Friday, November 23, 2007

Yes, Virginia, There Is Ted Forth

I take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time my great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of Francesco Explains It All:

Dear Editor—
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Ted Forth. Papa says, “If you see it in Francesco Explains It All, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Ted Forth?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Ted Forth. He exists as certainly as an Atari VCS and SST Racers (with T-bar zip chords) and round after infuriating round of Mastermind, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Ted Forth! It would be as dreary as if The Magic Garden never had a "Chuckle Patch," Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings had never appeared on Captain Kangaroo and one had not spent countless, countless years wondering if The Point was a real cartoon that ran on ABC one evening or if it had been a frightening fever dream we experienced at the age of four. There would be no childlike faith then, no crumbling igloo walls made of K-Tel Snow Brick Makers, no crying over the sad saga of Jackie Paper and no memories of swinging hard at a Johnny Bench Batter-Up only to watch your aluminum bat sail across the driveway and into your dad's 1977 Buick Riviera (complete with CB radio) to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood--and "Monster Week" on the 4:30 Movie--fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Ted Forth! You might as well not believe in the horrifying six-fingered hand that rose from the swamp to announce a new episode of Chiller Theater. You might get your papa to hire men to watch the WPIX Yule Log to see if it ever burns out only to realize three hours later that the footage consists of nothing more than a seven-minute sequence looped repeatedly, leaving you and your brother Marcello feeling like the biggest idiots on planet Earth. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see...or understand (like Bigfoot on The Six Million Dollar Man). Were you ever able to make a reasonable nose cone for your Lego rocketship before the company finally started manufacturing those upside-down slanty pieces? Of course not, but that didn't stop you from believing you could, even though your every spaceship looked like it sported the grill to a Greyhound bus. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world, including that eight-loop Hot Wheels orange race track (with "death jump" over Don't Break the Ice) you long imagined but never dared see to fruition.

You rip apart a piece of Bubble Yum to see if there are really spider eggs inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, love or a Big Jim Rescue Chopper can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and real working search light beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Ted Forth? Thank God he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood...or recount us with tales of letting out a high-pitched scream every time the pieces popped in Perfection.


Sara Benincasa said...

I am utterly unashamed to admit that reading this is a lot like reading Italian; I can figure out a few of the words based on context and root words, but overall, I have no idea what the fuck is going on.

Sara Benincasa said...

Also, you have nothing to offer the world but tired 1970s pop nostalgia. Just a reminder, in case you didn't know. Did I mention I'm a genius? I'm a GENIUS.

Francesco Marciuliano said...


vclortho said...

Yes, Virginia, there is a Ted Forth, but he's just as confused as I am about all these toys. Would that G.I. Joe were only 5 inches tall, or that there were wondrous plastic and tin devices which "transformed" from car to robotinous automaton and back again. Or that, for a king's ransom in the decade of an actor taking control of the highest office in the land, that there would indeed be "Intelligent Television" as sold, beggared, and pimped by Mr. Paper Lion himself. Mock the lack of a joystick all you want! We all know that "Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack" was not only the best use of pixilated nonsense in 1982, but it taught that hitting on 16 was fraught with danger! And so on, and so forth...Ted Forth, that is...

yellojkt said...

Two words:
kung-fu grip

Dimestore Lipstick said...

I, on the other hand, feel like I'm finally reading my native language after years in exile, listening to everyone else communicate in a language known as "Eighties Childhhod".

Chip Gorman said...

The Point! I'd almost forgotten it. Actually I'd completely forgotten it. Thanks, now it's back.

Ariamaki said...

I feel kind of weird about the statements in re: Eighties Childhood, because this all was memorable to me... And I was a child BORN in the late eighties, growing up in the 90s.

I guess my love of older things, no matter how much or how little older, runs further back then I thought.