Showing posts with label Captain Kangaroo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Captain Kangaroo. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Glimpses of humanity

Once upon a time -- at least for a kid growing up in the Deep South with Jim Crow as the crazy-angry, crazy-hateful uncle in the attic -- television actually had the power, and the moral imagination, to point to a way out of madness.

I KNOW this seems crazy by today's standards, but TV once offered glimpses of a better world beyond parochialism, segregation and hate. Everyone in the Treasure House was so happy, and Captain Kangaroo was the benevolent ruler of a make-believe place where moose could dance with bear, where Tom was always Terrific, and where Green Jeans always were in fashion.

And Fred could just be Fred -- sans apology and secure in his electronic blobitude.

Meanwhile, after dinner, the 21-inch Magnavox showed us "colored" nurses -- nurses?!? -- like Julia, cool spies like Bill Cosby and variety stars like "Flip" Wilson. In later years, the Sony portable in my bedroom would take me to places like Walt Whitman High School on Room 222, where integration wasn't a big deal at all. And who wouldn't want to have a teacher just like Pete Dixon.

Oh, right. Half of the class . . . and their parents . . . back in the Real World.

EVEN NOW, some four decades past, I still wish I could turn back the hands of Grandfather Clock and flee into the arms of the better angels of the Treasure House.