Interstitial: What Might Have Been

Through the course of booking all our media appearances, there were various ones that didn’t work out. Some, I’m sure, we never heard about in the first place—I know it was mentioned that we weren’t always told about possibilities, so we wouldn’t all get our hopes up if things didn’t pan out. Some names that were dropped in passing were Today, Good Morning America, Geraldo, and Live With Regis and Kathie Lee (we were told that that one didn’t happen because Disney was the parent company, though who knows if that was actually the case).

We also had one magazine that, as far as we ever knew, didn’t print the story they prepared. We were supposed to be in TIME, and the interview and photo shoot had all been done. As fate would have it, though, the story was slated to run the week that turned out to be the start of the Gulf War, so it understandably got bumped for harder news. We were told it would still run, and week after week we kept flipping through the issues in the checkout line, but the story never showed up and we never heard from them with a copy of it, so I’m assuming it never ran. (If anybody can find it, please comment and let me know!)

A snapshot from the TIME photo shoot. At least we got free sweatshirts out of it.

We were also offered the chance to be on a revival of the game show To Tell the Truth, which would have meant a trip back to L.A. (the biggest argument in favor of it, in my opinion back then). We weren’t all sure we really wanted to do that, though—a game show isn’t exactly the same kind of spotlight as an interview—and in the end the dealbreaker was that they were only willing to pay for one parent to chaperone the three of us, which wasn’t something our parents were comfortable with doing for a cross-country trip.

And of course, much to our disappointment, we never got to be on what was then the Holy Grail of TV appearances: Oprah. There was word of it being a possibility at one point, but what I remember is that it was supposed to be a show about kids doing amazing things and we would be one segment on it, whereas they (WB/our publicist) were aiming for appearances where we were the only ones featured. (We didn’t care. We would have happily been on Oprah in a segment short enough to be a subliminal message.) That kind of info often got to us second- or third-hand, though, so I’m hesitant to state that as the reason (or even a reason) that it didn’t work out.

Also in the category of things that never happened were any other scripts or pitches for more Tiny Toons episodes. At the time we were told, yeah, sure, send in any other ideas you have, though I think even then we understood deep down that they were just being polite and encouraging to the kids. I do remember writing and drawing various ideas on a yellow legal pad, and I noted in my journal once that Amy and Sarah “have written another episode,” one about a concert featuring a fox singer/rapper called MC Frozen Yogurt. (I think it was inspired by their experiences at a New Kids on the Block concert they went to.)

My journal also has a cryptic reference one day that “I finished writing B&BGH 2-1/2,” but there are no other mentions of it that I can find, and I have literally no memory of whatever that sequel was. Hopefully Buster and Babs had a better trip, but I rather doubt it.

Interstitial: Birdhouse in My Soul

I first heard the album probably in the latter part of seventh grade, from a friend who said it was good. I popped the cassette in and gave it a listen. The songs were oddly catchy, and captivatingly odd.  The lyrics made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.

I loved it.

As some of you have already guessed (from my riff in the title of this post), the album was Flood, by They Might Be Giants. And when we were in Jean MacCurdy’s office during the L.A. trip, she showed us two music videos from an upcoming Tiny Toons episode — which turned out to be videos of two songs from the album.

I’m pretty sure I was the only one in that room who was already familiar with the songs. (In the episode, they even have Buster quip, “Who are these guys?”) It felt like such an awesome inside joke to have the characters from my favorite TV show doing videos from an album I was listening to constantly. Amy and Sarah and my other friends from that set never got into TMBG as far as I knew, and for my part even I just bought Miscellaneous T later on, liked some of the songs on it, and then kind of lost interest and moved on to other artists and styles.

Still, the album remains a perfect little time machine for a couple years or so of my life, in that visceral way that music can transport you back, and Forty can remember, if only for the space of a chorus, what it felt like to be Thirteen.

Video – Tiny Toons: Particle Man

Video – Tiny Toons: Istanbul

They Might Be Giants – Flood (full album)

Interstitial: Dear Mr… Speilberg?

Here’s the letter we sent along with our story. (Addresses and phone number there are long since defunct, by the way.) I don’t remember whether I wrote it solo or we composed it together, but I’m betting it was the former, since the letter’s in first person from my perspective. Amy then typed it in the school’s computer room and printed it out for us — those are her initials there at the bottom, in proper secretarial style.

To the question that always comes up of “did we ever think this would be made into an episode,” I think this letter makes it pretty clear that we really weren’t expecting anything much — just that “we would like your opinion,” and even that feels like something of an afterthought to me.

Besides, if you’re aiming to have your enclosed story made into an episode, it would seem a bad idea to misspell the recipient’s name — plus forget to, you know, actually sign the letter. (At least we made an effort to explain the teacher-related inside jokes in the story. Apologies to Ms. Coffey and Mr. Aylor, by the way.)

Two other quick asides: 1) I seriously have no memory whatsoever of that fan club, and 2) The blatant flattery in that last paragraph is so Thirteen.

Honestly, this entire letter is so embarrassing to me now that I try to avoid looking directly at it for long periods of time. So of course, here I am putting it up on the Internet…

Our letter to Spielberg


Interstitial: Things I Love/Things I Hate

ak coverWhen I was a tween (which I think was technically before the word “tween” was used), I loved the Anastasia Krupnik books by Lois Lowry. In retrospect, I think that might have been part of my inspiration for keeping a notebook of some kind or other ever since, as Anastasia has her secret green notebook where she writes down her favorite words and lots of lists. In that first book of the series, every chapter ends with Anastasia’s ever-changing side-by-side lists of Things I Love and Things I Hate.

It’s really no surprise, then, that there’s a set of lists just like that in the first of my Warner Bros. composition book journals.

(Okay, Thirteen, we’ll list the whole thing, and I’ll keep my comments to the footnotes. But I’m putting this behind a cut, and it’s your fault if people’s eyes glaze over and they stop following and nobody reads this blog ever again. Just so you know.)

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