I wanted to tell everyone about a childhood trauma that used to haunt me. In fact, it still haunts me somewhat to this day. Your readers in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area will likely remember this, but I’m sure that everyone can appreciate this trauma no matter where they live.
In the DFW area in the ‘60s and ‘70s, we had two children’s TV hosts that were local celebrities. One was Mr. Peppermint – he was the kind, sanitized, completely safe children’s T.V. show host. And then there was Icky Twerp. Icky was the other children’s T.V. host. The one that pushed the envelope just a little bit. The one that parents secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) wished their children wouldn’t watch. And, of course, all the kids wanted to watch Icky.
Icky was huge in DFW, often packing local malls to the brim when he would make a personal appearance. Icky hosted Slam Bang Theater, a show filled with cartoons and old THREE STOOGES shorts. In between cartoons and Stooges, he would perform some wacky slapstick skits. Pratfalls happened, pies were thrown, and everything was fine…until Icky brought out the apes.
Icky had a couple of sidekicks named Ajax and Delphinium that scared the hell outta me. They were simply men dressed in gorilla masks, but it was creepier than it sounds. First of all, even though their heads were distinctly simian, the rest of their bodies were undoubtedly human. Secondly, I guess 1960s ape mask technology was not yet perfected, because something about these ape-heads just wasn’t right. It’s hard to place my finger on it, but these apes were super-creepy for some reason. Of the two, Ajax scared me the most. My 5 year-old eyes had an attraction/repulsion to these horrible man-beasts. Even though they scared me beyond belief, for some reason I was unable to look away from these unholy abominations.
For those of your readers who are skeptical about just how scary a man in a gorilla mask performing slapstick skits on a children’s T.V. show can be, I present to you Exhibit A – the attached photo. Take a good look at these ape-like hellspawns, and ask yourself if this is appropriate for a T.V. show targeted at the age 4-8 crowd.
Okay – ACK!
I have never before thought of living in the DFW area, but now I thank my lucky stars I never did!
>>something about these ape-heads just wasn’t right. It’s hard to place my finger on it
I think I can help you out here: it’s the MOUSTACHES. Without that line of fur around the mouth, they’d look much more ape-like; but with it there, they look like mentally-challenged child molesters! Or else horribly offensive racial stereotypes of an impossible-to-determine race. Delphinium’s uniform and hat-fringe is particularly disturbing to me.
Thank god all we had was Bozo the Clown! He was horrifying enough!
Haha. Wow. I didn’t ever see the clown or apes (too young, I guess) but I did watch Mr. Peppermint. He sure was creepy.
Interesting triva: Mr. Peppermint (Jerry Haynes) is the father of Butthole Surfers’ lead singer Gibby Haynes.
I didn’t need to see that photo right after I ate. 😛
I guess I’m lucky my mom didn’t like me watching kid shows like that because she thought they dumbed down children.
I am 37 years old and I will have nightmares about that picture for the next 10 years. Horrifying. Kudos to Gary B. for mustering up the courage to relive it.
Glad to see everyone agrees that these apes are terrifying, and it wasn’t just me. Oh, and Vicar, you have a point – I think it is the mustaches that make the masks horrifyingly surreal!
I think the one on the left is the son-of-a-bitch who stole my purse when I was walking home from working the night-shift one night
I watched this show all the time as a kid. I could not decide if these guys scared me or intriqued me. I laughed at them and still was a bit scared by their odd appearance.
Jeez. “Candle Cove” move over – this is the real deal!
One of my fondest memories of being a child was watching slam bang theater in the morning before school! Ickey and the apes rocked the house!!! Those of you that still have nightmares….get over it, stop being such a panty waist!