Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste

Prologue

Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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Murder in the Afternoon

December 5, 2016

When I was a kid growing up in the Bay Area in the 50s and 60s, most of our television programming came out of San Francisco. The three big channels were KRON, KPIX and KTVU. After school I tuned in to KRON to watch The Mayor Art Show, which ran from 1959-1966. The mayor was played by Art Finley, who dressed up like a nineteenth century mayor in a morning coat and top hat while telling jokes, running Popeye cartoons and Three Stooges movies, in addition to educational segments. He also encouraged kids to send in artwork and he’d show them on the air, including a questionable picture of a robot by yours truly.

 

 

 

The program was shot live, and he had a live audience of children, called his “city council,” who clapped enthusiastically at his puppet shows and hilarious antics, which brings me to the crunch of this story. One afternoon at the conclusion of a Popeye cartoon, Mayor Art polled his “city council,” who all claimed to love the cartoon. But one robust kid shouted out a non sequitur, “Mayor Art, my daddy says you’re the biggest asshole on TV!”

 

Without skipping a beat, Mayor Art went to a commercial. When he returned and the camera panned the city council, that kid was gone.

 

I was still wondering what happened to him when my older brother David walked into the room. We never got along but I was so concerned over the fate of that missing kid that I told David what had happened. He said, “You can’t get away with saying things like that on TV.”

 

“What do you think happened to him?” I asked.

 

My brother shrugged. “They must have taken him out behind the studio and shot him.”

 

“They can do that?” I asked, my eyes probably as round as banjos.

 

“Adults can do anything they want,” he said.

 

When it came to gullibility I was a gold medal winner, and it was years before a curse or cuss word crossed my lips. Of course the time came when I did let out a swear word or two and it won’t come as a surprise that I was not shot for my verbal indiscretions.

 

Did you have an afternoon TV show you watched growing up?

 

 

**********************************************************************

 

 

 

Giveaway painting

 

 

Only TWO DAYS remain for my holiday giveaway. Check out the details on winning this painting (here).

 

 

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Comments

30 Comments
Wow, back in the day, that must've been quite the shock. Those types of kids shows were popular into the 70's. Then they just sort of died. Cool one of your drawings was shown on the show. And my best friend and I used to tell my oldest nephew the most outlandish things. And yes, he believed them!
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on December 5, 2016
Loved this story and the memories it brought back. My favorite was Captain Kangaroo. Nothing wrong with The Three Stooges or old Tarzan movies, though.
By: Kelly on December 5, 2016
Back about 1964 I loved watching Paul Tripp's Birthday House. And of course Sonny Fox's Wonderama. I wonder if that boy's family ever found his remains? Lol
By: Bee BB Bee on December 5, 2016
Shame on David for telling his little brother such a lie. That would have scared me, too. I didn't have an afternoon TV show. I got home from school and practiced the piano. Then I read. I've always led quite an exciting life. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on December 5, 2016
Ha! Hiilarious! I watched Captain Kangaroo, and we had a local show with Fred Kirby. Fun!
By: The Bug on December 5, 2016
Sandy Becker, Capt. Merry Mailman Ray Heatherington (father of Joey Heatherington and Soupy Sales.
By: cranky on December 5, 2016
why yest I did, K Circle B ranch starring Dick Bills. He and his side kick Glen Campbell, yes that Glen Campbell (we all have to start somewhere) used to sing cowboy songs (Jim Morrison of the Doors even sang it) play cartoons and fill up an hour of my afternoon as a child. My brother was also a "disquieter" in my childhood so I have sympathy for your situation. He did however pay very well if I would be his instrument of annoyance to my older sister. Fun times.
By: Oma Linda on December 5, 2016
Those were fun shows back in the day! Colonel Chick, who sported a striped coat a wide brimmed hat and a handlebar mustache was one of the local shows out of Columbus, GA. He had Popeye, and the Three Stooges, etc., had a campaign to teach kids how to brush teeth. He would have guests on the program and once managed to have Minnesota Fats on there demonstrating some pool shots. Cousin Cliff Holman was a great local show out of Birmingham, AL. He did magic tricks, funny drawings and wore a captain's hat and jacket. Of course, in the a.m. it was always Captain Kangaroo with Mr. Green Jeans, Mr. Moose, Bunny Rabbit, Grandfather Clock, and the Dancing Bear!
By: Charles Kinnaird on December 5, 2016
Howdy Doody, Captain Kangaroo, Kitterick
By: Ellen Abbott on December 5, 2016
Mr. Dressup on CBC.
By: Daniel LaFrance on December 5, 2016
oh hahahah ! Actually I really did not watch TV until at the ripe old age of 10 my folks bought a black and white TV so we kids could watch Princess Elizabeth become a queen! I was too old then for Captain Kangaroo or Howdy Doody. But a few years later I watched American Bandstand. However after my son was born he and I had a great time watching Captain Kangaroo- I thought he was so funny- I laughed just as much as my little boy!
By: Kathe W. on December 5, 2016
I remember a space show, might have been Sky King. BTW, my first real news director went to work at KRON in 1966 as a producer.
By: Catalyst on December 5, 2016
If you could get shot for that I'd be dead a million times over by now.
By: PT Dilloway on December 5, 2016
I loved Beanie & Cecil!!
By: fishducky on December 5, 2016
We did have one of those. Cousin Cliff. He did magic tricks in between cartoons. I never made it on, but I had friends who did. I loved that show.
By: Rick Watson on December 5, 2016
Howdy Doody and Romper Room. But also watched many other with my children as they were growing up. I will always miss Mr. Rogers who preached kindness and understanding.
By: Tabor on December 5, 2016
Sweetie loved Captain Talltower, and i used to rush home to see Mr. Bingle. Such memories!
By: messymimi on December 5, 2016
That was too funny. Gullibility kind of leaves along with innocence. Though others had TV, my mom hated it, thinking communication in the family would be lost. She wasn't too far off. We didn't get one till I was in my teens.
By: Arkansas Patti on December 5, 2016
I played outside until dark after school, but in the mornings, I watched The Lone Ranger and Fury before time to catch the bus. I think sometimes Lassie replaced one of them.
By: Val on December 5, 2016
This kid didn't have free afternoons. On a farm we always had work to do. We were on a fringe reception area too with one station. Okay, I'm crying. !Poor me! It wasn't all bad with no TV.
By: red Kline on December 5, 2016
We didn't have a TV until I was a teenager. At that time, programming didn't start until the early evening. The TV at our house never was turned on until all the farm chores were done and the cows were milked and fed. I'm getting more and more excited about your giveaway. Put a link to your blog in my latest blog post.
By: Pixel Peeper on December 5, 2016
Oh boy...I could see that I would be just as gullible. I bet the kid got a spanking though. I used to watch Commander Tom and The Friendly Giant
By: Birgit on December 5, 2016
I'm still very gullible, so now I'm worried about that kid's fate. It's hilarious that he shouted that out. Do you remember Wonderama? I loved that show.
By: Robyn Engel on December 5, 2016
We did;t have TV until later. In the early days I remember seeing a little of Pinkie Lee and Howdy Doody in the TV room at the Boys Club, but I spent most of my time on the basketball court or in the boxing room.
By: Tom Cochrun on December 5, 2016
Innocence, a rare and beautiful quality.
By: John Gibson on December 6, 2016
I watched Fireman Frank, who was the precursor to Mayor Art. You forgot KGO (the ABC affiliate) We saw lots of Three Stooges stuff, too.
By: Uncle Skip on December 6, 2016
That's something my sister would have told me. And I would have believe it, too! I can't remember the time of day, but I loved watching Wonderama with Sonny Fox. There was also Soupy Sales when I was a bit older.
By: Mitchell is Moving on December 6, 2016
Was that kid's name Trump?
By: Jo Barney on December 6, 2016
For me, nuthin' like that. I just watched the usual network shows -- Howdy Doody, Lone Ranger, etc. -- plus, the shows my parents watched, most memorably Perry Como (my mother loved him) and Perry Mason. How come nobody's named Perry anymore?
By: Tom Sightings on December 6, 2016
In out part of the country, that guy was Uncle Briggs. Same sort of show. He has a child studio audience, shows cartoons, and had educational segments often featuring local people and places. My little brother was 5 years old and encountered him in our local grocery store shooting a commercial and got to be in it. He rode that high for several years.
By: Brett Minor (Transformed Nonconformist) on December 8, 2016

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