Dark and, at times, amusing fiction from award-winning author Dave Zeltserman

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Sheriff of Boomtown

Hearing about Rex Trailer passing away made me think back about when I was Sheriff of Boomtown. Trailer hosted a local Boston TV show called Boomtown that was on the air here from '56 to -74. One year for my sister's birthday (I think she was 7 which would've made me 10) she got tickets for the show, and my parents told me I had to go on the show with her to watch over her. One of the show's bits would be picking one of the kids to be Sheriff. They'd have another kid photographed in a Wanted poster in costume, and the Sheriff's role would be to pick out the wanted kid out of a parade of all the kids in the audience. The Sheriff never picked the right kid --he'd always end up picking out someone who didn't look remotely like the costumed outlaw, and coming off as a doofus in the process. When they picked me to be the Sheriff, I told them no thanks, but they told me too bad, I was it, and of course like every other Sheriff, I picked out a kid who didn't look anything like the wanted disguised kid. Here's why. On TV the parade of kids looks like it goes on forever, on the show, they didn't put you in position to pick out your target until at least 3/4s of the kids had already walked by. In other words, it was fixed! Since you have to pick someone, you end up just grabbing one of the kids at random., and every kid watching at home ends up thinking, what a doofus! 
Now my sister, probably because it was her birthday, got picked for this really sweet contest--the one that every kid who watched the show would dream of being picked for. They had a board filled with balloons, and each balloon has a slip of paper inside indicating a gift, like a bike or toy of some type, and whatever balloons you pop with 3 darts you win the corresponding gifts. When you watched it at home you would dream of being picked and tossing the darts up so they'd fall and pop 3-4 balloons each. With my sisters 3 darts, she hit Trailers sidekick Billy with one of them, and completely missed the balloons with the other 2 (I think one of of them hit the balloons sideways). So we got to take home Sidekick Billy, but she didn't get any toys out of it. Sidekick Billy, who on TV looked 80 but was just a 20 something year-old guy with a lot of makeup, was my sister's responsibility since she won him, but she was only 7, and after a few weeks of not watering or feeding him, we found him dead in the basement. Rex Trailer got a new sidekick after that, but I can't remember what this new guy's name was.


Robert Lopresti said...

Okay, I am not sure that your memories are entirely accurate. In NY they had a show called Wonderama. The highlight was two kids parked in front of a treasure chest with two locks and hu dress of keys. They spent the whole show trying keys. If one of them unlocked the chest that kid held out his or her arms and they piled toys until the kid nearly collapsed.

Dave Zeltserman said...

If the kid loading toys into the arms of the other kid succeeds in collapsing the other kid, would he get to keep the toys?

The things that used to exist to entertain us kids!

I'm pretty sure my recollections are correct, although it's possible that some 'shrooms I did in the 80s might've messed up part of it, and it could've been my sister's pet tortoise that she forgot to feed and water,and that we found dead in the basement...