly (well, as vividly as someone can for an event that happened well over 30 years ago). The jokes, the other kids, the bright lights and, of course, Floppy! Not only did we get to be on TV with the biggest celebrity I knew of and we got a bag of goodies including a bottle (yes, kids, a real live glass bottle) of Mountain Dew and a small bag of Original Hiland Potato Chips, but my shirt closed the show.
Yes, on my one and only adventure to the set of the Floppy Show, I wore a classic 70’s printed polyester shirt with a jungle scene. As the credits rolled, they zoomed right in on that shirt. I didn’t know until I got back to the babysitter and we were watching today’s episode. I was totally amazed and impressed that they picked my shirt to roll the credits over. For a few moments, at least in the mind of that kindergartener I was a huge celebrity.
As I strolled down memory lane for this post, I sadly realized that my boys won’t have the unique memories of a local television kids program. Sure, they’ll have memories of television programs from their youth (someday, Joey will blog about Phineas and Ferb on this very blog, I’m sure). What they won’t have is a truly unique experience of a local icon that served as a rite of passage for many Central Iowa kids. Such is the price we pay in our national landscape: local media in smaller markets is squeezed out in favor of nationally syndicated garbage. What I wouldn’t give for the return of a family friendly show that showcases classic cartoons rather than another self-help or self-destruction show.
Included for your watching pleasure is a classic clip of the silly jokes and the interaction of Duane, Floppy and a young child. This sure brings back memories. Sadly, Duane left us far too early or I have a feeling that Floppy would have made a comeback over the past 10 years, much to the delight of parents and children alike.
So this Wednesday, I raise that glass bottle to you, Floppy (and Duane) in a toast of a classic knock knock joke that was told countless times on the show.
Duane the bathtub, I’m Dwowning!