Monday, May 31, 2021

In Their Footsteps: New England History - The Pink House of Plum Island

    Relationships are complicated things. They can bring out the best and the worst in people. They can make a person do things they never thought possible, both in good and bad ways. Crimes of passion and things done out of spite are often associated with relationships gone wrong. One of the greatest spiteful maneuvers done in a relationship is actually tied in to Massachusetts history and in fact is seen by countless drivers on a daily basis. It comes in the from of a home. A beautiful, stately home, decked out completely in pink. It sounds delightful and in most cases it would be. However this pink house does not reside in a suburban neighborhood, or even on a remote estate. No, this pink house sits in a marshy wetland. Allegedly built out of spite by a husband for his soon-to-be ex-wife, this is the story behind the oddity that is the Pink House of Plum Island, Massachusetts.

The Pink House of Plum Island(Elizabeth Thomsen/Flickr)

    The urban legend that surrounds the Pink House goes as follows. During divorce proceedings one of the wife's demands was that she have a house built that was an exact replica of the one she had shared with her husband. She never specified where to build it though which led to the spiteful husband building it upon the marshy area where it still resides. It was purportedly even built with salt water plumbing making it virtually uninhabitable.

    Whether or not the Pink House was built as a less than charitable gesture by a divorcing husband the idea of a 'spite house' is very real. It is a dwelling built with the main purpose being to irritate neighboring home or land owners. Examples of this practice can be found in a link to an article on at the end of this post. That being said it has yet to be confirmed as to whether the house along the Plum Island Turnpike was built from spite or not. Here are the basic facts of the story.

    Young couple Henry Cutter and Ruth Morin wed in Newburyport, Massachusetts in June 1922 at the home of Ruth's parents on High Street. They lived in a few places around town in the ensuing years with Ruth giving birth to a son Henry Jr. in 1923.

    Perhaps in a bid to give her grandson a permanent home, Henry's mother Gertrude Cutter stepped up and purchased a parcel of land in July 1925. This land, previously owned by prominent Newburyport widow Abbie Little, sat on the marshy uplands near Plumbush Creek a little more than a mile from the ocean. It had been used for harvesting salt marsh hay, hardly a pristine location for a new family home. Though it must be said that during this time the nearby waterfront of Plum Island was being built up with homes to attract families.

    On this parcel of land a two-story house was built in 1925 roughly 150 back from the road on the uplands. The home was painted pink, though it is not known why. It was likely seen as a perfect home to live in for a young family. However the honeymoon was very short-lived. Behind the scenes there had already been trouble brewing between Henry and Ruth. This was only exacerbated after moving in to the Pink House.

    Once settled in Henry would routinely disappear. It was said by Ruth he would leave for upwards of a week at a time while she stayed in the house with their son. The Pink House was in a wide-open area, exposed to the elements. It was prone to having water in the basement with towels and newspapers being used in the place of curtains. During a 12-day absence by Henry in November 1925 Ruth contacted an attorney who advised her to take her son and everything she believed was hers and leave the Pink House behind. That is what she did. A separation soon followed along with divorce proceedings citing desertion as the cause.

    Only after leaving the Pink House did Ruth discover the depth of Henry's deception. It turned out that he had been spending a lot of time in the company of a Boston businesswoman named Beatrice Bowry. In addition Henry would get meals from his mother Gertrude's home while leaving Ruth $2($31 in 2021) for food and necessities for the week for both her and their infant son.

    It took more than a decade for the divorce to be finalized after which Henry married Beatrice. The Cutter Family maintained ownership of the Pink House until the sold it in 1947, using it as a summer home in those years. The Pink House was sold four times in eight years with brackish water in the plumbing being purported as a source of trouble for the owners.

    Milton and Juliette Stott became the sixth owners in 1960 and brought some stability to the property. The home remained in the family's possession until 2011 even though it was not lived in after the early 2000's. In 2011 the U.S. Fish & Wildlife/Parker River Wildlife Refuge bought the home and the salt marsh property it stands upon. In 2016 there was a close call with the home nearly being razed. Support the Pink House is an organization working to this day to preserve this unique and now historic home.

    Despite the legend that the Pink House was built out of spite by an angry soon-to-be ex-husband there is not much to support that claim. Unfortunately the reality of the situation is sadder. Henry Cutter moved his wife and young son into the house and abandoned them there with little money while he lived like a king with free food at his mother's and a new lover on the side.

    Regardless of why it was built the Pink House of Plum Island is truly a sight to see. It has become a very popular spot for photography, painting, and even bird watching. Located on a marshy upland along the Plum Island Turnpike it is hard not to stop and stare at this historic and oddly placed home in wonder.


Saturday, May 29, 2021

Child of the 1980's - Atari 2600


                In 2021 it is hard to imagine a time when video games were primitive.  Xbox, Nintendo Wii, and Playstation have all lay claim to some incredible games and consoles.  The graphics and stories are mind-blowing with new advances in technology coming at such a rapid pace.  Handheld consoles, virtual reality, motion-capture, and more have become the norm.  However there was a time not very long ago where a dot bouncing across a screen between two sliding bars was the biggest thing on earth.  Before the more recent games where the graphics mimic reality there was a time when 8-bit graphics were the greatest thing going.  It was during this time, as a child of the 1980’s, where I was introduced to the world of video games.  It was not through Nintendo, or Sega, or Xbox, or Playstation.  It was through the granddaddy of video game consoles, the Atari 2600.

Image result for atari 2600
Atari 2600
                In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s if a kid wanted to play video games it was usually off to the video arcade.  It was less common for a kid to have a home console although a few did exist, specifically ColecoVision and Atari VCS.  Atari had a firm grip on the market though as they had established themselves by creating the game Pong in 1972, one of the earliest video arcade games. The Atari Video Console System was an 8-bit system released in September 1977.  It would sell for between $199-229 ($803-925 in 2017) and popularize cartridge-based consoles with games being loaded into the top of the machine.  The games would be controlled with a simple joystick coupled with one red button.  Initially Atari released nine games with its VCS: Air-Sea Battle, Basic Math, Blackjack, Combat, Indy 500, Star Ship, Street Racer, two versions of Surround, Video Olympics.

                Atari would change its console from the VCS to 2600 in 1982 when they released its successor the 5200.  It was around this time that I was introduced to home video games.  I can clearly remember playing games like Pitfall, Missile Command, and Pac-Man at home on weekends or after school.  Pac-Man would go on to become the top-selling game ever on Atari along with a pop culture icon.  Some of the other legendary games that came along through the Atari include Asteroids, Space Invaders, Frogger, Dig Dug, Pole Position, Mario Bros., and Donkey Kong.
Image result for pac man
Pac-Man Screenshot
                I did not get a chance to play all of those games on my home console, as the early 1980’s were still a time where video games were new and rare and still seen as a niche, or a luxury, while playing outside was the go to activity for kids.  However I loved playing my Atari, and so did a lot of other people.  When all was said and done the Atari 2600 sold over 30 million consoles and hundreds of millions of games during its time in existence.
     Atari’s grasp on the throne would come to an end quickly.  Oversaturation of the market led to a huge drop in sales beginning in late 1983.  They continued to slip in 1984 and 1985 with many thinking home video game consoles were fading away.  Then in late 1985 Japan brought its Nintendo Entertainment System to the United States.  It would revitalize the video game industry eventually rendering Atari obsolete and selling more than 60 million units worldwide.
Image result for atari 2600 pitfall
     Ironically more than thirty years after Atari was the biggest thing in video games one can play some of the classics online.  There are original consoles still able to be found on eBay along with the popular Atari Flashback new consoles.  The company also made headlines again in 2014 when 1,300 unsold cartridges, many of them of the huge failure E.T., were uncovered in the desert in New Mexico.  Atari officials said that the burial was of over 700,000 cartridges in 1983 but was frequently dismissed as only an urban legend.

                Despite it being mainly a footnote in the history of video gaming there is no denying the importance of Atari.  I have lots of fond memories swinging on vines as Pitfall, shooting aliens in Space Invaders, and chomping ghosts in Pac-Man.  What were the first video games you remember playing?  Stay tuned for more awesome 80’s memories!


Tuesday, May 25, 2021

In Their Footsteps: Cape Cod History - The Story of Route 6's 'Suicide Alley'


The Mid-Cape Highway, known as Route 6, extends 63 miles across Cape Cod from the foot of the Sagamore Bridge to Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown. It passes through every town on Cape Cod except for Falmouth, Mashpee, and Chatham. First designated in 1926 this road has been consistently improved and redeveloped over the subsequent century. It is now the main highway and busiest road on the Cape.

Throughout its lengthening and widening, eventually connecting the entirety of Cape Cod Route 6 has remained a quite normal highway. It is a double-barreled road from Sandwich to Dennis, while becoming more of a traditional surface road between Eastham and Provincetown. However there is one section of Route 6 that has become a world unto its own. This 13-mile section connects Dennis to Orleans and has been witness to an unusually high number of fatal auto accidents. So much so that this section of road has had its own unique and chilling nickname. It is known by locals as 'Suicide Alley.'

This section of Route 6, extending the highway to the Orleans Rotary, was initially completed in 1959. In 1954 the highway was widened from two to four lanes up to Hyannis, it took until 1971 for it to be widened to four lanes into Dennis. However that was where the widening stopped. The section between Dennis and Orleans remained two lanes, one in each direction, and has right up until the current day.

The Mid-Cape Highway in the 1950's.(Sturgis Library)

Initially this two-lane highway maintained the 55mph speed limit of the rest of Route 6 up to that point. To allow faster traveling vehicles an easier time 22 passing zones were also included on this part of the road, meaning it was possible for passing vehicles to be face to face with those coming in the opposite direction. Likely sensing impending doom the Massachusetts Department of Public Works discussed plans to widen Route 6 to four lanes all the way into Orleans. However environmental concerns halted these talks by 1974. The proposed widening would impact some wetlands, several ponds, and potentially town drinking water. The state did lower the speed limit from 55 to 50mph in 1974. This did little to slow the increasing rash of severe accidents.

It was not until the late 1970's that this part of the highway got its morbid nickname. First seen in a printed capacity in 1979 'Suicide Alley' was bestowed upon the 13-miles of road. This was due to the high number of fatal vehicle accidents. Between 1973-1979 alone there were 17 deaths and 174 injuries along Suicide Alley. It was easy to understand why as the two lanes had hardly any separation between them with vehicles commonly traveling far above the posted 50mph speed limit. This was a cramped section of road where on an off-season day the highway can see upwards of 55,000 vehicles. It only exacerbated in the summer when those numbers could easily double. Traffic jams heading west on summer days are frustratingly normal even to this day.

In 1979 there were renewed talks over widening Route 6. The environmental concerns were raised again though the idea of getting the towns involved (Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, and Orleans) on the same page seemed to be just as difficult. It was said at the time that a 'united front' would help get the project funded. By 1981 again talks had quieted down. Instead locals gave ideas on how to make Suicide Alley safer without widening it. Some of these included traffic lights at all on ramps and a concrete barrier along the entire stretch of road. The barrier was also nixed due to environmental concerns.

An interesting note on Suicide Alley was the fact that despite the fatalities along it being higher than the state average for highways, the number of accidents in general was lower. In the mid-1980's some state police officers referred to the Dennis to Orleans section of highway as the most dangerous road in Massachusetts.

'Suicide Alley' in Brewster c.2005

An environmental impact study was green-lighted in January 1986 with a Route 6 task force suggesting again to widen the highway to four lanes in September 1986. In addition to the environmental worries some locals theorized that a wider Suicide Alley could lead to a faster development of the areas it passed through. This time though the project actually gained steam. By the end of the 1980's 36 people had died on the road in the previous two decades. The tipping point was the horrific accident in April 1989 when Brewster mother Lois Ann Scholomiti and her 2 children died in a head-on collision with a truck.

In an attempt to appease all sides a $7 million($13.7 million in 2021) project was completed in 1991. A three-foot wide berm(artificial embankment) and three-foot tall reflectors were added for the entirety of Suicide Alley. The passing zones were also removed and the two lanes slightly widened. Despite these safety improvements the talk of making the road four-lanes remained and had its closest pass to date in 1994.

The Massachusetts Highway Department submitted three proposals for the maligned Suicide Alley. They all included some form of widening the road, though each with different end points of said widening. A 'full-build' to the Orleans Rotary was estimated to cost $45 million ($81 million in 2021). The project even had design plans drawn up by the Highway Department. In the nearly 3 decades since though the project has never moved beyond design plans and speculation. It must be said though that the two Cape Cod Rail Trail bridges over the highway in the years since have left room for the addition of more lanes.

The proposed changes to Suicide Alley in 1994(Mass. Highway Dept.)

For more than 40 years a 13-mile section of Cape Cod highway has been alternatively known as 'Suicide Alley' by locals. Is the name justified? There are drivers and police alike who say it is not. The Bourne Scenic Highway is one such road seen as more dangerous than Suicide Alley. According to a study by the Cape Cod Commission in 2004 the crash rate on Route 6 in Eastham is the highest, nearly triple any other section of the road, including Suicide Alley.

Those safety measures implemented in 1991 have reduced the accident rates on the road. However the rumblings of extending the four-lane Route 6 all the way to Orleans are always just below the surface. Anytime a terrible accident occurs, or a several-mile traffic backup occurs in the summer, those talks will again come bubbling up. Until it is officially no longer two lanes 'Suicide Alley' will maintain its name among locals, even if it has not been truly fitting in three decades.


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New Book Release: In My Footsteps Podcast Episode 21

Monday, May 10, 2021

Child of the 1980's - Introduction to Music


                Music has the ability to conjure up emotion without effort.  A favorite song can make a bad day better.  It can make a workout amazing, a road trip epic, a thunderstorm legendary, and so much more. 
                We all have those songs and artists which bring those emotions up within us.  However do you ever stop to think about where it all began?  Not necessarily how you came to love whatever your music of choice is, but how you were first introduced to music period?
                This question does not need to be relegated to a specific time or age group, someone whose first musical love was Justin Bieber is just as valid as someone who saw The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.  Music is a gateway to the soul. 

A Fisher-Price Phonograph(Wikimedia)

                For me as a child of the 1980’s my musical introductions definitely fit the period.  I was a child who owned vinyl albums and a Fisher-Price record player.  I was a child who was amazed by audio cassette tapes and the Sony Walkman.  I was a child who when he became a teenager saw the wide availability of something called a Compact Disc.  It was on compact disc that I purchased the album that changed my life more than any other, Nirvana’s Nevermind in 1991.  I still own that CD despite it having a severe case of CD rot after 26 years.  However I can still remember vividly two musical milestones in my childhood that I will share.  One is the first song I can actually remember playing, two is the first album I remember owning that I really loved.
                The first song that I can remember hearing was (Just Like) Starting Over by John Lennon.  

     I still have a vivid picture in my head of what that song brings up.  The song itself was released October 24, 1980 as the lead single from his upcoming Double Fantasy album.  The album was a comeback for the former Beatle after spending five years in a semi-retirement.  It comes as no surprise to myself looking back that my introduction to music should be connected to The Beatles as my father grew up as a diehard fan, even a member of the fan club during the mid-1960’s. 
                I have fond memories of hearing that song and album at my Nana’s house.  Though I cannot pinpoint that date I know that it must have been early spring of 1981 as I can remember windows and doors open likely as my Nana would have said ‘to air out the house after winter.’ 
                John Lennon would be murdered on December 8, 1980, only three weeks after Double Fantasy was released.  It catapulted the initially lukewarmly received album into the stratosphere.  After (Just Like) Starting Over other hits would come including Watching the Wheels, Woman, and Beautiful Boy.  It became a sad cap to an amazing musical legacy.
                The first album I remember owning and loving should come as no shock due to my age.  Michael Jackson’s Thriller album dropped just after my 5th birthday in 1982 and I was given a copy as a Christmas present.  The nine songs became the soundtrack to my life for a time.  There were many an occasion when the openings beats of Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ would be blasting on that Fisher-Price record player that I had conveniently stuck in our living room window so that all of the neighborhood kids could come and dance in the front yard.

                It helped that MTV had videos for Billie Jean, Thriller, and Beat It on constant rotation.  Even if I had not gotten the album for Christmas, I would have been asking for it all of 1983.  The album set all sorts of sales and awards marks.  Representatives for Sony Entertainment who owned Epic Records which released Thriller said in February 2017 that the album has sold over 105 million copies worldwide.
                Michael Jackson became the biggest star in the world and his videos were legendary.  For those under 30 it might be hard to separate the more tragic figure Jackson became from the undeniable musical genius he was in the 1980’s.  Back then he was every bit the King of Pop that he named himself later on.  Thriller is to this day the only full album I have on my iPod.
                What are you first memories of music in your childhood?  No matter what your age is those first memories are strong and can shape your tastes forever.  I can look back today and realize how my parents influenced my musical preferences.  Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more totally tubular 1980’s memories!


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

In Their Footsteps: Cape Cod History - How Mashnee Island Became A Village

    Off the coast of Bourne is a peninsula capped off by a fist-shaped land mass dotted with homes containing spectacular views. Along Mashnee Road it is a mile-long drive over a sandy causeway that leads you to this land mass. Surprisingly despite being connected rather apparently to the mainland this land mass at the end of the causeway is referred to as Mashnee Island. How can this be? Simple, because for the majority of its existence Mashnee was in fact an island. Here is the story of just how Mashnee Island lost its island status.

The causeway leading to Mashnee on the far left.

    Mashnee Island had been a 50-acre island populated by the Wampanoag Native Americans in Cape Cod's formative years. Richard Bourne, of whom the town is named, befriended the Natives on the island in the 17th century. They then allowed the Plymouth Colony the right to graze sheep, and protect them from a large local wolf population, on Mashnee. Farmers eventually gave up due to an infestation of disease carrying ticks during the early 18th century.

    It was home eventually to a large salt works beginning around the turn of the 19th century however a hurricane in 1835 destroyed it. In the latter half of the 19th century the island became a haven for summer parties, clambakes, and picnics by townspeople looking for an escape from the mainland. It even began to attract people from outside of New England. In 1870 a New York-based yacht club purchased the island with the intention of building a summer home there.

    The idea of a canal through Cape Cod had first been broached by Myles Standish in the 17th century. Even as early as the mid-19th century there were serious talks about a canal cutting through the Cape near Sandwich and Bourne. Back then there were even discussions of having it be built with convict labor. It took another several decades but the Cape Cod Canal would eventually become a reality.

    As the 20th century dawned the canal became a foregone conclusion. The only stumbling block was finding the financial capital to pay for such a monumental project. The massive Cape Cod Canal project was financed by August Belmont Jr. and his Boston, New York, and Cape Cod Canal Company. Belmont was a wealthy financier, heading up his late-father's August Belmont & Co. banking house. He had already financed the New York city subway and with ancestral connections to Cape Cod he felt inspired to back the creation of the Cape Cod Canal.

Dredge work being done on the Cape Cod Canal.(Historic Society of Old Yarmouth)

    With both the money and workers secured the first shovelful of dirt occurred June 22, 1909 when Belmont scooped a little dirt into a tin can using a Tiffany shovel. The waters of Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Bay finally came together when the final shovelful of dirt was taken out July 4, 1914. Upon its debut the new canal stretched nearly eight miles in length, one hundred feet in width, and fifteen feet deep. The Rose Standish was the first ship through on July 29, 1914 with the canal officially opened to limited traffic on July 30th. There would though still be some construction going on into 1916. Belmont maintained ownership of the canal until his death in 1924. Ironically he died the day before the U.S. Senate recommended that the government purchase the canal.

    After the completion of the canal Mashnee Island saw more vessel traffic around it. In 1923 the entire island was purchased by Michael Murray of Newtonville. He created Camp Keewaydin, a sailing camp for boys ages 6-16. There were 22 buildings and the camp would be attended by 60-100 boys each summer.

    In the 1930's the Cape Cod Canal got some much-needed restructuring thanks to $26 million ($529.75 million in 2021) from President Franklin Roosevelt's 'New Deal.' Beginning in September 1933 the waterway was eventually increased in size to 540 feet wide and 32-feet deep. With this added size came an issue, that of the dredge spoils. Four million cubic yards of material was scooped from the canal and needed some place to go. Before the widening was even finished it was decided where they would end up. The dredge spoils would form a man-made dike connecting Mashnee Island and nearby Hog Island to the mainland.

A postcard shortly after the dike was finished.(Boston Public Library)

    In June 1936 work began on the dike. Part of the project including shaving away part of Hog Island. It only took roughly eight months for the dike to be finished and in February 1937 Mashnee Island was an island in name only. This also rerouted the traffic from the Cape Cod Canal to the outer side of Mashnee. At the outset of World War II in 1941 Camp Keewaydin was closed to make room for military personnel to be stationed there. Once the war ended Mashnee itself was changed.

    In 1947 Stephen Days partnered with island owner Michael Murray. Days built a series of cottages on half of the island available for summer rental. He also has a large recreation complex built complete with a small piano bar and a saltwater pool. This new concept was known as Mashnee Village. Until 1990 Mashnee was both a residential community and summer resort.

    Today Mashnee is mainly a private, tight-knit, community of around 30 families. There are only homes out there. The final public building, The Quahog Republic bar and restaurant, left Mashnee in October 2009, relocating to Falmouth. Those who inhabit the 100-plus homes don't mind though. They are blessed with spectacular panoramic views of Bourne, Wareham, and much of Buzzards Bay.

The view from Mashnee looking toward Bourne.

    Those old enough to remember the days when Mashnee was an island are few and far between now. For generations it has been seen as only a mile-long causeway from Bourne. Though now a quiet throwback to old Cape Cod neighborhoods Mashnee has a history as long and rich as the Cape itself. From the Wampanoag Tribe, to sheep grazing, from saltworks and sailing clubs, from the Cape Cod Canal to World War II and beyond, Mashnee has been through it all and yet still remains relatively off the map and off the beaten path.


Saturday, May 1, 2021

Child of the 1980's - The Rise of Nickelodeon


                As a child in the early 1980’s choices for television were limited.  In addition to the Big Three networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC there were Boston-based local stations like WSBK TV-38, and WLVI-56.  Though there was cable television offered it was not as common as it is today.  When cable finally came into my life there were channels like ESPN and MTV but they did not appeal as much to an elementary school aged child.  However there was one channel which came along that became my go to for afterschool viewing, perhaps yours too?  That was Nickelodeon.  These are some of the initial classic shows which brought my afternoons and weekends joy during the mid-1980’s.

                Nickelodeon was first launched in April 1979 and was commercial-free until 1984.  The channel was meant to appeal to elementary school aged children roughly 6-11 years old.  I first became aware of Nickelodeon when cable was introduced to my life in 1984.  The shows which were on the network then have remained big parts of my childhood.  Here are just a few of those shows.  How many will bring you flashbacks?

                I can’t begin without my favorite show from those days You Can’t Do That On Television.

    For younger viewers it was where the popular green slime was introduced.  This Canadian sketch show became the fledgling channel’s first hit.  Starring a mostly child cast it debuted in 1979 locally before going international in 1981.  There were tons of funny, gross-out jokes, Barth’s Burgers, locker jokes, and of course saying ‘I Don’t Know’ to get slimed, or ‘water’ to get the liquid poured on your head.  The show was also notable for being the launching point for the career of singer Alanis Morrissette before it was canceled in 1990.

    Perhaps almost as well known was Nickelodeon’s hit game show Double Dare with host Marc Summers.

     The show which debuted in 1986 consisted of families competing against each other in a trivia contest and physical challenges to start and then an obstacle course at the end.  This was what the show became known for with its eight obstacles where you had to capture the orange flags.  The giant nose and Sundae slide were two of the most common rotating obstacles.  The show would be revamped as Super Sloppy Double Dare and Family Double Dare before ending its initial run in 1993.

    Nickelodeon also dipped its toes into the music industry with its countdown show Nick Rocks.

     The half-hour music video show hosted by Joe from Chicago ran from 1984-1989.  The network debuted the show as a way to combat what was seen as more adult-oriented music videos running on MTV.  The show is also known for The Monkees premiering their video ‘Heart and Soul’ on it after a disagreement with MTV.

    Then there was also the network’s Nick at Nite which when it launched in 1985 introduced some classic 1950’s and 1960’s shows to a new generation.  Shows like My Three Sons, Donna Reed Show, Car 54, Dennis the Menace and others were broadcast nightly beginning at 8pm.  It is still running today.

    One of my personal favorites was the delightfully different cartoon Danger Mouse.  

     The British series starred the eye-patch wearing mouse who was billed as the world’s greatest secret agent, parodying James Bond and Danger Man.  The show ran from 1981-1992 and was a staple of early Nickelodeon.  Danger Mouse had his trusted sidekick Penfold and battled his archrival Baron Silas Greenback.  Another rival Count Duckula actually got a spinoff series in 1988.

    Of course no reminiscing about old school Nickelodeon would be complete without MrWizard’s World.

     It starred Don Herbert as Mr. Wizard and ran from 1983-1990.  This show was Herbert’s second as Mr. Wizard with the original, entitled Watch Mr. Wizard, airing from 1951-65 and 1971-72.  Just in case anyone was curious, Herbert did have a degree in general science, so he definitely was qualified to speak on the subject.  It had the popular Ask Mr. Wizard segment where he answered viewer questions and the show was a hit throughout its 78-episode run.

                There were many other shows and segments that I wanted to mention but perhaps those like Out of Control, Picture Pages, Pinwheel, and others can be saved for another time.  I hope that this has been a majorly awesome trip back to the 1980’s.  More to come so stay tuned!


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