Monday, March 19, 2018

"Making Your Mark"

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,

“I’m immortal!”

When those words spilled spontaneously out of my mouth, I knew there was something viscerally compelling about…

“Making Your Mark.”

As in,

“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 ChannelThe 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.

1 comment:

Thomas Anderson said...

Hoppy is back! Thanks, Earl!