Sunday, May 19, 2013

Before I kick it, I need to decide on a Rosebud of my very own


Remember that final scene in “Citizen Kane”?  While reporters gathered outside the dead tycoons estate, speculating on who “Rosebud” was in Charles Foster Kane’s final gasp, we see workers inside cataloging the man’s vast collection of artwork & other treasures, and tossing junk into a giant furnace—including an old wooden children’s sled with the name ROSEBUD painted across it’s center.  Talk about a goosebumpy ending!

It got me to thinking, now that I’ve amassed my own personal fortune & approaching my twilight years & such, what I might utter if I was on my deathbed & holding a snowglobe.  I had a Rosebud of sorts when I was a kid too y’know… a couple of ‘em in fact.

So in honor of this awesome movie (which I just finished watching, is it obvious?) here are the contenders for my final gasp that will leave the reporters tongues wagging.  I had my fair share of toys as a kid (and then some) but these are the ones I treasured the most.  Now I just need to pick which one it’ll be!

1. “Patootie…”  (drop snowglobe, fade to black)

Remember when grownups assumed all kids loved clowns?  (This was before that crazed clown doll came to life in ‘Poltergeist’ and ended the fad.)  But in 1968, for my seventh birthday, my mom gave me this Patootie doll, made by Mattel.  It was a clown BOY, bald when you removed it’s yellow felt cap and it even came with a separate sad-face (for when you were in the dumps & needed a kindred spirit). 

7th birthday

He had long red underwear under his harlequin costume, oversized feet & I can honestly remember balking when I saw him—“for the love of Mike, I’m too old for this!”  But I wound up really caring about the little guy for longer than I’d care to admit.  Dammit I miss you Patootie!

2. “Holy…” (drop snowglobe, fade to black)

Can five year olds have heart attacks?  Because I swear to God, I almost had one when I got this badass ride for my fifth birthday.  It was 1966, and I can still remember Dad coming into our little kitchen on Franklin Street & setting this GARGANTUAN box on our steel & formica table.   When I ripped off the wrapping paper and saw that giant yellow box with Batman & Robin on the front with the word “WOWIE!” in big letters… gasp!  The official Batmobile Rider!

“Come to Papa!”

It wasn’t your typical pedal-car, you pushed the thing backward 10-20 feet, then stuck your feet into ‘pockets’ behind the headlights and flipped a go-switch on the Bat-dash.  That thing TOOK OFF.  The ‘atomic engine’ made a high-pitched revving sound, and even had a hand-brake.  Holy Go-Go Batman, if this doesn’t scream Rosebud, what does?? 

3. “Danny…” (drop snowglobe, fade to black)

Christmas Eve, 1971.  Mom gets a mysterious phone call & Dad hurries out, for what no one knows.  It’s dark when he returns home with a brown cardboard box, which he hands to Mom who takes it into their bedroom like a surgeon with a donated kidney.  What the heck’s going on?  The next day, my parents proudly present me with the one thing I’d asked for that Christmas—a Danny O’ Day ventriloquist dummy.

He was COOL.  Not only did he arrive dressed for business in a suit & bow tie, he came with an instruction book on ‘How to Throw Your Voice for Fun & Profit’ and a long-play record instructing you on the tricks of the trade.  (I think I played that album 400 times, trying to master the “P” sound without moving my lips.) 

That’s my brother Steve, me & Danny O’Day in our bedroom 1971 (dig all those clowns on the bedspreads & curtains)

I didn’t exactly come up with a Vegas act for ol’ Danny & myself, and truth be told I had a lot of other toys (and sibs like Steve here) that were far more entertaining.  But everytime I played with O’Day, I was reminded of Dad hurrying out into that snowy night when Sears called Mom on Christmas Eve and said “we got it”.  

Take that, Rosebud.   Smile


  1. Hey Doug, I thought I'd drop in on the Teepee to see what was new and I really enjoyed this post and hearing about your childhood treasures. That Batmobile looks (and sounds) COOL!

  2. Thanks Pam! When I first posted this, some dude emailed me & said "You did not have that Batmobile, that was the first edition of the Marx Bat-Rider & considered the Holy Grail!"

    Luckily, my sister found a couple photos in an old family album & I shared the one of me unwrapping it. (If you turn that b&w pic upside down, you can see the box--the guy who wrote me apologized, haha) Hope all is well with you, Pam :)


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