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Greater Egret

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney





Who can forget Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smith? Unfortunately the story goes that most of the original tapes were destroyed by Metromedia in a pissing match with Winchell and very little still survives. Jerry Mahoney, Snuffy Smith, Ignatz and Krazy, Officer Joe Bolton were all part of a New York kid's normal afternoon. The great Bob McCallister Show. Wonderama. He would often wear a John Lennon style military jacket with a peace symbol on it.

I left Texas for New York with my stepfather and my younger brother Buzz in late 1968. We left my sisters, youngest brother and mother behind for about six months as sort of an advance scout team so my stepfather could start a new job with Control Data. We were way beyond broke in those days, maybe one pair of pants and two shirts to my name.

We drove a black Ford Mustang and towed a U-haul trailer out. Don't remember much but we hit the worst blizzard I have ever seen in Jennerstown, Pennsylvania and the hitch tore the bumper off the car. Tow trucks were getting stranded and we were stuck in Jennerstown for three days. Shacked up in an old hotel that I swear was haunted. Doors would mysteriously lock on their own accord, it was nightmarish. My brother and I spent our time reading worn copies of Cracked Magazine.

When we finally got to Long Island, we holed up in a Howard Johnson's in Huntington for a month or two. My brother and I were not allowed to leave. My stepfather, who was abusive, would come home every night and beat the shit out of us for some real and imagined crimes but I think mostly to stay in shape. Our only solace in life was Metromedia Television, King Features Syndicate. I think that we can still recite every commercial that played on WNEW by heart.

We ended up in a shitty little neighborhood in Syosset. Mostly working class Irish and Italian. My parents made me walk to the Esso station, two blocks from the house in the morning to use the bathroom. My stepfather was drinking heavily, straight Oso Negro with the little plastic bear and we quickly became the shame of the neighborhood. Ever live somewhere where you knew you didn't belong? That was Syosset. Lots of petty thievery and violence. Once a train derailed by our house and an army of eleven and twelve year olds offloaded it's cargo, eighteen giant cases of blackberry brandy. And drank it. I shudder to think of the stuff to this day. One of our punishments when we weren't getting beaten was having to pick dandelions out of the ratty yard, I once was restricted and had to do it for a whole summer.

My brother and I finally couldn't take it any more and flew back to California when I was twelve to live with my real father and the wicked stepmother, who eventually shipped me off to boarding school. I remember looking at Buzzy and talking to him about how our whole life up to that point had been consolidated into that one small suitcase...

Palisades has the Park, Palisades has the fun, so come on over...

4 comments:

Unknown said...

yuk yuk yuk great balls of fire, i'm bodacious. remember the days, had forgotten the brand of booze

Blue Heron said...

Nothing like me airing all of our dirty laundry out, ey Buzzy?

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