Dom put a Philco television in the storefront glass window and
on Saturday mornings, he’d turn it to one of the two broadcast
channels where “Howdy Doody” sang and danced with Buffalo Bob
and foiled Mr. Bluster. Dom would set out chairs on his sidewalk in
view of the television and let the neighborhood kids gather: boys in
overalls and cowboy shirts; girls in plaid or printed dresses with turned
down ankle socks. They formed their own Peanut Gallery, watching
the antics in flickering kinescope and shouting out their comments
and correct answers. Not so secretly, they hoped that one day, their faces
and voices would be beamed across America or at least into Dom’s TV.
And could any of them ever know that in a dozen short years, their glazed
eyes, their chilling shouts, and bodies, whole and parts, would be sent
into their friends’ and families’ living rooms via grainy films from Saigon,
Ka San, Mei Lai, those unknown pinpricks on pastel maps even farther
away than “Doodyville.”
Laurence Carr is a Hudson Valley NY writer and the publisher of Lightwood.