This is another of those Movies I’d Never Heard Of. It’s a coming-of-age story set in a small town in Montana in the late Sixties about two brothers, one a teenager and the other a five-year-old who’s obsessed with the puppet mascot of a local kid’s TV show. I thought the plot was going to go one way, but it went another instead, which is always a nice thing. I was also glad to see such stalwart character actors as Peter Scolari and Clint Howard making appearances. The movie’s really sweet, but some domestic drama involving the kids’ father (played by William Baldwin) gives it a slight edge in places. The host of the TV show is played by Henry Winkler, who will always be the Fonz to me, no matter who he’s playing.
Mainly, though, this post is an excuse for me to talk about the local kid shows of my youth. When I was six or seven, I was a big fan of a show that featured a couple of puppets named Mickey and Amanda Mud Turtle. A few years later, Amanda left and was replaced by a character named Michelle Mud Turtle. I saw them in person several times when they made public appearances at various churches. Some of my Facebook friends who grew up around here at the same time remember Mickey and Amanda/Michelle, which is good because otherwise I might think I imagined them. There’s no footage of them on YouTube, which surprises me a little.
You can find clips on YouTube from Slam Bang Theater, my other favorite, though. The host of that was known as Icky Twerp. He was really an actor named Bill Camfield, who also played Gorgon, the host of Nightmare Theater, the weekly Saturday night horror movie on Channel 11. I’ve posted clips of Camfield as Gorgon before, but I don’t think I’ve posted any of his work as Icky Twerp. Well, we’re going to remedy that: