November 26th, 2005

krazy koati

He's got the country in a whirl

The wonderful thing about having a guest is you don't know when you're going to spend an evening trying to think of Jack Barry's name. He was the host of Tic-Tac-Dough, daytime edition, in the 50s, and producer for that Quiz Show Scandal-tainted show. What got us on the question of remembering his name was going to a sidewalk sale from Popular, a chain of books, videos, CDs, and miscellaneous other things, including many school books.

Since they had many educational books we naturally looked them over, to find many which were amusing in one way or another. Indeed, we couldn't resist buying The Naughty Squirrel, who is naughty in that he taunts elephants who accidentally fall into the river. ``Squirrel booed and laughed at Elephant. Elephant was very uneasy with Squirrel's attitude.'' Like all good books it gives insight into the motives of those who wrong others: ``[ Squirrel ] was very jealous with the clossness [ sic ] of other animals.'' And I don't wish to give the plot away, but he learns an important lesson about people.

One of the Mathematics instruction books -- for schoolchildren -- had an elephant using a magnifying glass to study a mouse, who's drawing a tic-tac-toe board on the glass. Thus we got to thinking of Tic-Tac-Dough, and while we couldn't think of the original host we remembered it was a Jack Barry-Dan Enright production; somehow the connection between Jack Barry and Jack Barry eluded us. This even though we both remembered the ``thinking music'' from the Wink Martindale version of the game, which I last saw in 1981.

Some of the books got downright creepy, particularly the Mandarin books whose plots we had to guess from pictures. Some were adaptations of ``Cinderella'' or ``The Boy Who Cried Wolf'' -- complete with blood where the wolf was biting a sheep's neck. Another seemed to be, ``Cat and Fox have pleasant conversation until Fox gets killed by hunters, and Cat smiles.'' At least Fox was captured by a Hound, but why, who knows. I can't think of any fairy tale that fits.

Trivia: Spanish King Charles I ordered the first surveying of the Isthmus of Panama for a canal in 1534. Source: Remaking the World, Henry Petroski.

Currently Reading: Explorers of the Infinite, Sam Moskowitz.