Thursday, February 14, 2013

Who Could It Be?

Just remembered an earlier example of media interaction, though I still maintain we didn’t even have that word in the 1930s.  Every weekday afternoon I listened on the kitchen radio--yes, Depression or no, we had TWO radios: next to Daddy’s Chair in the livingroom a big furniture-sized Philco, present from the Rich Uncle who had the furniture store, and also a little radio in the kitchen.
So every afternoon I listened to Jack Armstrong, the all-American Boy, sponsored if I remember right by Wheaties, the Breakfast of Champions.  Or was it by Ralston?  Jane and Jimmie too say it’s best for you, Ralston Cereal can’t be beat.”  And to Little Orphan Annie—“Who’s the little chatterbox?  The one with pretty auburn locks?  Who could it be?  It’s Little Orphan Annie.”  And YES! -- I just looked, the song is on Youtube.  Of course.
Annie was definitely sponsored by Ovaltine.
And at the end of the program came the secret message, which you could solve if you had a Little Orphan Annie secret decoder pin. Only rich people could afford to buy Ovaltine, but you could also get the decoder if you sent in a “reasonable facsimile” of the label (I  remember relishing those two four-syllable words), so that’s what I did--took  pencil and paper down to the A and P and made a copy.
And like Ralphie, I turned that inner wheel to line up the letters and numbers, and  was disappointed by some really dumb messages. But you’ve got to admit, it was a pioneering attempt at interactivity.   

No comments:

Post a Comment