This week I was working with my second grade reading students. I’ve been in the Community Volunteer Readers for five years and the program is working wonders with the kids. After all, if you don’t learn to read you can’t read to learn.
One of my little gals has started using a clear blue plastic sheet to cover the words and her eyes are functioning better without the glare of the illustrated color that fills most of our books for that age group. It brought back memories of my childhood and when I related my plastic sheet story she just looked at me with that gaze that tells every old fogey…”you’re certainly an old fogey.”
I ordered, or talked my mom into ordering, my magic color screen for our black and white television. I saw it advertised on the “Rootie Kazootie” show. Since the show was on the air from 1951- 1954, and thankfully has never been in re-runs, most of you have no idea who Rootie Kazootie is…or was. That’s a good thing because our kids are using enough high-capacity brain functions with Sponge Bob Square Pants.
Rootie was a hand puppet and he loved sports and playing his “magic kazaootie.” He had a little buddy called “El Squeako mouse” who was a famous Mexican catador (yes, a catador). Rootie also had a girl friend named “Polka Dottie” and she had a little dog named “Poochie Pup.” (You can’t make this shit up) Polka Dottie had to call on Rootie Kazootie almost daily because the terrible villain “Poison Zoomack” was always trying to steal her polka dots.
Broadcast in stunning black and white, they told us how we could turn our black and white set into vivid natural colors with the magic color screen. I was pretty excited when it was delivered in a big official Rootie Kazootie envelope. It was just a piece of clear plastic and you pressed against the TV screen and it stuck. The top 20% of the plastic was colored sky blue and the bottom 20% was grassy green. The entire middle was a weird reddish-pink. If there was a scene on TV that was outside, the sky was blue and the grass was green. Unfortunately, the middle of the screen, which was supposed to resemble skin, made cars, buildings, animals and people pink. If there was a close-up of a face, the guy had blue hair and a pink face that looked horrible and even scary.
My dad got one look at my “magic color screen” and peeled it off, handed it to me and said, “That’s to be used when you watch Rootie Kazootie.”
I didn’t argue with dad. Being a good Rootie Kazootie follower, I gave him the answer just like Rootie said, “Yesirootie.”