Archive for July, 2017

Back in the early ‘70s, kids would run home after school to catch their favorite cartoon or other kids’ show coming on TV at 3:00. My favorite was the cartoon “Kimba the White Lion.” He was a cute little cub. I can hardly remember what that cartoon was about, but I remember the theme song:



As the seasons went by, my favorite changed to “The Banana Splits”– a groovy, goofy Hanna-Barbera gem with an addicting theme song (“Tra la la, la la la la”). The Banana Splits were four surreal animals (dudes in costumes) that did crazy antics, skits and songs, and they’d play short episodes of different cartoons or live-action shows every day.  They featured “Arabian Knights,” “The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and my favorite, “Danger Island,” a crazy cliffhanger about explorers on a tropical island tormented by pirates and natives. (“Uh-oh, Chongo!”) It was awesome … if you were 11.



Once I hit 13, my afternoon favorite changed to “The Mike Douglas Show” where I’d hope to catch dreamy guest stars like Shaun Cassidy or Andy Gibb. If the TV Guide said one of these ‘70s teen idols would be on a certain day, that afternoon at school after the last bell rang you’d see flocks of junior high school girls fleeing the school grounds like their Dittos were on fire.

There was another afternoon show that always had a pay-off, for someone. It was “Dialing for Dollars.” In the San Francisco Bay Area, Pat McCormick hosted the show, which featured an afternoon movie and offered viewers the chance at a cash prize. Pat was a Bay Area icon. He also hosted the “Charley and Humphrey Show,” another hit with the local kids.



On Dialing for Dollars, there were several intermissions throughout the movie when Pat would call some lucky Bay Area viewer who could win the jackpot … IF they were watching and knew the infamous Count and Amount. The Count was a number code like “2 From the Top” or “7 From the Bottom,” and the Amount was the jackpot – usually somewhere between $100 and $300 dollars. Big bucks, people. Sometimes my sisters and I would sit through the dumbest movies on the planet waiting for Pat to call our house. He never did. But he did call my Grandma Smothers once. She wasn’t watching the TV, because she was probably making Calabasitas, so she didn’t know the Count and the Amount. But they sent her a gift certificate for Chicken Delight in the mail as a consolation prize. Which was actually pretty cool. Chicken Delight was quite the rage when I was a kid.

I remember one night when my Dad was working swing shift at Mare Island, Mom ordered Chicken Delight for us. It must’ve been a PayDay Friday. Chicken Delight was about the only place that actually delivered food to your door back then. Mom laid a blanket out on the living room floor so we could have an indoor picnic with our Chicken Delight delicacies. I remember chicken, but not much else. I imagine there was cole slaw or french fries or rolls, but whatever there was, it wasn’t Friday Night Casserole, so it was delicious.


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