Transcript for After These Messages: Hobo Kelly with Gwynne Garfinkle

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Geoffrey
Welcome to this is why we're like this after these messages. I'm your host Geoffrey Pelton, sure and Begora Tis I.

Julia
Oh no! I'm your other host Julia Rios

Geoffrey
And joining us again today is Gwynne Garfinkle.

Julia
If you listen to the podcast, you may remember Gwynne from last week. She has got a novel. She's got poetry. She's got a novelette. She's got a lot of exciting things. We will link them all in the show notes. And she also had a letter read out on Zoom, the show that was very popular for children. And then to follow it up, we asked her to send some ah other things that were related to zoom that weren't in the episode that we watched.

Geoffrey
And we'll talk about that, too. But we also just discovered. Hobo Kelly.

Julia
Ah, Geoffrey and I just discovered we asked Gwen if she remembered other shows that she liked to watch and she named her shows that we were familiar with like Bewitched, for instance. Ah, and then she said Hobo Kelly and we were like we've never heard of that.

Gwynne
I think it was a Los Angeles show. I don't— all I really remembered was that she like had a kind of clown face and that you could write in similar to Zoom and if you if you won, I think you could actually like get a whole bunch of prizes like or you could reach into some thing and get a bunch of prizes. and I never did but but that's the main thing I remember I don't I don't I think there.

Geoffrey
Oh god you'd have to be on the same set as Hobo Kelly

Gwynne
Maybe there was like a thing of letters that spun around and she picked one out and then if you won you got the prizes you know I was very young at the time I was.

Geoffrey
Oh okay. I don't know if anyone does this anymore. But there was a I mean I feel like for a good chunk of the Twentieth century hobo clowns were the thing.

Julia
I Feel like that is true and also extremely disturbing.

Geoffrey
Like if you were a clown. There was a 70% chance you were a hobo clown.

Gwynne
But and I and I did watch it. You know it was on in the mornings like around it was on I think when I was in school when I was a little girl So I I only saw it when I wasn't at school and when there was the um, the earthquake the Sylmar earthquake in 1971. I got to stay home from school that day because there was a major earthquake and I remember my thought was now I get to watch Hobo Kelly

Geoffrey
Oh I was about to say so Hobo Kelly was your punishment for playing hookie.

Gwynne
Well no I know I mean that is the probably the reason I remember Hobo Kelly at all is because I have I associate that being able to stay home and watch it with the with the earthquake which was a very strong memory book.

Julia
Right? right? I feel like yeah, okay, so Gwynne said I don't think any of it's available online so we did a quick search and we found a couple of Youtube clips. One is a thirty second sort of amalgamation of Hobo Kelly lines and the other one is a very very poor quality ah rendition of the theme song but like it's got a lot of distortion and it's not— It's not great visually or in audio. But you can hear the theme song which talks about how Hobo Kelly ah wants to be set off set down over at hobo junction with her friends.

Geoffrey
And how's she flying? Guess who's back? It's a leprechaun.

Julia
Sure and begorah ‘tis she.

Gwynne
This did not at all connect. You know I did not— the the Irish stuff just went right over my head as a little kid I didn't know what any of that was.

Geoffrey
The ah the the best part is is is the announcer comes in after the song. Let's go over to Hobo Junction and see what our Irish friend is up to.

Julia
Yeah, they really lay it on thick, I have no… so I went to look up the Wikipedia article to be like what what is the deal with this show and Geoffrey's like oh what you're reading is bad isn't it?

Gwynne
I had no idea I was like six years old yeah

Julia
What my face was doing was like what is happening, why is this not even mentioning? like it's not even really much about the show and it certainly doesn't really lay a lot of emphasis on the Irish thing I'm just going to read you the entirety of what is on the. If you look up Hobo Kelly on Wikipedia it takes you to Sally Baker redirected from hobo Kelly. Sally Baker is a retired american children's television program personality after a career working in television news as a weather forecaster, she hosted the live action. Children's show Hobo Kelly, which first aired in Illinois and then on kttv in Los Angeles so it wasn't actually Los Angeles originally but then it was by the time Gwynne was a child um because it started being on kttv in 1965 and then later was on KcoP and until 1972 so you could have seen that during the sylmar quake but probably not much longer than that. Ah, every show she would put on her huge novelty sunglasses which were supposed to allow her to see members of her audience. parents would send in their kids name so she could say a personal hello to them on the show.

Gwynne
Ah, right.

Julia
Preserving the illusion that she could see them with her magic glasses. Even the theme song was peppy with an Irish edge as she's Sang HOBO KELLY.

Gwynne
Right.

Julia
Hobo Kelly sure and begorrah tis I. She was the creator of another children's live action show called the Froozles also known as the land of Frooze which aired on KHJ now known as kcal tv channel nine in Los Angeles from 1970 to 78. The Froozles featured a pigtailed tomboy character named muffin and her puppet friends who were made to resemble children of different ethnicities. a recurring skit on the show featured a different set of moppy haired puppets of a similar design telling jokes through doors in a wall ala Rowan Martin's laugh in. That's the whole of it. That's everything that we know about Hobo Kelly. like did you ever see The Froozles, Gwynne?

Gwynne
It vaguely rings a Bell. I don't remember seeing it but the name rings a bell.

Julia
I Can only wonder if the froozles with all of these puppet dolls that are made to be different ethnicities are also like as stereotypical as the Irish but.

Gwynne
Mmm.

Geoffrey
What really makes this sing for me is the particular style of Hobo clown makeup is like I am not one your ah was it. Ah. Fright of clowns.

Julia
Oh, Coulrophobia.

Geoffrey
People, I am not one of your coulrophobes. Ah, but this face is a nightmare face.

Julia
Ah, it's like missing teeth.

Gwynne
But but to me, you know to me I just thought she was this nice lady on the Tv. that was how I related to her when I was 6.

Julia
Ah, That's fair. It's fair. I feel like as a child I also liked clowns, like I think that in popular consciousness Clowns have become more creepy over the course of my lifetime. Ah because I remember as a young child actually thinking clowns were fun and cool. And I feel like maybe when I was like 8 or 9 I dress as a clown for Halloween.

Geoffrey
In Fifth grade. Um, it was either fourth or fifth grade. But no, maybe it was third grade I don't know one of those grades we had a teacher who liked to do class costumes um and the year I was going through. We did clowns. Ah. And I was a hobo clown and I used vaseline and coffee grounds to make it look like I had like ah like a three day old beard.

Julia
Of course you did yes, yes, that's Hobo Pelton

Gwynne
Um, whoa.

Geoffrey
For me, It was about the freedom and the stealing Apple pies off of windowsills and carving signs in posts telling other hobos where they could find a you know an honest day's work.

Julia
Wow.

Geoffrey
And avoiding the bulls. You got to avoid the bulls.

Julia
So yeah, did you ever have your name read out by Hobo Kelly?

Gwynne
I Don't think so. I don't think I did, but I mean I think I even like dreamed about her, dreamed about the show, like I have a vivid memory of a dream where you know —of like getting all getting the prizes from the show.

Julia
Ok because see since we only have the clip of the opening and like the weird amalgamation of clips, like I have to take Wikipedia and your word for the fact that there were magic sunglasses and a bucket of prizes that you could win from.

Gwynne
So yeah, I mean yeah, definitely the magic sunglasses and the reading kid's names that definitely rings a bell. Yeah.

Geoffrey
I want our listeners to to follow the links to to these things at least the short one that with the decent sound quality and then I want you to picture this apparition of of of darkness looking directly into the into the camera. Looking out of your Tv and saying your name and that she sees you.

Julia
Saying and you palm my magic sunglasses I see you.

Geoffrey
And then your phone rings and then your phone rings when you pick it up and a voice says seven days and hangs up and that's.

Gwynne
It's because you know to a six year old that's just it's just cool.

juliarios
Ah, except the voice actually says Sure and Bogora you have seven days

Geoffrey
that's 4, that's 4 and 3.

Gwynne
Ah, because when you're 6 you know you you kind of think you think you can just reach into the Tv because you know it's it's all kind of vaguely magical when you're that young like.

Julia
That's fair. That's fair. I feel like I never saw this show but romper room was on when I was very young and I feel like I feel like the the host of romper room said hi to children.

Gwynne
Oh yeah, I watched romper room.

Julia
Like as if she could see them. Um, so so yes so Hobo Kelly wow I feel like the real stereotypical irish hobo thing. Maybe the reason we're not seeing more of that in modern.

Gwynne
Yeah, yeah, no I Yeah I totally I that that had escaped me because I had no idea what any of it was when I was that little.

Julia
Ah, well I so we've been watching this Tv series, ghosts, which they're they're remaking for Cbs it was originally a bbc show and they're remaking it for Cbs and in the american version of ghosts like there's a woman who was the wife of a robber baron who is— the premise of ghosts is that a young couple now moves into a haunted house full of ghosts from different time periods who've died in the house and one of them is this wife over robber baron from like the 1890 s and she she will sometimes say things like, “Yeah, Well apparently they tell me the irish are people. But I think that's debatable,” and I'm like: apparently an attitude that was very common up into the 70s on television in Los Angeles.

Gwynne
Ah, yeah, they might be just magical beings that you know that can see that you see you from your from your Tv.

Julia
With magical hobo and hobo junction. Oh okay, so the original thing that you brought to us though was a segment from Zoom. a Zoom guest segment which is what they call their little documentary segments. Where they have somebody who's not in the cast and they follow them outside the studio for a documentary about their life and you suggested a specific one. Do you want to tell us about it?

Gwynne
Yes, It's about a little girl who who has broken her arm and then she has a cast and I remembered this when I watched it again I remembered it like it was yesterday. It was so vivid.. The only thing is and I remembered the little girl saying. When she broke her arm. It felt like a slinky which is how I could search for for the segment on the on the site because of the word slinky. Um, but I pictured I mean when I heard her saying it. Her voice sounded older because I was very little when I saw it So to me she sounded like my peer. Whereas you know she's a pretty small child.

Julia
Yeah, yeah, ah so this segment I think I saw it as a child and I think Geoffrey you said you saw it as a child too.

Geoffrey
I Either saw this exact segment or something that was so similar that it's that it's mixed up in my mind.

Julia
I agree. as soon as we started watching it I was like wait I think I've seen this before and then when they asked her how she broke her arm I was like she's going to say she fell out of a tree and she did um and so I was like no I think I've seen this exact one before um. She basically it's this girl named Noreen. It's filmed at mass general hospital because this is a Boston show and she she goes to mgh with a cast already on to have it taken off and they check and then they put.

Gwynne
Very thick Boston accent.

Julia
Ah, new cast back on for another week um and yeah they they ask her how she broke her arm and they talk about how she's had 2 surgeries on it and she like apparently fell out of a tree into like a sewer grate.

Geoffrey
Because she messed up her arm.

Julia
Yeah, it was it sounded bad and apparently was bad. bad enough for 2 surgeries and she was in the hospital for a while and they asked her if she liked being in the hospital because she got presents and she was like yeah I got some presents I got a radio and some books.

Geoffrey
And and the best The yeah Noreen is great and the best part is the doctor keeps it Well I guess you're not going to be climbing anymore trees again and she gets this I Guess you know yeah sure.

Gwynne
She had a pretty good attitude considering all she'd been through.

Julia
Oh yeah, so.

Geoffrey
And then like she just looks right at the camera says the doctor says not to climb any trees anymore. But I'm gonna.

Julia
Yeah, like the very end. She's like the doctor says not to climb trees anymore. But I'm still going to. boys are always like we can climb trees and we can run faster than you and well that's why I do it.

Gwynne
Ah, tough little girl.

Julia
She like smirks at the camera like yeah boys I don't think so. no two arm surgeries and cast is going to stop me from besting you at climbing trees.

Gwynne
Ah, but I was, I remember being really fascinated by the you know the thing the cutter the thing that cuts the the cast off.

Julia
Yeah, yeah, and I remember also being like really ah, fascinated by them putting the cast on again too and how they said like we're going to put the plaster. It's going to feel wet and then it's going to feel warm and I Remember watching this as a child and being like oh like maybe I can do it with toilet paper if I just like wrap it around my arm and then get it wet. That's how you do it? Um I Also like I feel like this segment is responsible for me thinking it would be really cool to break a bone. Because then you would get to get a cool cast and for a while when I was a kid I really wanted to break a bone. Um and I was like oh man I Just really you know if I get a cast I would be very cool.

Gwynne
It makes it sound cool and interesting.

Julia
I was not thinking about the fact it would hurt. And then when I was in third grade I um I luckily broke 2 different bones… I broke my toe and then I broke my wrist but in neither case did I get a cast so I had two broken bones zero casts.

Gwynne
Oh no, what a rip-off.

Julia
My toe they were just like tape it to the next toe and you're done and then my wrists they were like here. It's a hairline fracture so you don't need to have surgery and you can just have a splint which is better than having a cast in a lot of ways but also like nobody can sign your splint. So. And nobody gets to cut it off at the end. Ah, but yes I I have been fortunate in my life not to have a cast I feel like later I would realize that maybe breaking your bones is not actually an admirable goal. It's bad choice.

Gwynne
I Never broke I've I've never broken a bone. It's not that I wanted to but it did all just seem the whole thing was just very intriguing to me and.

Julia
Yeah.

Geoffrey
I Also have never broken a bone I think that if I didn't the thing that really stands out for me is is that saw because I know when I was a kid that seemed like some sort of dark magic to me. It's like wait a minute that thing can cut right through a cast and it doesn't do anything to human skin? This is a miracle.

Gwynne
Yeah, yeah, so I guess maybe they kept repackaging that and in the other public television shows maybe? I'm wondering where you guys saw it.

Julia
I Feel like it must have just been I don't know that it was even with anything else like maybe it just been an interstitial clip somewhere.

Geoffrey
Look when when someone like Noreen gives you gold like that, you don't just air at once and forget.

Gwynne
Yeah, well yeah, it's um because it's available now because it was on like kind of a best of episode of like of of clips that kids had requested to see again which it's probably another reason why I remember it so clearly is probably I probably saw it more than once.

Julia
And it's like very, it's so catchy and memorable like everything about her. She's got so much charisma and she kind of has like perfect blonde curl pigtails like she's sort of like Cindy Brady

Gwynne
Ah, if Cindy Brady was tough.

Julia
If Cindy Brady was like a tough girl from Boston.

Geoffrey
I mean I we we I we we sometimes you know call out people who who we come across on these in the extreme off chance that they come across our podcast so noreen if if you buy some strange coincidence somehow end up hearing this podcast, get in touch with us. We'd we'd love to. Ah, we'd love to hear your your life story which I mean.

Julia
Um, we'd love to hear more about your life. Um.

Gwynne
Yeah, and yeah, that line. my arm felt like a slinky. You know that was just like lodged in my brain ever since.

Julia
Yeah, her thing about like how at first it didn't hurt and then everybody started talking about it and it hurt a lot. It's like yeah like the first moments of shock and then you realize what's happened and you're like oh this is very bad.

Gwynne
Right.

Geoffrey
I will tell you that that searching for famous noreens of Boston doesn't really get you get you anything.

Julia
Um, that's the beauty and the like sadness of this of this show is that like all of the kids are just everyday kids. So if you look for them. You're not necessarily going to find anything notable because they're just kids.

Gwynne
Yeah, and but yeah I'd like to know what happened to noreen in later life.

Julia
Did she keep climbing trees? did she she break any more bones?

Geoffrey
She sure did.

Gwynne
She definitely kept climbing trees.

Geoffrey
See my guess would be. She's a little bit shy of 60 now.

Julia
Yeah, that seems about right? She looks like she is probably like 9 or 10 maybe she looked young.

Geoffrey
I was I was guessing 8 but I'm not good at age.

Gwynne
Maybe and I think younger she but I mean maybe it just? yeah.

Julia
She looked young but she looked older than like 6 or 7 I thought.

Gwynne
Maybe yeah cause like I said when I saw it at the time she was obviously like maybe a year older than me or so because she seemed like grown up in the way that kids who are slightly older than you seem. Yeah.

Julia
Yeah, yeah, it's so weird how that sort of thing sort of sticks in your memory. So when you saw it this time did you feel like she was young or did you feel like she was still older than you.

Gwynne
No I mean I was like oh my gosh. She's this tiny girl because because because when I so saw it it. It was like she was this girl who was a little older than me she you know I you know I kind of remember like this sophistication which is just you know was just because she was ah like a year older than me.

Julia
But she was sophisticated. But yeah.

Gwynne
Ah, yeah, but but you know this but also this tidy little girl you know.

Julia
Yeah.

Gwynne
And yeah, she just, she looked and sounded just very different than what I remembered but I mean I remember what she said. It's just the way she looked and said it was different but.

Julia
All right? Ah, good times So ah, are there any other like do you remember Bozo the clown was that during your childhood or was that before your time.

Gwynne
I remember it I don't think I watched it a lot but I certainly knew who that was yeah.

Julia
You knew who that was? because I feel like that was before my time but people who are older than me will ah will talk about having watched it and I'm like I don't know what that is.

Gwynne
Um, yeah I must have seen it but you know it was it wasn't something that really interested me in the same way that Hobo Kelly did because probably because.

Julia
But so but hobo Kelly Hobo Kelly interested you because she had a bag full of prizes.

Gwynne
Prizes and the whole you know she's gonna could read your name thing and she was magic. She was magic. You know I liked that that she was magic and you know that was I'm sure that was the angle that interested me.

Julia
Yeah, okay.

Gwynne
Prizes. But also you know that kind of interaction with the audience and her being magical.

Julia
And the magical creature thing because you also said you were into bewitched So that's another one where it's like there's a little magic going on. Yeah.

Gwynne
That was my favorite show. But as a kid. Yeah yeah I don't remember Bozo having anything magic going on. He was a clown.

Julia
Just just he was a clown for me.

Gwynne
I did watch romper room though I definitely watched Robbo.

Julia
I Feel like romper room had a… did she have a magic mirror? is that how she could see you?

Gwynne
I don't remember. I don't remember much about it I Just remember that I watched it.

Julia
I just remember that she would call out kids names and she'd be like I see you hello Susie and mikey and like all these other names and I was like this isn't real I remember being a very dismissive child about this likeYeah, that's not happening.

Geoffrey
And I see you Julia. You doubt my power. you will doubt no longer.

Julia
If she had said that I would have been like whoa I take it back. Ah I do remember like being very small child, like that's not real I think we all know.

Geoffrey
So apparently on the internet you can find the names and and addresses of a lot of noreens in the Boston area who were born in 64 and 65 but none of them ah in in the information that I'm able to see mention breaking their arm and being on. Zoom. So.

Gwynne
You would think say she might want to mention being on Zoom if I was on zoom I mean I would aside from the letter I would definitely want people to know that.

Julia
Yeah I feel like one of the problems now of course is that if you search for someone's name and Zoom you're going to come up with a ton of hits about video conferencing.

Geoffrey
Yeah, look this this is much more difficult for us now than I mean most of the time I would say living in the now it is easier to track someone down than it would have been you know thirty years ago thirty forty years ago but

Gwynne
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Geoffrey
I think the terminator actually had an easier time finding Sarah Connor in the original terminator than than we would have finding this noreen.

Julia
Okay, all right? Ah well I think I think we probably have covered all our bases here. What do you guys? think.

Geoffrey
I Think so.

Gwynne
Yes, yes.

Julia
All right? Ah, well thank you again for joining us, Gwynne. It's been super fun having you on and learning about things that I didn't know before you started talking to us.

Gwynne
Thank you.

Geoffrey
And it's it's been. It's it's been at least a week so remind people ah did we did we have you do a pitch for your book on this episode yet.

Julia
Not yet. Nope.

Geoffrey
Okay, yeah, so remind people about your book.

Gwynne
Yes, um, my novel is called can't find my way home published by aqueduct and I am Gwynne Garfinkle and it's a political ghost story. Um. Featuring a young soap opera actress in 70s New York

Julia
All right and we will put a link to it in the show notes along with a link to your website which you told us last week was gwynnegarfinkle.com.

Gwynne
Yep.

Geoffrey
Well thank you for coming by Gwynne, and thank you to our audience. We now return you to your red youed lily scheduled programming are right are are are are that's ah.

Gwynne
Thank you.

Julia
Or from what now.

Geoffrey
Sure and Begora I'm having trouble saying it let come put me down here.

Julia
Have you seen there's there's a ticktok meme going around about how like scottish people have trouble saying certain words have you have you seen this?

Geoffrey
I Have not.

Gwynne
No.

Julia
Okay, well so it's a thing that goes around and it's like you know they can't say burglary and purple There's like a whole list of words and that scottish people try to try to say these words and often fail spectacularly. I will send you some links ah to this. In fact I probably could find them now if you want me to.

Geoffrey
Purple burglar alarm?

Julia
Yes, purple burglar alarm exactly um, let me see if I can find the specific ones … this is not one of the original ones but it is one of the many reactions and possibly the best one.

Gwynne
Burglar ringy.

Julia
Anyway, Jeffrey I feel like ah given that it's no wonder that you can't say regularly I'm guessing you must be scottish.

Geoffrey
I am about a quarter scottish as far as as far as I know so I can say purple burglar alarm but not regularly. Apparently.

Gwynne
There you go.

Julia
Ah, red red regular regular wreck. Ah, all right? So let's let's actually close this again. Go for it, Geoffrey.

Geoffrey
And now we return you to your regularly scheduled hang on… No wait. No it and now we return you to your regularly scheduled programming.