Number 20


Mr. Bean's Farm TV show set In the early 1950s in Albany, New York, a local television station ran an after-school kiddie show called Mr. Bean's Farm. Here you see a photograph of the children's audience which was called the "Little Chicks." Some of you from the area may remember it. It was your typical local kids' program, and it was hosted by "Farmer Bean," who doubled as the station's weatherman. What most people don't know is that this show and its host were loosely based on the real William Bean, who was a distant relative of the station manager. The show didn't last long, being replaced by Howdy Doody and the "Peanut Gallery," I think, but I'll bet many folks around here haven't forgotten its hokey amiability, talking animals, and utter lack of sense. Like the universe, the show had the feel of being created on the fly and left to amble along until signoff. Unlike today's contemptible, rubbishy, and dumb children's shows, Mr. Bean's Farm made few (if any) attempts to program children for robotic consumer behavior. It also did not undermine adult authority by promoting the specious ideas that children are imbued with a natural wisdom and that adults are completely bewildered nincompoops.
The Lakeside Hotel Yes, you guessed it! Here we have a vintage photograph of the Lakeside Hotel (featured in Freddy Goes Camping) on the northern shore of Oteseraga Lake near Lakeville. (Click here for a map.) This is an old view of the hotel, taken a number of years before Gertrude Filmore restored and refurbished the place in the late '40s. The hotel no longer exists, having been gutted, modernized, and converted into condominiums a while ago, at which time a water treatment facility was finally built on the property to keep its sewage from running, as it had been for decades, directly into the lake.
Another old shot of Main Street Another previously unpublished (at least I think so) photograph of old, old Main Street, Centerboro. I'm starting to forget which pictures of Centerboro I've shipped up to the site. If you look closely, you can even see the old electric lines above the trolley. I won't go into my usual rant about the half-wits who destroyed downtown Centerboro again, but I will say "Those were the days!"
Boomschmidt Circus bear act Was there ever a real bear upon which Brooks's character "Freginald" was based? I don't know for certain, but there must have been at least one bear act in Boomschmidt's circus as shown in this picture, another of those snapshots I got from Hercules, taken by Hercules himself. Dim as he was, he evidently was capable of aiming a simple Brownie camera and pushing the shutter button. However, Hercules couldn't tell me very much about the lovely young lady or her partner depicted here. "Don' remember nuthin' 'bout this, Eddie" was about all I could get out of the poor fellow. I do not recollect ever having seen this act in Centerboro. Perhaps it was added after Boomschmidt's one-ringed circus curtailed its northernmost travels and confined itself to the hinterland towns around the Mason-Dixon Line and before it went bankrupt following Orestes' horrifying accident.
My devil mask Over the nearly four years this site has existed, a number of curious Freddyites have asked me whether I really wore masks to frighten people out of their wits and though the story in Freddy Goes Camping were true. The answer to this stupid question is: of course not! All my efforts to promulgate The Truth™ have bounced off some obdurately thick skulls, it seems. It is a rare occasion that I don a mask, and never for illegal purposes. For those who are interested, here is one mask I put on for Hallowe'en to celebrate my birthday and to greet the little urchins who still venture forth to roam the dark streets begging for candy--although few approach my house. I also used to wear a Josef Stalin mask, but I gave that away in one of my website jackpots. I also have another mask--a kitty cat--that I wear on special playful occasions in the company of Mrs. Underdunk.
The Boomschmidt bandwagon In this photograph from my mother's family albums, the Boomschmidt bandwagon rolls into town, no doubt playing the Boomschmidt marching song, which Mr. Brooks actually quotes accurately in his little series. What a splendid experience the circus parade was! Today I'm sure you'd have your animal rights folks protesting all along the parade route--perhaps with good reason--but back in the halcyon days of the traveling circus, one just innocently enjoyed the spectacle.

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