Friday, February 10, 2006
There once was a time when video games were really starting to catch on but I don' t think the Atari was on the scene yet. And every day after school you could come home, catch a snack and turn the channel to TV POW! It was basically a cartoon show that got cranked up about 3:00 p.m. and would last until like 5:30 p.m....it was a Latch-Key Kid extravaganza....and it had all the standards....lot's o' Tom and Jerry, Pop-Eye and Bugs Bunny. They would sometimes show the really old cartoons too, where all the characters had those big black eyes, the same goofy smiles and they always bounced up and down while standing. Even the sun and flowers had little smiley faces. And the characters either talked really mean or like they were huffing helium.
But in between the cartoons and the commercials, they would play TV Pow! What would happen is a kid would call in and be accepted to play. Then the show would go live and it was time to play! And basically they would show this video game screen (and remember, this was before Pac-Man) and it was a crude baseball diamond. And the ball would pitch....and the kid would have to yell "POW!" over the telephone, which would activate the little bat to hit the ball. If you hit all of them, you won some kind of prize, I can't remember what.
Whaddaya mean, that's lame? Is was live action video gaming, by God. Over the telephone, on live TV! And you got several hours of cartoons to boot! And old cartoons that they never showed anymore and haven't shown since! The really fun parts would happen when you get some boisterous Type-A kid on there and when it was time to play he'd immediately start screaming "POW-POW-POW-POW-POW-POW-POW!" and the little bat would be going crazy and they'd have to stop and get the kid calmed down. Or the Type-B kid who would forget what she was even on the phone for to begin with.
But the best day of all was when they got some kid on there who had an alarming Southern accent, even by Southern standards. He was about as energetic as Eeyore the mule and every time he said "POW!" it came out sounding something like "PAI-YULL!" Well, this was more than the game sensor could handle and the word "PAI-YULL!" would not activate the bat to swing. So the host tries to get the kid to yell louder....."PAI-YULL! PAI-YULL!" I swear, my sister and I were laughing so hard we were having to prop each other up. The game sensor would simply NOT react to one word being stretched out to what amounted to two words. So then the host tries to teach the kid to say it right.
HOST: Say POW! Billy.
My sides were splitting and my vision was starting to go black. I can't even remember how the whole sorry thing ended....I think they gave him a prize anyway.
Sometimes even now...all these years later....my sister or I will look at each other and simply said "PAI-YULL" and collapse into fits of laughter. Good times.
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