Friday, May 20, 2011

52 Weeks of Genealogy: Commercials (Winky-Dink!)

The entire Winky-Dink show was a commercial! Remember? It was the early days of TV and on our little black/white console we could get channels 2-13 from New York City (thanks to the big antennae on top of the Empire State Building). Winky-Dink was on CBS, channel 2.

I still remember my parents' frustration that we twins would take our crayons and write on the TV screen to help Winky-Dink get out of a tight spot by drawing a bridge or some such. They ultimately bought us some cheapy version of the product so we wouldn't ruin the TV. I bet they heaved a sigh of relief when the show finally, finally went off the air in 1957.

Speaking of TV, because my father was a travel agent with a desk at the Savoy Plaza Hotel across from the famous Plaza Hotel at 57th Street, he got various freebies, including tickets to TV shows that aired from New York City. My twin and I saw Howdy-Doody live (I remember the "kid wrangler" was a bit testy since we studio audience kids were rowdy). Also we were in the audience of the local Wonderama show, starring Sonny Fox.

We saw Ed Sullivan live at least once, but sadly never when the Beatles were the guest stars. Sometimes rock groups would stay at the Savoy Plaza or nearby Hampshire House and Dad would bring us home a 45 rpm record (not autographed) given to him by the manager of Gerry and the Pacemakers, for example. He looked like a hero to his teenaged twin girls!

Growing up, we thought going to see a TV show was just something all NYC kids did.

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