Thursday, June 22, 2006

Circus 3

circus 3
My brother informs me that Channel 3, in Madison, Wisconsin, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week. Which means that Channel 3 must have gone on the air within a week of when I was born at Madison General Hospital. (As I got up this morning, I told myself: I'm still in my 40s for two more days yet...)

Actually, if I'd thought, I would've remembered this. Because I remember 25 years ago, back in June of 1981, I was living in an apartment in Madison— as I mentioned the other day, I'd just finished up my master's degree in math at the UW. And I remember at that time Channel 3 celebrating its 25th anniversary by broadcasting a week of old Surfside Six episodes.

When I was a youngster, growing up in a small town north of Madison, one of the big things on Channel 3 was a locally produced show called Circus 3. They had cartoons, they had kids sitting in little bleachers on camera, they had Howie Olson and the famous ventriloquist's dummy, Cowboy Eddie. My brother and I used to watch Circus 3 on TV after school. In fact, for my sixth birthday (this was 1962) I appeared on Circus 3, sitting there in the bleachers. I remember my folks were sort of nervous because, at the last moment, I'd gotten the idea that I was going to look for an opportunity to tell, live on the air, a joke I had made up which I was convinced was the funniest joke of all time:
Q: What did the high step say to the low step?

A: "You're too low to step on!"
Fortunately I somehow never got around to it.

When I was a kid, there were jokes at school about "Cowpie Eddie," and about Cowboy Eddie and termites, or Cowboy Eddie and sawdust. Now my brother tells me that Cowboy Eddie is back in town for Channel 3's 50th anniversary celebration.

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