When I was very young in Los Angeles, every evening after homework was done and before dinner was served, there was, "Time for Beany". Live and in glorious black-and-white from the studios of KTLA, in the other quarter-hour from Shirley Dinsdale, three men created wonderful handpuppet mayhem on our 7-inch screen, and made us four Martin kids more adventuresome and happier that we knew. Television was still an infant, like us in many ways. Trying everything, testing the then-current boundaries of taste and excess, acting out all emotion, mugging at the 'fourth wall' -- arts we fine-tuned on the backyard swings, softball fields, and upper school quads just in time for the 60s. In the beginning, as I recall, in addition to the Cap'n and Beany and Dishonest John, two other characters littered the decks of the "Leakin' Lena". A clown-suited fellow called "Clownie" apparently was an early victim of Not Enough Hands To Go Around, and either fell overboard or was pushed there (accidently, of course) by DJ (nyah ah ahhhhh!). Fading inept memory suggests flowsy red (we were told) hair, conical hat-with-tassel, and a striped and baggy suit. And an Irish/Scots accent? The second additional character lasted somewhat longer, and may have been overtaken by some PC sensitivity. "Cookie" was the obviously oriental gentleman in charge of the galley aboard the Leakin' Lena, with costume and braid in proper form. He often brandished a meat cleaver, tho, and was not at all fond of the Cap'n's reactions to his creations. Somewhen, he went missing, too. The adventures of the permanent cast are not etched in my mind, nor do I recall any one of the plot lines. What does remain, more than fifty years after the fact, is how good one can be (Beany) and still be sad sometimes, how blundering (Cecil) or pig-headed (Cap'n) it is possible to be and yet retain a huge heart, and that craftiness and skullduggery (DJ) will get you absolutely nowhere and, often, wet.
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