Purple Crayon

Memory is a funny thing. If you read the thing I posted yesterday about bookstores, you know there’s a thread going on over on MLF, wherein people discuss their favorite whatsits. My web-friend Kira has been discussing her favorite books from her childhood.

Something in one of her comments called to mind Harold and the Purple Crayon, about a boy who makes his imaginings come true by drawing them with his crayon. Now, I bought that book for my nephew, Jake, a couple years ago, and when I did, I had this half-memory from years ago of a cartoon based on Harold.

But something didn’t seem quite right. It wasn’t exactly Harold I was remembering. I knew I was remembering a short toon with the adventures of a boy like Harold, but for some reason I knew that it wasn’t Harold himself.

It’s bugged me for a couple years, but I’ve shoved these stirrings of memory back into my subconscious and never pursued them. But then, today, I decided finally to chase it down. Here’s what I had: a boy, using some type of crayon or pen to create an imaginary world where he’d have these adventures; the cartoon was a regular short segment in a longer children’s program–Mr. Rogers, Captain Kangaroo, or whatever; and there was theme song I used to sing along to, when I was wee.

Not much to go on. But some strange neurological process shouted CAPTAIN KANGAROO at my highest centers of reasoning. Armed with that, I Googled “harold purple crayon captain kangaroo,” which led me a page about Harold and his creator, Crockett Johnson. Turns out there was a segment on Captain Kangaroo, about a boy similar to Harold, who drew his imaginings in chalk. Simon had a theme song, which began, “Well you know my name is Simon, and the things I draw come true.” Oooooohhhhhh. Now that rang a bell.

So I Googled “simon captain kangaroo,” which led me to a delightful page devoted to Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings, a British cartoon that Bob Keeshan imported to use on his program.

Now, scroll down that page. Nearly halfway down, you’ll find links to the Simon theme, in WAV and MP3 format. I downloaded an MP3 and played it in WinAmp. I closed my eyes and listened; with remarkable clarity and precision, I was suddenly 25 years younger, sitting cross-legged on the floor, in front of CBS on a weekday morning, watching and hearing Simon on the Captain Kangaroo program.

Memory is a funny thing.


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