What makes us who we are? When we are caught misbehaving who do we point fingers at? In trying to find the culprits involved in shaping my persona, I have previously examined the children’s show “Andy’s Gang” with it’s rascally thing called “Froggy the Gremlin” who appeared when Andy Devine declared “Pluck your magic twanger, Froggy.” Lot of Freud couch time for that expression.
Today I will examine another TV show called “Winky Dink and You“.
Each week there was some sort of puzzle to figure out by completing the picture on the TV. And each week you would help Winky Dink complete a mission. You could do this if you purchased the magic Winky Dink drawing screen which turned out to be a piece of vinyl plastic that you put on the TV screen. Then you took the magic crayon that came with it and drew on the TV. An example would be Winky Dink needing a bridge to cross a river. You would draw the bridge. This seems to be one of the first examples of interactive games on something like a TV.
More often than not, the kids could not get there parents to fork over the dough for the magic screen. And I too could not convince my parents of the necessity of the screen. Times were supposedly good and idyllic back in the 1950s, but my Dad did not make a lot of money. We were always told that we couldn’t afford this or that. But somehow he managed to take flying lessons. But that’s another part of the puzzle to be looked at later.
In this instance, it may have been that the whole Winky Dink thing was stupid and our parents just did not want to participate in this consumer scam. But we had a way of getting around this. Mom’s lipstick seemed to be a very good substitute for the magic crayon. And why did you need a magic piece of plastic when you could just draw on the TV screen?
A lot of kids, I hear, got whacked for drawing on the brand new TV especially the not so bright ones who used permanent ink instead of something that could be easily wiped off. I too received a bit of scolding. But at least my father agreed that he didn’t see the need to purchase some thingamajig when we could maybe use waxed paper.But that wasn’t great. We tried holding up a piece of glass while one of us used the crayon. But that was way too much labor for the not very interesting puzzle anyway. I vaguely recall that we finally got our 50¢ Winky Dink Kit and also recall become immediately bored with it.
I think there must have been a lot of complaints from parents and that might have been one of the reasons it went off the air. But it was another example for me anyway of ways to not follow the rules and to invent a way around the system. It was much more fun and creative than the actual kit. And my Dad helped. Disobedience, as Martha would say, is a good thing.