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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Winky Dink and You

No, it's not an ad for Viagra.  If you could look at all the ideas and inventions that were thought up in the early years of television, you would probably find that although the technology has changed the concepts remain the same. So, take a look at this example that displays the promise that TV could be "Interactive".

I am not old enough to have seen "Winky Dink and You" circa 1954, but the premise was the result of forward thinking.  TV was already used for talking to the viewer, so go one step further - if you talk to the kids at home why not find a way to have them participate in the story. Enter Winky Dink, but first enjoy the  opening theme.

Kids tuned in to watch the exploits of Winky as he battled evil, some foe, or just needed help in what ever he was doing. The host (Jack Barry of early game show fame) would  guide you and Winky through the story in which you were asked to help draw in the item needed to solve the problem and complete the story.

Whoa, DRAW ON THE TV!? I know where this is going. With the magic screen and the special crayons, you were supposed to order by mail, you would have everything you needed to help Winky.  However, many of the historical accounts of Winky Dink end up with "I drew on the TV and was never allowed to watch Winky again" or "I wasn't allowed to get the crayons until I drew on the TV and there they were a week later.  Many a early TV set was permanently defaced when unwitting children took their own crayons, paints, or markers to the family TV.

Great warning on the box, but, unfortunately it didn't protect the family TV.

This must have been a clip from a later episode.  Notice how host, Jack Barry zips through the preparation for the magic screen. Wow! If this was your first time watching, your head would still be spinning half way through the show.  He has a nice robotic delivery, though. A screen you can write on! Another predecessor to a famous invention. The telestrator was made popular as a diagramming tool during network football games in the 90's and is now used in many sports as well as weather reporting. 

Always fascinated with anything to do with early television, I picked this out of a pile of stuff and paid a quarter. Almost 55 years later and the crayons are holding up, heck, they are magic!

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