Sunday, July 20, 2014
When I was four going on five, TV meant two things: Disney's Wonderful World of Color, and Maverick.
I don't recall any of the stories, really. Just Tinkerbell at the Disney opening, turning noir into glorious color. Ting-ting-ting. A transformation quite magical, considering our set was black-and-white.
And the beautiful Bret Maverick, someone I thought a dead ringer for my beautiful Uncle Fred. (Still do, though I haven't seen my Uncle Fred since he got out of prison in the early 80's.)
My parents didn't watch Disney with me and my sister. Mom was probably making cherries jubilee, and Dad out spraying the yard with DDT.
But we all gathered together for Maverick. So did the neighbors. We often watched Maverick at their house, on a TV that didn't need a whack on the head to come to order.
Every Maverick night (Sundays, maybe?) was a huge event for me. With my trusty steed King Emerald (plastic horse head on broomstick -- placeholder for times to come) by my side, I'd be dressed in my best cowboy clothes (hat, fringe jacket), a holster slung from waist to hip, or an approximation of waist and hips, given I had no hips, only a sizable Biafran belly -- a physiology which pushed the cap-loaded six-shooter somewhere near my knees.
Maybe I wouldn't even remember Maverick, except for one night. I had a front row seat, as always. And one of the adults (Tommy, he was nine), crept up to me and whispered in my ear, "Kiss him." My parents were not a demonstrative people, and I knew that I would probably get some words about this back home. But then Tommy said, "I dare you." So when Bret came on, I ran to the TV and kissed the screen. Everyone cheered and applauded; or so it seemed.
I'm sure I did get words back home. But it didn't matter. I had kissed Bret Maverick.
This is the other maverick, my Uncle Fred. (I'm the bald one.)