It’s Time To Play The Music
Sesame Street debuted around the time I reached the age of one. Kermit and company kept me entertained throughout my entire life, whether in the educational format of its original debut on public television, or in syndication as a weekly variety show. In fact, I do recall there were several Saturdays in my youth when The Muppets were not on Saturday evening and as a child I possessed no concept for the reality that a new episode wasn’t available for viewing every single week. I just remember being disappointed when that fun-loving, slightly over-my-head humor wasn’t available after the Saturday evening news. Let’s face it, after thirty minutes of the evening news, we needed the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, muppetational programming available.
When I passed the age when I ought not to have enjoyed the Muppets, either the Sesame Street cast or the celebrity entertainers who now moved on to feature-length, in-theater, live-action adventures, I ought to have been engrossed in more adult fare. Except now, the critters down in Fraggle Rock debuted on the Home Box Office network and they also made me smile. My parents never sprang for the premium channel, so I’d often watch it while babysitting, or at a friend’s house, or whenever I could get a snippet of the little creatures. Their adventures weren’t any more brilliant, in fact they might have been closer to Grover’s mentality than Piggy’s, but I still enjoyed their appeal. I don’t think anyone in my family ever caught the show, but when I could, I would dance my cares away – worries for another day.
I Am A Fraggle
With pronounced characters and behaviors, I identified Gobo, Webley, Red, Mokey, and Boober personas easily and liked a little something in each of them. Gobo was willing to step out of his comfort zone and learn something new, a trait I wished I possessed, but certainly never felt I did. Webley, nearly his alter ego, but also his best friend, was less inclined to be brave, and much more like actual teenage me. Red looked the part of the spirited cheerleader. She flashed bright colors as part of her personality, which I likewise embraced – the colors, not the personality. Mokey was a kind-hearted soul, and while I can’t say I ever was, or even am today, I liked that she saw goodness in everyone. Boober rambled on, and never let anyone see his eyes tucked under his outdated hat.
In the nearly forty years since the Fraggles debuted, you might think it odd that I remember so much from a show I rarely watched, even when it became broadly available on VHS, then on DVD, then on streaming services. But for nearly three-fourths of that time, I owned stuffed versions of nearly all of the characters (except Mokey), so I knew each of them as if they were my little friends. I packed them and moved them from place to place, and when I finally parted with them, the man who bought the entire set from me knew exactly who they were, and so did his child. Like a scene out of Toy Story, they would continue to be a part of someone else’s life in the happiest of ways. As for me, as it turns out, I went on to lead the life of the greatest of all the Fraggles: Uncle Traveling Matt.