This week’s Five for Friday highlights some fabulous firsts from my childhood:
- My First time on TV – The Uncle Bill Show. This was a really cheesy show that aired each weekday afternoon in Fresno, CA. It was an hour long and (if I remember right) featured Gilligan’s Island during the first half-hour, then The Flintstones during the second. The studio audience was made up of kids. Each day there would be a featured group from the audience – generally a birthday kid and a few of his friends. Uncle Bill was the host (not even close to Captain Kangaroo) who would interview the featured kids and have them play with some toys that were provided by the sponsor of the show. The original reality TV. A friend’s mom arranged for him (and a few others of us) to be on the show on his birthday. We were in fourth grade. The next day I actually had kids at school asking me for my autograph.
- My First Album Purchased (yes, album… as in record album – made of vinyl – I’m old, ok?) – The Turtles. I was a first grader and the music was cool – even if the band was not (as evidenced by the video). This was the beginning of a lifetime love affair with Rock.
- My First “Real” Bike – Schwinn Stingray – metal-flake gold with a banana seat and sissy bar. I loved that bike and actually won a “best of” in a bike parade. I even had one of those little vanity license plates with my name on it. I thought I was cool – it would have helped my esteem immeasurably if other kids would have thought so too.
- My First Pre-celebrity Sighting – Steve Martin. My friends and I used to hang out at Disneyland and no day was complete without a visit to the magic shop. There was a young guy who worked there that we thought was kind of funny. We would stop in and he would talk with us and demonstrate some magic tricks, then we would generally end up buying one of them. Can you imagine how our jaws dropped a few years later when we saw him on Saturday Night Live? I remember being with a group of people and two of us looking at each other and shouting, “The Magic Shop Guy!”
- My First Concert – The Ohio Players. I went by myself in the middle of the 70s. I think I was the only white guy in the house. It’s still the best time I’ve ever had at a concert. I start singing Rollercoaster every time my family goes to an amusement park – my kids don’t believe Rollercoaster is a real song (maybe it’s because of the way I sing it).