A pearl of parenting wisdom, imparted upon yours truly in a Greenwich Village bar by (pardon the name drop) Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead: “Having a hangover makes all of your middle-class pretensions about your kids not watching television go out the window.” True. Dat.
I must admit, though, that I never had ANY middle-class pretensions about the boy growing up in a TV-free zone. Growing up in the television paradise that was Southern California, I learned early on that television could be rad. But it can also be radioactive, glowing crack. The slack-jaw machine. As such, I’ve always felt that the boy’s TV watching was something that had to be curated and, most importantly, palatable to me. If I was going to have to sit there and let him watch something, especially while I was nursing an orange juice and a headache in the early morning, it’d have to be something that I dug, too. Pingu’s nonsense, wordless slapstick got the thumbs-up. The Little Einsteins’ feel-good pedantry? Hell no. Know-it-all little creeps. Can’t stand ‘em.
So since his early years, the boy’s been the lone attendee of a long-running scattershot film series. One of our favorite recurring features? This bizarre gem that I first caught in the late-70s while watching Family Film Festival on KTLA 5, hosted by the mighty Tom Hatten. It never fails: