Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Television Man

"Would I do a Partridge Family Reunion?
I'd do a Brady Bunch reunion.
I'd play Cindy Brady.
What do I care?
Just put my pretty little face on the television -
Where it belongs"

-- Danny Bonaduce

"Television Made Me What I Am.
People Like To Put The Television Down but
We Are Still Good Friends.
I'm A Television Man"

-- David Byrne

Your humble scribe has two lines on Law And Order -- Wednesday, May 11, 10 p.m. NBC. I play the building super who lets the cops in.

I don't know if it's any good, or if I'm any good, but I don't care. I'm on the tellie-vision! Again.

Pretty cool.

Sort of a waste of a good Ivy league law degree, but what can I do?

I wouldn't have that Ivy League law degree, except for the television.

In the summer of 1963, 4-years old, new to the neighborhood, absorbing all I could on the television. I turned on Channel 9 -- a station so small at the time it had no network affiliate of any kind. They were running a local show called Operation Alphabet. They wanted to teach the newly-arriving immigrant population how to read. Being newly arrived to my neighborhood. Just wanting to watch more television. That television show taught me how to read and write. That September, I entered kindergarten.

Since I already knew how to read, my father taught me how to add and subtract before the end of the year.

On the following Washington's Birthday -- 1964 -- the New York Daily News ran a special magazine with the biographies of all the American Presidents. I thought everyone knew all about that except for me, so me and my newly-learned reading and numeric skills memorized the magazine.

I learned to read and write from the television, and by the time I got into first grade, thanks to my television knowledge, I knew how to add and subtract, and I knew more American history than almost anyone I met until I got to high school.

I would never have become a lawyer without that jump.

Television made me what I am.

So I am thrilled to be back on television. If only for a few seconds.