The first time I wrote anything nobody asked me to, when I finished, I said out loud, although no one was around to hear me,
When those words spilled spontaneously out of my mouth, I knew there was something viscerally compelling about…
“Making Your Mark.”
“Kilroy Was Here” *
(* Ubiquitous World War II graffiti.)
Who doesn’t want to provide tangible evidence of their earthly existence, create an enduring legacy, leave something permanent behind?
It’s not just creative people. I used to drive past the “Tishman Building” in Los Angeles. Giant letters, stuck to the side of a skyscraper. You think Tishman wasn’t thinking about his legacy? He could have simply provided the address.
It’s a natural impulse – leaving a lasting contribution. Though it takes various forms. For some, it’s a charitable endowment. For others, it’s working for the betterment of Mankind.
For me, it’s upgrading The Westerns Channel.
Hey, those do-gooders can’t do everything!
We all need to pitch in.
The Westerns Channel is part of my cable package of stations, most of which I pay for but don’t watch, but this one I do. You know I like westerns – the eponymous Westerns Channel airs them twenty-four hours a day. The thing is, though I am delighted by its very existence, The Westerns Channel, creatively, leaves plenty to be desired.
Slapdash. Pedestrian. Lacking demonstrable flair. Showing westerns I don’t care for in “Prime Time”, and relegating westerns I do – particularly the ‘30’s “B” westerns starring Buck Jones, Hoot Gibson and Johnny Mack Brown to five in the morning. (I am occasionally awake at that hour. Normally, I wake up to lackluster Audie Murphy pictures.)
Anyway – since you don’t know who any of these people are – demonstrating how much available time I have on my hands…
I wrote an e-mail to The Westerns Channel, telling them –respectfully – that their on-air performance was ca-ca, and saying I had some ameliorating suggestions.
The Westerns Channel immediately e-mailed me back, thanking me for my welcome enthusiasm, and promising to get back with me, as they were “eager” to hear my interesting ideas.
I never heard from them again.
What did I do next?
I impulsively “gave away the store”, rather than saying, “I have these proposals for improving The Westerns Channel, and if you make me the channel’s president, I shall reveal to you what they are.” (In truth, I did not aspire to be president of The Westerns Channel; I just wanted it to be better. Although if nominated, I might run, and if elected, I might actually serve. I mean, when duty calls…)
In my follow-up e-mail, I submitted a list of a dozen or so suggestions, many of which followed the successful template of Turner Classic Movies, whose operation includes rotating (knowledgeable) hosts, “A-List”, celebrity interviewees, ancillary “Movie Fan” cruises, and specific wine recommendations, matching their cinematic selections. (That last idea is hardly compatible with The Westerns Channel – “For The Battle at Apache Pass, we suggest a chilled Chablis.” It’s more like, “‘Rot-Gut’ for everything.”)
Bottom Line: I was ecstatic The Westerns Channel existed.
I just wanted it to be classier.
And attractive to a wider range of potential viewership. (I just typed “wider ranger of potential viewership” – a subliminal allusion to “that daring and resourceful masked rider of the Plains. *)
(* The Lone Ranger.)
One of my ideas involved offering “Kid-Friendly” westerns on Saturday mornings, mirroring my memorable experience, growing up. (What constitutes a “Kid-Friendly” western? “Justice” ultimately prevails, and they shoot “Bad Guys” in the hand. And no children are shot anywhere. Although there was one boy who succumbed to a runaway stagecoach. Which impelled Errol Flynn to put on a badge and clean up Dodge City, so the unfortunate youngster was not trampled in vain.
I submitted the second e-mail, offering knowledgeable suggestions free of charge or possibility of personal advancement… probably…
And I never heard back.
I was disappointed, but not crushed. Well, I was a little crushed. Nobody likes being ignored. There are ominous intimations of, “You no longer exist.”
And then, one day, while watching The Westerns Channel – The Horse Soldiers for the umpteenth time that month – not my umpteenth time watching it; I only watched it four times – I see a network “promo” between movies, announcing that, for the first time in its existence, The Westerns Channel would be broadcasting an hour of Hopalong Cassidy – the quintessential “Kids’ Show” cowboy –
Every Saturday morning!
Imagine my thrill-packed excitement! My proposal to The Westerns Channel had been accepted, and would shortly be implemented for all to enjoy.
I had my “Immortalizing Imprint.” I mean, it’s not the Washington Monument, or anything. Though in a way, it’s better. I am alive to experience it. George Washington was not.
And so there you have it.
“Pomerantz Was Here”
His enduring legacy, airing Saturday mornings.
On The Westerns Channel.