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» Monday, May 11, 2009Familiarity Breeds...Recognition
"Everything is connected to everything else. That's what makes it so hard to keep a secret."Author David Gerrold used to have a regular column in Starlog in which he discussed all and sundry having to do with science fiction. Occasionally he would provide aphorisms alà Woodrow Wilson Smith, a.k.a. Lazarus Long, the long-lived Howard families' most famous member (LOL...perhaps at least in his own mind), via his creator Robert Heinlein. Gerrold called his sage "Solomon Short" in homage to Bob Heinlein and came up with things like "Half of being smart is knowing what you're dumb at," "The only perfection in the universe is death. Once you're perfectly dead, you stop making mistakes," “A diploma only proves that you know how to look up answers,” and “The only winner in the War of 1812 was Tchaikovsky.”
One of my favorites of the Solomon Short collection was the quotation above, which I thought of on Friday when Ivan mentioned in his blog that Deep Discount (formerly Deep Discount DVD) was having a sale on DVDs in $3, $5, $7, and $9 increments. I went searching in the collection and found cool stuff I'd watched as a kid, like Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion, a couple of future gifts, and, for $7, the entire collection of Narnia stories as done on the BBC and presented on PBS in the 1980s under the Wonderworks banner. (What happened to those Wonderworks presentations anyway? And the stories shown on Once Upon a Classic? I would love to have their version of What Katy Did.) They're not as flashy as the new Dreamworks ones, but they were quite good and Tom Baker is Puddleglum the Marshwiggle in The Silver Chair.
The one thing that made me excited was what looked like a second volume of episodes of The Littlest Hobo. This was the original 1960s series, not the remake from the late 1970s, about a peripatetic German Shepherd who "made stops along the road without end" to help humans. If Lassie was Mary Worth, London as "the littlest hobo" was more like a canine Dr. Phil who wordlessly guided the errant humans. I used to love the series. It came on Friday nights where we were, so that a typical Friday evening in 1965 would be The Littlest Hobo (I think on Channel 6, then WTEV, now WLNE), followed by Wild, Wild West and finally Hogan's Heroeswhat a lineup! In addition, about every six to nine months, London and his trainer, Charles Eisenmann, would show up on The Mike Douglas Show, and Eisenmann would put the big German Shepherd through his paces. (London was not the typical black-saddled tan German Shepherd we kids knew from the Rin Tin Tin TV series, but a coloration called "black and silver" which gave him very wolfish markings. He was a gorgeous dog!)
I'd only watched a few of the episodes on the 12-episode Hobo DVD set I already had, and there were no titles on the packaging, so I popped the second disk in the DVD player to check if the episodes they had listed on this "volume 2" appearing on Deep Discount were different. Sadly, they were the same episodes as I had. But I was arrested immediately by the production logo at the very end of one of the programs: it was made to look like a signboard hanging from a decorative metal holder, like an old wayside inn sign, in a form that looked very familiar, and had the name Storer Programs, Inc. on it.
It couldn't be.
So I looked it up, and laughed. Storer Programs, Inc., who distributed the program I so loved when I was between eight and ten, was the company of the same Mr. George Storer who founded WSBK-TV38 in Boston, creators of the television show I fell in love with at age 25: the one and only Ask the Manager.
Everything is indeed connected to everything else!