My life hasn’t changed very much since pandemic land became the norm. I’m that boring person who likes to stay home amid my books and yarn.
However, I do miss my peeps at the local Starbucks. That one is closed for reasons I don’t comprehend, since they have a drive-thru and a local clientele. As my mother says, “What-ever!” And there’s a hand gesture—not a rude one—where you lift your hands above your head.
But it’s time for me to tote out the BIG guns. We need humor in a gallon jug—no little spray bottle will do. Hence, I give you the short story, Riot at Hallstrom School, by my late husband, Greg Lackner. Trust me, you’re welcome!
I also have a hilarious novella on tap from Greg to make your Wednesday go whee!
Riot at Hallstrom School
by Greg Lackner
It seems sometimes that our history is defined not by noble deeds or acts of courage but by senseless violence involving mobs clashing with authorities over some outrage or another. Whether they’re generated by ethnic hatred, religious fanatacism, anger over being bilked by a pyramid scheme, or sheer boredom our world is almost constantly dotted with riots of varying strengths and rationality. Occasionally, perhaps if we’re very lucky, we learn something from this civil unrest.
The first riot I ever witnessed personally came at a very young age. Indeed, I was a participant in it, and, although, I couldn’t know it at the time, the whole event would profoundly change my life.
It all started on a blustery spring day. Blustery spring days are the norm in the midwest. I was in the sixth grade at Hallstrom Elementary School in the mid-1960’s. It was an age both personally and in the world around me that was all about changes. Some of them happening so rapidly you couldn’t even notice them.
On that day a group of my friends and I were dawdling back to the classroom after a toilet break when we happened to notice a hand-printed poster that had just been slapped on the hallway bulletin board sometime that morning. We stopped for a minute to inspect it.
The top half of the poster was the usual dull stuff about the annual Spring PTA School Pot-Luck Supper. This event was something I and my self-proclaimed “cool” buddies made a point of not attending. The whole night traditionally was spent sitting at the same tables in the gymnasium that we had to eat our daily lunches on. The food consisted of multi-colored piles of glop that bore little or no resemblance to anything we liked to eat.
And, worst of all, were the programs after dinner. They usually consisted of the music teacher playing a few bouncy selections on the school’s piano, or perhaps a slide show of somebody’s trip to the Grand Tetons, or worst of all a lecture by some dusty civic leader on the necessity of getting a quality education. There was no way we were going to miss a good night of important TV watching for an event like that.
We were starting to spout the normal derogatory comments about the Pot-Luck when Mike, who had actually bothered to read the entire poster stopped us in mid put-down.
“Hold, it a minute, you jerks,” he yelled jabbing a finger at the poster. “Look who are supposed to be the special guests!”
We all looked more closely at the poster and then we all started talking at once.
“Jeez, I don’t believe they’re coming here,” I said.
“This is big-time stuff,” Randy said.
“It’s got to be a fake,” Keith, always the most suspicious of us, said.
“No way, stupid,” Mike shot back giving Keith a punch in the arm. Mike had a habit of always addressing us as “jerk,” “stuipid,” “dummy,” “moron,” “spaz,” and other names that called our IQ’s into question. “There’s no way they’d put that up if it wasn’t real,” he said.
We had to agree that the school PTA lacked the imagination necessary to deliberately mislead us for the fun of it, so we had to believe our eyes.
What our eyes were showing us was the notice of this year’s special program. Right below the usual details about date, time, and “Please bring a dish to pass,” was the incredible news that this year’s program would consist of a special visit by none other than Captain Bob and Melvin.
Of course, if you didn’t grow up in my little corner of America in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s those names are meaningless. But, for us they were magic.
Captain Bob and Melvin were true local stars, hosts of a daily afternoon show on WTVO-TV that featured cartoons, Three Stooges episodes, Little Rascals shorts and actually had a live audience of real kids and their adult chaperones. I was in that audience once, but that’s another story.
Captain Bob dressed as a sailor, although the outfit he wore would have gotten him killed along any real waterfront after his assailants had stopped laughing hysterically. His costume consisted of a blue blazer with gold buttons and an anchor sewn on the breast pocket. He wore it over a white turtleneck shirt. Perched on his head was a rather worn-looking yachting cap, obviously meant to give the appearance that Captain Bob had seen some action at sea. The pants and shoes were unremarkable.
Captain Bob was the straight man to Melvin whose full name was Melvin the Clown. Melvin sported the requisite clown white face, red mouth and rubber nose and dressed in a vertically-striped oversized shirt. He wore a regulation white sailor cap. Melvin was a silent clown and that silence added to his celebrity mystique. We used to speculate endlessly on why Melvin didn’t speak.
Some thought that he was the victim of a tragic childhood disease rendering him mute, or that he had been bayoneted in the throat during World War II, or that he was actually some foreigner who did not want to reveal a thick accent and inability to speak English. It was level-headed Mike who told us that Melvin was just a local yokel who didn’t talk because that was his act. He also mentioned we were numbskulls while providing this explanation.
Whether we belived Mike or not, we all agreed that Captain Bob and Melvin were great together. They told jokes, did a little slapstick, talked to kids in the audience and when it came time to show a cartoon or short film would invite a member of the live audience to the “cartoon machine.” This lucky child would turn a crank on the side of the machine while the rest of the audience counted down from ten to zero in a barely intelligible scream.
Now this may not sound like world-class entertainment, but in the mid-1960’s anybody who was on television was a mythological figure to us boob tube crazy kids. The fact that these “stars” were going to step from the picture tube into our gymnasium was truly astonishing. We stumbled back to our classroom in a daze and started telling the rest of our class about our discovery.
By the end of the day word of this amazing event spread throughout the school like the mumps. Everybody was buzzing about Captain Bob and Melvin’s appearance and it looked like nobody was going to miss this year’s PTA Pot-Luck.
My feet barely touched the ground that afternoon as I flew home to tell my parents. My mother got home from work just before I did from school, and my dad, who was working nights, hadn’t left for work yet. I slammed into the kitchen where they both were at the table drinking coffee and blurted out the news in one breath.
My dad looked at me panting for a minute then turned to my mother and said, “I woudn’t sit through some dumb PTA Pot-Luck even if Jackie Gleason and Red Skelton were going to be there.”
Since dad worked nights he couldn’t have been there anyway. But with a feeling that my hopes were sinking into my socks I wondered if he was trying to influence my mother not to take me. With my dad, you could never be sure if he was teasing you or being straight. He lifted his coffee cup to his lips and took a loud sip and I got the horrible feeling he was serious.
There was only one thing for me to do and I didn’t hesitate. I turned to my mother who was already flinching in anticipation of the worst and yelled, “Maaaaaaaaaa, pleeeaaaaaseee!!” I followed this with a verbal assualt of “But, everybody’s going to be there,” “This is the biggest thing to ever happen, “I’ll die if I can’t go, I swear to God I will,” and other entreaties.
Mom looked at me about to burst into tears and turned to my dad. “Harold, don’t you think…” she said.
“If you want to waste a night on this, go ahead and take junior. It’s your decision,” my dad said and got up from the table and left the room.
Suddenly I knew I was going. Mom was not going to break her little boy’s heart. Especially when all it took was a couple of hours away from home and the time to create a “dish to pass.”
I wasn’t sure if the look that passed over my mom’s face was irritation at my dad’s normal brusqueness or at being put in this no-win situation. She looked at me and said, “Well, I guess we can go.”
My joy was boundless. I unthinkingly promised to clean my room, take baths without protests, dry dishes forever and even help create the “dish to pass,” all to thank my mother for allowing me to see Captain Bob and Melvin. Luckily the events of the night to come would obliterate all those foolish promises from my mother’s memory and I would be able to remain the slug around the house.
The two weeks prior to the pot luck went by at supersonic speed. Time is very flexible in the world of an eleven year old kid. Sometimes it stretches into infinity like when you’re waiting for Christmas morning. Other times it shrinks to nothingness as when you have a dentist appointment looming over your head. In this case our wait for the day of Captain Bob and Melvin seemed blessedly brief, helped along by improving weather that allowed us time to play outside and signalled the approaching end of the school year.
My little group began to speculate on what Captain Bob and Melvin would do when they made their appearance. Even we realized that just walking in the door or counting down from ten to zero in unison would probably not be much of an act.
“These guys are on TV every day,” Mike said. “They’ll know what to do.”
“I guess,” Keith said.
“Trust me, you dope,” Mike said. “If they can be on TV they’ll know how to put on a show for us.” Mike had no idea how wrong he was.
But it was enough to assure us that we were in for a true cultural event. From there our conversations drifted to something almost as important, what we were going to eat.
“My mom’s making a Jello salad,” I announced. They all nooded appreciatevely. My mother’s Jello salads were legendary, earning a special place in the pantheon of “dishes to pass.” At that age your mother is the geatest cook in the world. It’s only later that you begin to realize she might not have been such a wizard in the kitchen after all.
Mike had a different opinion of my mom’s Jello salads. “No matter what color they are they all taste the same,” he said. “Sicky sweet, yuck!” And he started shoving his finger down his throat and making puking noises. I pushed him backwards and he stopped.
Randy’s mother had taken the easy way out with a dessert. And, to make it even easier she was just baking some cookies. “Just as long as they don’t make us lose our cookies,” Keith yelled, and we all laughed at his witty remark.
“So, what’s your old lady making?” Randy asked Keith.
“Don’t call her ‘old lady’ and she’s making a tuna casserole,” Keith said. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but we didn’t realize then that almost every dish at a PTA pot luck is some kind of tuna casserole.
We all looked at Mike. “Beans,” he said. We all understood what he meant and no further comments were necessary.
Our conversation in one form or another was being echoed throughout the school yard that day and for the next several days. We all doublechecked and triplechecked the date and time of the pot luck and bugged our parents to distraction on the necessity of getting to the school early enough that evening to find a good seat. As it turned out, having a good seat was not going to be terribly important.
The actual day of the pot luck finally arrived and was a picture postcard midwestern spring day. It was warm and sunny, birds were chirping, the trees were budding and you could almost hear the grass growing. We noticed none of it.
All day long we were practically peeing our pants in anticipation. After lunch the janitors moved the tables into position for the big night. Because of that we were having gym class outside this day. All this extraordinary activity heightened our sense of anticipation until you could have plucked us like violin strings and we would have all twanged.
Finally the school day ended and we shrieked outside promising to sit next to each other that night. I raced home and got there about the same time as my mother arrived from another tiring day in the factory. She had made the Jello salad the night before so she woudn’t be rushed into doing it tonight. This salad was a mint green with white specks floating in it. It looked delicious. Dad had told us the night before that he was meeting some of his friends for a burger before work and wasn’t home.
I’m sure my mom was looking forward to a couple of hours of relaxation before the night’s events, but I made that impossible. Starting a half hour after we got home with increasing regularity I would yell “We got to get ready pretty soon.”
“We have time,” my mother would patiently answer.
Finally goaded by my increasingly hysterical whining my mom finally changed clothes and with my help gathered up plates, utensils and Jello salad. We dumped it all into a paper grocery bag and hustled off to the school. The trip was easy walking distance in those days of neighborhood schools but with our extra load and my antsiness it felt like we were heading down the Oregon Trail with no destination in sight.
I had thought we were plenty early, but when we finally got within sight of the school, I realized that everyone else must have had the same idea as me of the need for promptness. There were cars parked all around the school block and around several adjacent city blocks.
A steady stream of adults with kids yapping at their sides and carrying bags and covered dishes were pouring into the building. I never realized that many kids even went to Hallstrom School. I wondered if word of our special event had leaked to other schools and we were being invaded.
When I saw the crowd I got even crazier and started hopping ahead of my mom and imploring her to hurry. But after eight hours of factory piece work she was in no hurry to go anywhere and could not be made to move any faster. By the time we finally reached the door I was in a frenzy.
As soon as we entered the building we could hear the sounds from the gym echoing down the hallway. I had never heard that much noise coming from inside my school. It was intoxicating and I could feel my pulse rate start to rise as we got closer to the gym doors.
The inside of the gym was chaos. Kids were running everywhere as exhausted looking adults tried to grab them and get them to eat from the “dishes to pass.” The food was arranged along two long tables at the back of the gym. Some of the adults were hovering over the tables trying to recognize what they were about to consume. Even with racing children and milling adults the tables for the crowd to sit at looked filled to capacity.
While my mom deposited her Jello salad in a section of the food table that looked like a Jello salad graveyard, I searched for my buddies. Whoever got there first was supposed to save seats for the rest. I couldn’t spot them or an empty seat and I felt the cold hand of panic start tickling the back of my neck.
Before it could grab hold firmly I heard Mike yell, “Over here, bonehead!” Then I saw him sitting with his mother, Randy and Keith and their respective parents. He was motioning to me frantically. There was just barely room at the table for my mom and me to squeeze in but we managed it.
The next hour was spent in normal potluck activities. We trooped to the food table, took a little something from every dish and returned to our table to eat it.
For all I and my friends cared at that point we could have been eating sand and gravel and we mechanically scooped it into our mouths. Our parents made small, boring adult conversation while we chattered about Captain Bob and Melvin.
“Do you think they’ll come in the Melvinmobile?” Keith asked. The Melvinmobile was a 1961 Cadillac convertible that had been painted with zebra stripes. Some of our classmates claimed to have glimpsed it from time to time cruising around town, but none of us had ever seen it for real.
“Of course, lamebrain,” Mike said. “That’s how those guys get around. You don’t expect them to take a bus, do you?”
“I bet they give out prizes and candy, just like on TV,” Randy said.
“Maybe they’ll bring a TV camera with them and we’ll be on TV,” I said with a sudden brainstorm.
“Yeah, and maybe Moe, Larry and Curly will come, too. Along with Bugs Bunny and Popeye,” Mike added with fairly impressive sarcasm. Mike was trying hard to sound jaded and worldly, but, like us, he was almost trembling with excitement.
After what seemed like years had passed the crowd was finally done feeding. It was almost zero hour, time for the program to begin. Mr. Meyers, our portly school principal, lumbered up the stairs to the stage in the front of the gym.
A podium and microphone were standing to one side. When he reached it he tapped the microphone. A screech of feedback erupted out of the speakers on either side of the stage and we all got a good laugh from that. In his usual breezy manner Mr. Meyers thanked the PTA for all their good work for the year and then introduced the current PTA president.
Her name was Mrs. Johnson and she was the mother of a kid none of us knew. Mrs. Johnson barely reached to top of the podium and had to keep pulling the microphone closer to her as she went through the business meeting part of the potluck. Financial reports, election of officers, goals for next year, they were all meaningless to us as waited and waited for our heroes to arrive.
In what must have been the neatest bit of timing to occur since the parting of the Red Sea as soon as Mrs. Johnson said, “Our special guests should be here any minute,” we heard a car horn in the distance tooting the first few notes from “Thanks For the Memories.”
“It’s the Melvinmobile!!” somebody shouted and the room suddenly got very quiet. Adults shifted nervously in their seats as they sensed the tension flowing around them. I and my glassy-eyed friends were all staring at the stage and the barely visible Mrs. Johnson.
“Ah, Mr. Meyers,” she squeaked from behind the podium. “Could you please open the door for our guests.” Mr. Meyers lurched over to a side door of the gymnasium that led to the street outside. Almost as soon as he got there a loud banging came from the other side. Smiling slyly at us and enjoying his part in the show, Mr. Meyers flung the door open and Captain Bob and Melvin stepped into our world.
Were we disappointed at how they looked in person? Not on your life. Not only were they suddenly part of us, they were in color. It wasn’t until then that I realized I had always seen Captain Bob and Melvin in the gray tones of our ancient Zenith black and white television. Captain Bob’s coat was a dark navy blue and the buttons on them shone like hammered gold. Melvin’s clown shirt was red and white striped and his clown makeup looked radiant.
As soon as they were in the gym Captain Bob and Melvin flung up their arms and begain at waving at us. That broke the spell of silence and we all started yelling and whistling back at them. I looked around and saw all my friends, including Mike, screaming and pounding the table. With some mild surprise, I realized I was doing the same. My mother looked at us like we were suddenly strangers.
Now, perhaps, wiser adults would have received some early warning from this tumultuous greeting and turned the fire hoses on us before it was too late. But, this was outside their normal experience and instead Mr. Meyers led the still waving Captain Bob and Melvin up to the stage and to the podium where they shook hands with Mrs. Johnson. She and Mr. Meyers returned to the audience and left the rest of the program in the hands of their guests. This was a big mistake.
In command, Captain Bob grabbed the mike at the podium and shouted to us, “Hi, kids, how you doin’!” It was the trademark opening of their show and we all yelled back the required “Fine, Captain Bob” in a combined shout so powerful it practically moved the stage curtains. A momentary look of fear crossed Captain Bob’s face at the force of our reply, but he recovered his poise quickly.
“Melvin, what do you think of Hallstrom School,” Captain Bob asked his sidekick. Melvin looked around carefully and then elaborately held his nose. We all thought that was just about the funniest thing we had ever seen and literally screeched with laughter.
Captain Bob, the master of timing, waited for the laughter to diminish before going on. “You know, boys and girls, we’re really happy to be here, and we also like to help out the schools in our great city.” Captain Bob motioned offstage and one of the janitors brought a tall ladder to the center of the stage. The janitor hustled offstage as soon as the ladder was in place.
Captain Bob turned to his partner. “Melvin,” he said, clapping Melvin on the shoulder. “You know it was really nice of these folks to invite us to Hallstrom School and I think we can give them a hand with something here.”
Melvin shrugged at Captain Bob and then turned and shrugged at us as if to say, what’s this guy talking about. Captain Bob chuckled into the microphone and went on. “Look up there, Melvin,” he said pointing straight up. Melvin did so and then staggered in surprise, slapping his forehead with his hand and shaking his head mournfully. We were by now on the edge of our seats.
“That’s right, Melvin,” Captain Bob said. “One of the stage lights is burnt out up there.” He was referring to one of the banks of multicolored lights that were barely visible from our vantage point. Along with a few hundred other kids I strained to see which one he was talking about but they all looked lit up to me.
But Melvin saw what Captain Bob was talking about because he straightened up, smartly saluted the good Captain and started to climb the ladder. Of course, all this was just an excuse for Melvin to do some cheesy shtick of pretending to almost fall off the ladder or not be able to find a foothold. But to us it was knee-slapping material, surely comic greatness taken flesh in our midst.
The only problem was because of the angle to the raised stage and the crowd in the gym as Melvin ascended higher up the ladder it became harder to see him. We started chanting, “Can’t see, can’t see, can’t see!” and it slowly grew in intensity until Captain Bob could no longer ignore it.
Captain Bob looked at us for a moment and uttered a line that all of us: kids, adults, teachers, Captain Bob and Melvin the Clown would remember all of our lives.
“No problem, kids,” he said. “If you can’t see come on up to the stage.”
It was like somebody had electrified the chairs of every kid in the crowd. We shot out of our places at the tables and in a fraction of a second were at the edge of the stage. By this time Melvin was at the top of the ladder, a good 25 feet above the stage.
The evening had reached its crescendo and our brains were truly fried with being this close to these living legends. Pure crowd mentality took over and before anybody could stop us we were not just around the stage but climbing up on to it. Some kids used the stairs. Others just hoisted themselves over the edge.
The mob instantly converged on a shocked Captain Bob who looked now like a sailor struggling with a school of sharks. While he twisted and turned in the choking mass of bodies, some of the group broke off and started to grab hold of Melvin’s ladder.
Up to now I don’t think Melvin had a clear idea of what was happening below him. Then his ladder started to shudder underneath him and in a matter of seconds was swaying from side to side under the pressure of us kids. Melvin stopped pretending to fall and clung to the top of the ladder for dear life while below we stared up at him and shouted variations of “We love you, Melvin!” We were too far gone to realize we were about to kill the thing we loved.
To Captain Bob’s credit he saw that his partner was about to fall to his death at a PTA Pot Luck and with a superhuman effort fought his way through the throng clutching at him and started pulling kids away from the ladder. By now he had been joined by Mr. Meyers and the janitors who were all flinging kids from Melvin’s ladder of doom.
Bodies were flying through the air only to be replaced by a seemingly inexhaustible supply of reserves. Melvin had managed to unfreeze himself from his perch and was crawling down the ladder as fast as he could. As soon as his clown shoes touched the stage he was surrounded by his own group of vultures all of whom were pulling on his clothing.
By now we were all speaking in tongues. I doubt any of us knew why we were attacking these people. Maybe it was because we had to make sure they were really there. Or maybe it was just the opposite, we didn’t think they were real at all and figured that like cartoon characters they would pick themselves up after going splat on the floor and carry on with the fun.
But the fun was definitely over for Captain Bob and Melvin. Back to back, pushing, shoving and kicking they were fighting their way across the stage, down the stairs and finally to the door they had come in to not very long ago. I got close enough to see that all the buttons from Captain Bob’s coat had been torn off and that someone had pulled off Melvin’s white gloves. I remember being amazed thtat his hands were just regular flesh color and not clown white like his face.
It took them several tries to pry the door open with the weight of all of our bodies against it. Somehow they managed to get it open just enough to squeeze through to freedom. As our guests made their hasty exit I heard Melvin, the speechless clown, utter the only words any of us ever would hear him say.
“Jesus Christ, get these goddamn kids off of me!” he screamed to Captain Bob or just to the heavens above. With that they pushed through the door and it slammed in our faces.
We stood there panting. While the shocked realization of what had happened began to wash over us I heard faintly in the distance the sounds of “Thanks For the Memories” played on a car horn. It faded away before the last note sounded.
To this day I don’t remember exactly what happened after that. I was probably in shock. We obviously must have gathered up the remains of our pot luck dinner and headed home. I do remember my mother clucking over how little of her salad had been consumed and wondering if she had not put in enough marshmallows.
I wanted to ask her what had happend, why a couple of hundred fairly normal elementary school age kids had suddenly turned into a crazed mob. I wanted to ask her but I didn’t. I wanted to delay the inevitable lecture and recriminations as long as possible.
The rest of my fellow rioters and parents slinked away into the night. I saw nothing of my buddies that night. My mother and I trudged silently home. She put away the pot luck items and I cleaned up and climbed into bed.
Sleep would not come to me easily that night. I lay in bed staring at the ceiling and before long heard the familiar sounds of my dad coming home from work. Then I heard my mother talking to him but could not pick out the words. I knew she had to be telling the story of our evening.
I closed my eyes tight and willed myself to go to sleep so dad would wait until morning to yell at me. By then I hoped some of his anger would dissipate. But I heard the creak of my door open and without thinking opened my eyes.
“I thought you’d still be awake,” he said and came over and sat on my bed. “So, junior, I hear you had yourself quite a night. Are you okay?”
I nodded not really being able to come up with a coherent story of what had happend to me.
Dad looked down at me and then looked away into the darkness of my room. “You know,” he said. “People do some awfully strange stuff sometimes. But, I want you to know that no matter what you hear tomorrow, you and Randy and Keith and even that little smart-ass Mike are good kids. Good kids. Okay?” He didn’t wait for me to answer. He simply got up and walked out my bedroom door, closing it softly behind him.
The next morning at school it didn’t take long to find out what my dad meant when he said “no matter what you hear.” None of us kids were talking about what had happened the night before, but the adults at our school couldn’t wait to dredge it all up.
As soon as our butts hit our chairs that morning the PA speaker clicked on and Mr. Meyers launched into a 15-minute harangue on what constituted acceptable school behavior, how we had almost killed Captain Bob and Melvin, how they would never come back nor would anyone else who valued their lives, and so on.
Mr. Meyers intended his speech to chastise us but while he droned on I looked around at my fellow criminals. It seemed that Mr. Meyers was not having the desired effect on us. All around me kids were trying hard but not quite managing to stifle giggles and hide grins. The more our principal tore into us the more we smiled and threw significant looks at each other. I felt like I could barely contain my laughter.
The normal business of school was all but suspended that day. Every teacher, administrator and even janitor we encountered were only interested in yelling at us about what had happened at the pot luck. But none of them could dampen our spirits. One after another they played variations on the same theme, but it all seemed to bounce off of us. The day actually went by quickly and after school I hooked up with my friends to attempt to make sense of it all.
“Wow, that was some night,” Randy said with a magnificent grasp of the obvious.
“You can say that again,” Keith added. “I think I pinched Captain Bob on the ass. Boy oh boy!”
We all laughed about that and then I said, “You know the funny thing is I don’t feel too bad about it. I guess I should feel ashamed and guilty and all that, but I don’t.”
My friends nodded their agreement but were as puzzled as I was. Finally Mike spoke up with the answer to our questions.
“Power,” he said and started to walk across the playground on his way home. We all yelled after him about what he meant. He stopped and turned back to us with a huge smile on his face. “Power,” he repeated. “And didn’t it feel great!” He whooped, threw a fist into the air and ran off.
Of course, he was right. After a lifetime of living in awe and fear of the adult world, us kids had upset the order if only for a brief moment. We had turned the people with power over us into panic-stricken fools.
That realization forever changed my perception of the world. While it didn’t look quite as cozy and safely predictable as before, somehow it was much more exciting. I knew that my life was not completely under control but could be altered in a heartbeat by me or the actions of my peers. Power was already in our young hands to be used or abused. As I grew up into the late 1960’s I would discover that my generation had learned that lesson well.
The “Captain Bob and Melvin Show” stayed on the air for only about a year after that. We heard their popularity was down because they refused to do any more personal appearances.
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