Sunday, July 1, 2012

Pause and Play: A Pop-Up Gallery

Where: American History Museum

When: through September 3, 2012

This show is in the same gallery that held the Innoventions exhibit I attended a few months ago - it seems as if the museum has decided to keep it as a gallery set aside for temporary displays.

This show deals with toys of the 1950s and 1960s, along with memorabilia from television shows of that same era.  Also included are games designed to teach children math - an eclectic selection of items, I must say.  One of the math games was called Digitor and looked much like a large Rolodex.  How it worked, I have no idea.  An item called 27 Scraps of Paper, constructed by Arthur Ganson was also there - it seemed vaguely familiar, as it I'd seen it before...

Since I wasn't around to watch television in the 1950s, I couldn't really get that excited about the relics from that era, but I was quite interested to see that they had on display Mr. Moose and Bunny Rabbit from the Captain Kangaroo show, one of my childhood favorites.  I found out that Bob Keeshon, who played Captain Kangaroo, had left the Howdy Doody Show, due to his discomfort with the large amount of advertising associated with that program.   Quaint by today's standards, I'm sure.

I was also able to see the original Kermit - not really a frog, more of a lizard.  He was constructed from an old coat belonging to Jim Henson's mother and a ping pong ball - a humble beginning, indeed.  His original show was called Sam and Friends and ran on local DC television.

On the walls were photographs of people watching television - funny to see people watching those small screens, in the big consoles, not to mention how close to the screen everyone was sitting.  Yikes, I wanted to tell them - sit back!

Verdict: Fun to see, if you've got a few minutes to kill and are in the museum anyway.  Probably not worth the trip on its own, unless you're a big fan of the Muppets and want to see Kermit in his original incarnation.

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