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Don't Outgrow Your Childhood Dreams
I long ago resigned myself to the fact that most of my childhood dreams would remain unrealized.
I was not going to be an astronaut. I was not going to be a cowboy. No rich uncle was going to leave me a fortune.
I can report, however, that one dream did come true, albeit rather recently, when I sang a song with - hang on to your hats, boys and girls - Harlow Hickenlooper and Curley Myers.
While that is sinking in with my fellow Central Indiana Baby Boomers, allow me to explain to you newcomers.
Back during the Golden Age of Kidhood, the late 1950s through the mid-1960s, Harlow and Curley were the biggest TV stars in town, for the peanut-butter-and-jelly crowd. Curley hosted Cowboy Theater and Harlow hosted the Three Stooges Show, both on Channel 6, then known as WFBM (WoofBoom). Then they teamed up on the Saturday Stooges show, and did a weekday program with another local kidvid star, Cap'n Starr.
Every kid on my block was a devoted fan. My friend Frank Dean and I both credit Curley (real name Gerald), a splendid guitarist and singer, with sparking our interest in the guitar. And straw-hatted, stripey-coated Harlow (also known as Hal Fryar) ... well, Harlow was every kid's pal - a warm presence on the screen of the family Zenith, having fun, singing his goofy birthday song and taking pies in the face.
And they were funny. You always waited until the commercial to go reload your cereal bowl because you didn't want to miss anything.
They always had kids in the audience, playing games, singing, performing in skits. Naturally, I wanted to be on the show and do likewise. Just as naturally, my parents said no -- "no" being their answer to just about everything in those days. (I still think keeping an elephant in the back yard would have been a cool idea.)
This gets me to what was best about Harlow and Curley: They were ours. They were part of the community. If they were appearing at a shopping mall or a grand opening, you could go and see them and meet them. (You could, I couldn't. See above re: parents.)
We felt connected to them in a way that you couldn't with a network star. I feel kind of sorry for the kids who came along later and never knew what that was like.
Ah, well. Back to the story. This childhood dream of performing with Harlow and Curley went unrealized ... until a few Saturdays ago, at the IndianaActors.com film festival in Brownsburg. Harlow and Curley were there to sing and tell some jokes ... and they chose for a joke version of "Oh, Sweet Mystery of Life" ...
Me. The kid from Gilmore Road who always wanted to be on the show, singing with the heroes of my kidhood Saturday mornings.
See what I mean? Dreams do come true.
All right, disclosure time: Hal Fryar is actually a dear friend and mentor to me. And we had cooked it all up ahead of time. But still, it was me and Harlow singing while Curley played, and as far as I'm concerned, it counts. They even showed a Stooges short right afterward. Dream realized, and lesson learned: Always keep dreaming, because it's never too late.
I'll think I'll call NASA.
© 2007 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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