My Inner Froggie

INT:  AT THE BAR IN A WESTERN SALOON – PRESENT DAY – NIGHT

                                    MAN

“Howdy Mam, You’re not from around here are you?

                                                               WOMAN

                         “Well, yes I am.  I live three miles East of town with my husband and raise Hereford cattle.

She smiles and takes a sip of Pinot Grigio.

                                              MAN

Yeh, but you weren’t always from here, were ya?

The woman swivels around in the bar stool, unwraps a gorgeous large scarf, and faces her inquisitor square in the eye:

                                             WOMAN

“Well, Pardner, you got me there.  It’s a long story, but let me buy ya a drink and I’ll try and give it to you short and straight.”

This exchange happens about every week.  Some stranger at the local watering hole in Little Twig, Montana asks the woman, that is, me, those questions.  Not sure whether it’s the hat I’ve got on, or the cat’s eye glasses, or the designer scarf, or what, but I get spotted for an outsider right away.  Oh, and, before we go any further most people don’t talk in Old Timey kind of jargon.  That’s just how I hear it in my head sometimes.

I could begin my story by telling the tale of how I met a rancher while visiting a movie set in Montana and soon after got the boot from a Hollywood talent agency and ended up moving to the ranch.

Or I could begin my story when I stopped working on my doctoral dissertation on “The Actor’s Studio’s Influence on Film” and flew the coop to try and act and direct plays in New York City.

Or further back yet to watching “Smilin’ Ed’s Gang” that I called “The Buster Brown Show” because it was sponsored by Buster Brown Shoes. “Buster Brown, he lives in a shoe.  Here’s his dog Tige, he lives there too.”  When Ed died,  Andy Devine took over and it became “Andy’s Gang”.  “I’ve got a gang.  You’ve got a gang.  Everybody’s got to have a gang.”  Both shows featured Squeaky the Mouse, Midnight the Cat (a very creepy black cat with a real head and fake paws), and most memorably for me, Froggy the Gremlin.

2013_12_08_08_47_29.pdf000Sister Deb and I getting ready to watch Froggy.

Each week Froggy would be summoned by Andy with a strange command: “Plunk your magic twanger, Froggy.” And Froggy would appear in a puff of smoke on top of the grandfather clock and greet the kids with a deep gravelly bass voice, “Hiya kids, hiya, hiya, hiya.”

He would do something horrible to an adult each week.  Then he would hop up and down and say, “I promise to be good, I will, I will, I will.  For example:

                                      MONSIEUR BON BON (with French accent)

So you take zee noodles and mix them with zee red tomato sauce….

                         FROGGY (who appears on top of the clock)

 And you pour it on your head.

                                                     MONSIEUR BON BON

And you pour it on your head.

                        (and he pours it on his head)

Oh noooooo!  Look what you have done.

FROGGY (hopping about)

Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, I’m sorry.  I’m sorry. I am, I am.  I promise to be good.  I will, I will, I will.

 The next week, the guest is a scientist.

                                                SCIENTIST (with German accent)

   You take de tube of sulfuric acid…

                                                FROGGY

   And you pour it in your ear.

                                                SCIENTIST

  And you pour it in your ear.

                         (And he pours it in his ear and smoke comes out of it)

 OOOOH NOOOO!  Look what you made me do.

                                                FROGGY  (Hopping about)

  I promise to be good.  I will, I will, I will.

Froggy stirred things up and every week proved that adults were a bunch of boobs.    Also, Froggy liked to say to Andy, “You big square!”  So Froggy had more than a bit of beatnik in him too. That was some cool gremlin.  Be bop a do.  No wonder I dreamed of being a real hip cat and blowin’ each current pop stand I was inhabiting.

When I think about this show that encourages defying authority and at the same time preaches the importance of solidarity as in being part of a gang, it’s no wonder some parents viewed this as wicked and subversive.  Well, because it was…subversive that is.  I especially liked the subversive part at the end of the show when Andy would tell all the kids after they had watched Froggy do his magic, “Remember to go to church this week and Sunday school.”  Oh right, that’s the ticket.  Sin all week and then make sure you go to church to even the odds.

So with family runaways like Aunt Dorothy in fox furs and Grandpa who stowed away in a ship’s hold to get to America as role models and a mentor like Froggy, how could I not become a little anarchist with a tendency to try to escape the cage called adulthood?  Hey, I’m sorry, I am, I am, I am!

IMG_0839Froggy and Aunt Dorothy

Further study on Froggy and Friends:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFpzTaICKQU

And the creepy Midnight the Cat and Squeaky the Mouse do Three Blind Mice

Midnight and Squeaky on a Tropical Isle

2 responses to “My Inner Froggie

  1. Not many square pegs trying to fit into round holes out there, eh? We square pegs stand out everywhere we go…

  2. Maybe we are the round holes that can’t fit into the square world.

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