Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Winky Dink and me
I hadn't thought about the TV show Winky Dink and You for years, until I unearthed this old comic from my basement dungeon. The kids' show, which ran from 1953-57, is claimed to be television's first interactive show. Kid viewers needed a Winky Dink Kit, which included a "magic screen"--like a piece of cling wrap for food--some magic crayons and a mitt to erase the marks. The kids would adhere the magic screen to the TV screen and when prompted, they might draw a bridge for Winky Dink to cross so he could escape the villain. Yawn. I was intrigued enough that I talked my dad into buying me the kit. I saw that a Winky Dink Kit sold on eBay for over $150, so I should have hung onto it instead of an old, beat-up, coverless comic book.
In the story, Winky goes to the jungle. The natives are pictured in a racist fashion. Sorry, I don't mean to offend anyone.
Jack Barry, who was the genial host of Winky Dink and You, was later implicated in the quiz show scandal of the 1950s, and didn't work on network TV for years after he lost his shows in the wake of the investigation. It's a story well told by Robert Redford in the movie, Quiz Show, with John Turturro and Ralph Fiennes.
This clip from YouTube pretty much shows what we tuned into when we watched Winky Dink and You. It's a 9-minute clip, and if you're like me, you'll tune out after about 3 minutes, having gotten the essence without watching any more of the inanities.
With a name like Winky Dink, I think Winky Dink and You should be revived as a porno. I can only imagine what the interactive would be like.