The advent of commercially available internet service may be what kickstarted my addiction to knowledge. I mean, even before that, I was the kid that read and re-read certain volumes of the Collier’s Encyclopedia, which turned to the Groiler’s Encyclopedia on CD when I got my first computer. Don’t even get me on Encarta. I’m pretty sure it was Encarta that gave me my first mind-boner. For reference, one of my more recent mind-boners happened at the post-credits tag after The Avengers.
So, when I discovered the World Wide Web and internet search engines, holy hell, I had phenomenal cosmic power at my fingertips! I was webcrawling, infoseeking, lycos-ing, alta vista-ing, the crap out of every question my pubescent mind could come up with. I was practicing Google-fu before Google was a thing, yo. Every question: Ones I couldn’t find in the encyclopedia. Ones my parents had no answers for (there were many of those). Ones that would take hours of me searching through microfiche at the local library. I found answers for all of them.
Well, almost all of them. But, the great thing about the vast repository of information that is the internet, is it grows day by day. What you might have searched for on Wednesday might not be on the web at all. Search again in a week, though, and you’ve got your answer.
Anyway, there were 3 questions that haunted me for many years. They would pop in my head out of nowhere again and again. Each time, I would scour the internet, to no avail, and forget about it until the next time the thought would stop by for another one of its random visits:
1. A word my grandmother used to describe a type of cured/dried fish from the Philippines: pinakas. I didn’t know how it was spelled, or if it was even a real word, seeing as my grandma and I didn’t even speak the same language. (Solved via Google in December of 2011, chronicled in an entry on my personal blog.)
2. A food and grandma related question – Growing up, my grandma used to feed us a Philippine dish that consisted of cooked and shredded shark meat, ginger, onions, peppers maybe, and I think some coconut milk? (Jury still out on this one.)
3. Finally, there used to be this PBS show that I’d see every once in a while. A man would tell stories, with different voices for all the characters, and there was an artist that would illustrate the story in pastels, a lot of the time in real time, as the story was being told. I only saw it a handful of times, between maybe the ages of 6 and 10, on PBS.
And that PBS show, folks, is the hero of today’s story.
Last week, question #3 popped in my head again. I had searched for it maybe six months earlier, and made some headway. I found out there was a similar show called Cover to Cover, produced by a man named John Robbins. I looked up Cover to Cover videos on YouTube, and discovered that it was the wrong show. But, I gave up after another half an hour of reading through forums. Last week, however, I typed my query into the search box, and after initially finding the same discussion threads I found last time, found an Askville thread mentioning John Robbins, and all the shows he was involved with. I started video searching the titles provided, and that’s when I found it:
Teletales was a show that starred Paul Lally as the storyteller/narrator who would tell stories as artist Rae Owings illustrated them. They told classic children stories, some which I have very clear memories of, such as their telling of “Hansel and Gretel” and “Fiddy Wow-Wow.”
Best thing about it, Paul Lally has a Vimeo channel where he’s uploaded 30 episodes of Teletales and it’s predecessor, Gather Round.
Oh motherfathering joy! Nostalgia on demand, folks. Click on, and relive thy childhood!
Let me just admit, that I’ve probably watched a dozen of these since I found the channel, and I still think it really holds up. Of course, the production and clothing looks dated, but the spectacle of watching something being drawn real time still works, imho. It’s fun watching Rae Owings turn a few amorphous blobs and squiggles of color into a person’s face right in front of your eyes. Pair that with Paul Lally’s baritone and fun character voices, and I definitely still think it’s a winner.
The confusion between shows is understandable, as Paul narrated episodes for some of John Robbins’ educational series – though John’s shows had several narrators they’d rotate through depending on the book featured per episode.