Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bill Cullen.

When I was a kid we had a very different media world than the one we have today. Growing up in New York we had the most television stations in the country--seven--the three networks and four additional channels if you count public television. If you were sick in those days you mostly stayed in bed. We had a 13-inch Emerson portable black and white TV that did sick duty. We'd adjust the antenna and tune in to whatever was on.

What was on in those days were a lot of game shows. When I'm sick these days (it happens about as often as an ice age, thank god) I don't turn on the TV, but in any event I don't suppose TV then was any dumber or any better than TV today. At the very least it was a way to pass the time in pre-internet, pre-texting, pre-connectiveness days, and when I was sick I had the set on for hours.

There was a game show host in those days named Bill Cullen. I never thought of game show hosts as "personalities" or celebrities. They asked a bunch of dumb questions, kibbitzed maybe a little and generally moved things along. In facts, one of my high school friend's dad was a game show host and I always thought of him as a bit of a dim bulb.

Bill Cullen for whatever reason seemed to be everywhere--on a couple of different game shows. He was recognizable by his thick, owlish glasses that gave him the aura of intelligence, though nothing he had to do on the show required any. Cullen would also never move from behind the podium, never greet contestants or walk around in any way, shape or form.

Cullen's immobility lead to the fairly preposterous rumor that he had no legs. Once you heard this rumor you examined every one of Cullen's movements or lack of them. All it took was one half hour episode to convince yourself--the man simply did not move.

Of course in those days we didn't have the internet or the constant onslaught of celebrity gossip. I don't know why I thought of Bill Cullen this morning; I probably hadn't thought of him in 40 years.

In any event, I'm on vacation.

And this is good enough.



I think Cullen had had polio and walked with a pronounced limp, which is why they never showed him moving.

Unknown said...

Don't you write while you're snorkeling? What happened to you? Long between posts. Hey, you think you're on blogging vacation or something? A blogger never rests. I told you that when I got you started.

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