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View Full Version : Jeff MacNelly: Did this really happen?


Rilchiam
05-07-2000, 07:12 PM
Someone told me an anecdote about Jeff MacNelly, the cartoonist: "Shoe" and editorial cartoons. Supposedly, his turning point was when he was a school kid. Like most kids of his generation, he loved Howdy Doody, and Clarabell was his hero. (Yes, I know that was Bob Keeshan.) He was on the list to get into the Peanut Gallery, and when he finally got on the show, Buffalo Bob called him up from the audience to assist in a skit. Woohoo! So he's being led across the stage, under a snow-making machine...and he stops, looks up into it, and on (I think) live TV, says, "Wow, that's neat! How does it work?" An arm yanked him off camera, and a guttural voice said, "Shut up, kid." The voice, of course, was Clarabell's. So that was the defining incident that made him a cynic.

But I question this anecdote, especially if this was supposed to be live TV, because Clarabell never talked, until the very last minute of the very last broadcast, and that was a very big deal. Sponsors were always hounding the producers to let Clarabell's first word be the name of their product, but his silence was famous, and wasn't broken until "Goodbye, kids". So wouldn't an unscripted, out-of-character moment be more infamous?

RealityChuck
05-07-2000, 10:54 PM
Without commenting on the truth (though I don't think Macnelly would lie), as long as Clarabelle was out of the range of the mic, it doesn't matter if he says anything. And even if the mic picks him off, if he's off camera, no one will realize it's him. So it's not surprising no one would notice this type of break in character.

Alphagene
05-08-2000, 12:24 AM
Hmmmm, I dunno. The whole thing stinks of UL to me.

Sounds a little too much like the UL where some kid told Bozo to "Cram it" (http://snopes.com/radiotv/tv/bozo.htm) and the one that has Uncle Don muttering "that oughta hold the little bastards!" (http://snopes.com/radiotv/radio/bastards.htm).

All three have the shocker of "inappropriate behavior on a live kids' show from the Golden Age of Television"

Snopes doen't mention the Jeff MacNelly story, however.

Girl Next Door
05-08-2000, 12:44 AM
My husband was five years old when Bob Keeshan came to visit his father's museum (this was Dayton in the early 70's). Thrilled to finally be meeting the Captain, the lil' guy walked up to him and said "Hi!". Keeshan just started blankly at him and resumed talking to the adult he was chatting with.

You can't even mention the name "Captain Kangaroo" without my husband spitting with disgust.

Rilchiam
05-08-2000, 01:43 AM
Without commenting on the truth (though I don't think Macnelly would lie), as long as Clarabelle was out of the range of the mic, it doesn't matter if he says anything. And even if the mic picks him off, if he's off camera, no one will realize it's him. So it's not surprising no one would notice this type of break in character.


I see. Thank you.

crypto
05-08-2000, 01:43 AM
Alphagene, you've depressed me. When I was a kid, I borrowed the Kermit Shaeffer "Bloopers!" albums from the local library. One of my favorite bloopers was the "Aw, fuck off, clown." line from the Bozo show. To learn it is an urban legend is a crushing blow. The worst part was clicking on the real audio link and hearing that sound clip from the past... and realizing it was a fabrication.

<sigh>

another childhood memory shot to shit....

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