They can be sequences that live just on the fringes of memory, but which no one else can recall!
When I was a boy, in the mid-1960s or so (perhaps a couple of years later), I was a tremendous fan of cartoons. (Did I yet know the word “animation”? Happily, some joys only endure, whatever their nomenclature!)
In New York, we were in the midst of a Japanese animation renaissance, although we didn’t realize it at the time. Astroboy and Gigantor and Eighth Man and Kimba and Speed Racer had joined our happy pantheon of Bugs Bunny and the Warner Brothers/Looney Tunes gang, and Popeye, and Koko the Clown and George Pal’s Puppetoons (the latter two only very early in the morning), and Gumby and other newly produced, syndicated fare.
One morning, I was changing channels, when I was suddenly taken in by the most dream-like of an Asian set, animated MOVIE. It was taking place in the time of the Samurai. and somehow, the good guy (as I recall), went to challenge a local bully in a tavern of some sort, only to – ultimately — fall into a type of bee-hive, which took him to some type of other-dimensional, and possibly hellish, locale…
I may have solved the riddle finally, of what this very surrealistic film was, and am hoping that someone here might certainly know the answer, but for decades, folks would look at me in astonishment, when I offered this scenario…
Other television presentations listed only as unaired pilots in some references must have gotten at least one network broadcast, or at least an airing on a local affiliate, because I can also remember seeing them in my youth.
Time, and the internet, has provided some other conclusions. Animation sourcebooks used to list 1969’s Taro Giant Hero of the Jungle as an unaired American import of another Japanese cartoon show (about a kind of science fictional Tarzan, apparently), but I would have sworn that I had seen at least a few episodes on local New York television. Cartoon databases now tell us that the show was indeed seen briefly, in the United States.
A few New Yorkers also had memories of a briefly aired weekend afternoon show about modern-day Ninja Super-Spies! (Some recalled that certain broadcasts were actually hosted by New York’s legendary kids tv show host, Chuck McCann!) Most had never heard of this obscure show, but the series, in fact, turned out to be an English dub entitled Phantom Agents!
VIDEO CLIP ONE, Phanom Agents Trailer
VIDEO CLIP TWO, Phantom Agents Opening
But other screenings in memory offer no conclusive paths…
My oddest tale along these lines involves the 1960 movie, Stop! Look! And Laugh! The picture was an anthology film, combining sequences from several Columbia Three Stooges shorts. The wraparound sequences starred Paul Winchell and his famous puppets, Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff. (One scene set in a diner, featured a cameo by another famous WPIX kids host, “Officer” Joe Bolton, who showed the Stooges films on the local station.) There was also a sequence with the Marquis Chimps, enacting Cinderella…
Clearly, this was aimed at the old kiddie matinee market!
As a lifelong Stooges fan, and someone who had grown up with “Winchell and Mahoney,” I was happy to finally catch up with the movie, one afternoon, in the mid 1980s, over local broadcast television. Waking up from a nap, I was astonished by one sequence, where with Winch out of the room, Jerry Mahoney suddenly GETS UP and walks away! It was a wonderful bit of magic, magic realism, really, easily performed, but nonetheless stunning, for one raised loving the characters.
But when the film was rebroadcast, a couple of years later, the enchanted sequence I so admired was cut.
When I watched a prerecorded edition of Stop! Look! And Laugh!, the scene was also gone.
Film buff friends had no memory of the scene, and suggested my mind was confusing a similar scenario involving Edgar Bergen’s Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist figure…
Of course, it’s possible I had been dreaming.
Yet, I knew what I had seen, some years before.
I wasn’t drunk, or hungover, and I don’t do drugs.
There was the remote possibility that somehow, at one point, the old Metromedia Station, WNEW, Channel 5, had acquired a rare print of the movie, containing the Jerry Mahoney showcase. We had had other examples of films on New York television having footage that was missing in other parts of the country. (For years, film fans insisted that parts of Laurel and Hardy’s Babes In Toyland (March of the Wooden Soldiers), were lost, when we had been seeing those elements for years, on Channel 11!)
On the other hand, there are still those insist they’ve seen the entirely missing spider-pit sequence, from 1933’s King Kong…
Almost immediately, another possibility occured to me, one that I recognized, of course, as being fanciful.
(And I was also reminded of a couple of instances, where I’m convinced I’ve read the obituaries of folks who haven’t died, years before they actually passed.)
If someone knows they’ve seen or heard something that doesn’t apparently exist, isn’t it possible — however dimly — that for a moment, that person has passed into a parallel dimension — A dimension where the material has substance?
I was only mildly astonished when physicists began, a while ago, to suggest that our lives, and realities, may in fact constantly be shifting.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. One can only do the best one can do, and try to be the kindest one can be, no matter what you wake up to.
And hope, if one is so inclined, that there will be something good on, whenever you flip the channels!