Monday, December 11, 2006

Evil Clowns: What Happened to the Baby Boomers

My parents belonged to the Baby Boomer generation, which means I was born into a family of annoying hippies who eventually became annoying former hippies. But I try to be charitable: if you grow up being told that the way to survive a nuclear war is to hide under a wooden desk, it sort of makes sense to think you can end war and usher in utopia by not bathing for awhile. And when you abandon your goal of bettering the world, of course you'll develop a fondness for disco. It couldn't happen any other way.

That’s what I used to think, anyway: duck-and-cover self defense is why my parents and their friends were all nuts. But I know now I was wrong. Here’s the real culprit: the first television appearance of a terrifying Ronald McDonald with a paper cup for a nose. How can any child grow up normal after that?

(The video is pretty low-res; does that McDonald’s sign actually say “over one million served?” Oh, how quaint.)


Anonymous not your daddy said...

Your parents were Hippies?! Ah, that's what's wrong with you! ;-)

Actually, Hippies were only a small portion of the Baby Boomer generation. Most of us were too busy trying to get in on some of that "free love" to worry about changing the world,...that or tiptoeing thru the bamboo stakes in the rice paddies of Nam.

12:24 AM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

The wooden desk keeps the broken window glass from hitting you when the shock wave goes by.

3:05 AM  
Blogger Anne O'Neimaus said...

And "Duck and Cover" was the generic solution to disasters, not just Nuclear War - at least in California. The drill was the same for earthquakes, for similar reasons: keep falling/flying pieces of building off of you. Nobody really felt that would help when "The Big One" hit, either.

6:56 AM  
Blogger David Macharelli said...

Why would McDonald's think that a cardboard food tray would make a good clown hat?

I wouldn't want to get close enough to that John Wayne Gacy-looking hobo to eat any fries off his head. That's how wind up buried in someone's basement.

7:31 AM  
Anonymous Jeff P. said...

I gotta point out that by the time Ronald came around, the airwaves were inundated with freakish clowns. Aside from Clarabell (who was clearly insane) and the perpetually tragic Emmett Kelly (the first TV personality that ever truly annoyed me) there was that lightbulb-nosed Ed McMahon abortion that sold soda, the lame attempt to make Reddy Kilowatt a painted guy in a lightning-festooned leotard, and the horrible coming of Shields & Yarnell.
This is why boys liked Kiss in the 70s. They were cool clowns.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Jeff P. said...

Whoops. Shields & Yarnell were after the clip Jennifer links to.

Still, there were many bad clowns.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

The only good clown is a dead clown.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Jeff P. said... Still, there were many bad clowns.

Yup! Bozo Clinton comes to mind.

2:50 AM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

Still, there were many bad clowns.

One notable exception was JP Patches, for those who grew up way out west.

For those unfamiliar, wiki "J.P. Patches" and I think it comes up.

From a Patches pal....

6:05 PM  
Anonymous NoStar said...


I too am, was, and will remain a J.P. Patches pal. I feel sorry for anyone who didn't get to watch him. When I was 8, I saw my Mom laughing at something on his show that went over my head. Once I realized he was slipping in adult jokes too, I started paying closer attention.

J.P. Patches made me the man I am today.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous The Caped Madman said...

You do realize that that is Willard Scott under the clown make-up, right?

10:10 AM  
Anonymous a moose said...

You do realize that that is Willard Scott under the clown make-up, right?

I'll be damned, does look like him.

3:11 PM  

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