Thursday, February 18, 2010

Four Bells! -- A "Theme Thursday" Post

This week's Theme Thursday topic is "bell," and although there will be the usual creative approaches to the subject from the many Blogger-bloggers who've signed up, there's one thing which probably all of us will have in common besides (obviously) the "bell" theme itself.

More on that shortly.

My own slant on the subject is to give you some background info on one of the television kiddie show hosts I grew up watching in the early 1960s. And for once, I'll be relatively and mercifully brief.

I grew up in southern Massachusetts, and the majority of TV stations we of that era tuned to were based in Boston. One of the local personalities was a gentleman known as Captain Bob Cottle. When I watched him, Captain Bob worked for channel five, WHDH-TV, which was then a CBS affiliate... although in the early 1960s he also played host to Hanna-Barbera's Ruff & Reddy Show on NBC, somehow...

I collect whatever late 1950s & early 1960s New England kiddie show memorabilia I can get my hands on, and I have a few mementos from Captain Bob, including the two magazines shown above and a "Jasper" squeaky toy based on Captain Bob's puppet sidekick.

Oh, and I did manage to pick up one other item, a store display for a Captain Bob product...

Which brings us back to "bell." Like the bell in the upper left-hand corner of my sidebar. (Feel free to click on that, by the way.)

One of the Blogger-bloggers whom I'm acquainted with is a Canadian gent named Barry, who writes a blog called An Explorer's View of Life. Today, at two p.m., EST, Barry will be ringing a bell in accordance with... Well, let me quote from an earlier post on Barry's own blog:

High on the wall next to the exit from the Chemo Day Care Centre at Princess Margaret Hospital a bell is waiting for me. As I mentioned in my post a week ago Friday, there is a ritual at PMH that those patients completing their last treatment of chemotherapy, ring the bell as they leave.

Today is Barry's last treatment. But he won't be ringing that bell alone. Not exactly. Bloggers from literally all over the world have latched onto this idea, and in honor of Barry (and every other person who's ever battled some form of cancer), there will be hundreds of people ringing some sort of bell -- dinner bells, bicycle bells, bells supplied via YouTube videos, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera! -- or making some sort of noise, to show their solidarity.

Kind of inspiring.

And as for me? Well, if you know me at all, you know I wasn't satisfied with just the display for that "Ship's Bell" of Captain Bob's.

Yep, I tracked down one of those Captain Bob brass bells, in its original box, no less. And that's the bell that I'll be ringing at 2 p.m. EST.

That's right, this land-lubber will be ringing a ship's bell! Just for Barry. And if you read this post before 2 p.m., feel free to join us.

(And in case you're wondering, the "four bells" mentioned in my title -- if I understand the way these things work -- is how they used to mark the hour of 2 p.m. at sea.)

Now let's make those bells ring... and the ground shake!

Thanks for your time.


  1. Anybody ever tell you that you really are a nice guy?

  2. Heh, heh...fanstastic approach; tho' I wasn't privy to the show...and as far as bells, I've the ones in-house plus the ones on a certain church in Germany, I'll be ringing in the grey matter :)

    I know I've seen the advert here but didn't know you actually got one of the bells...or per'aps you told me and I forgot?

  3. Capt. Bob was the nickname given to the British newspaper owner and robber-baron Robert Maxwell. Few bells sounded in his memory when he eventually jumped ship.

  4. what an interesting take on the theme. i knew a captain kangaroo once, and his good pall green jeans...sorry that is what my bell was ringing...

  5. I didn't watch your Captain Bob, but I adored another one, Bob Keeshan, Captain Kangaroo. He was my hero.

  6. I've told you that you are a really nice guy! ;)

    Was born just a few years later than you...and like the others, Captain Kangaroo ruled!

    Ringing for Barry today!

  7. @Betsy: Somehow I had a feeling you'd chime in -- couldn't resist the "bell" pun today -- after I left that comment!

    And for all of you Captain Kangaroo fans... I never thought of it that way, but I guess Captain Kangaroo, played by Bob Keeshan, was a "Captain Bob," too, in a way. When I first moved David'Z RantZ from Diaryland to Blogger two years ago, I would often recycle older posts, assuming practically no one had seen them. I even "backdated" some celebrity tributes I'd done, so there are a few of those that are listed as being posted before February 11th, 2008. You can go here if you want to see the little obit I did for Mr. Keeshan on January 23, 2004.

  8. Hark,how the bells,
    Sweet silver bells,
    All seem to say
    Away from all those
    We hold dear.
    Maybe not today
    or not next year
    But this will be
    The war to be won.
    We will soon have
    On the run.

  9. Believe it or not, in Baltimore we had Pete the Pirate. Lots of "aaarrr, matey!" and stuff, and he even had a real parrot perched on his shoulder. No bells, though.

    I went looking for a ship's bell yesterday to add to the collection I was putting together today; I swear I saw one on the front door frame in the colonial section of town, to be used as a doorbell, I suppose. I never found it, though. Darn!

  10. @Roy: Ah, I learn more about you. Had no idea you weren't born in New England. (I'll add that to your file...)

  11. we had Tom Hatten in LA. he wore a sailor hat, had a large easel with paper and a crayon or something and he drew "squiggles" and we had to copy the squiggle then draw something from it or just watch him turn his into something. The best part of his show were the Popeye cartoons plus Betty Boop cartoons. I loved those. No bell, no sidekick tho'.

    Remember Soupy Sales?

  12. Wouldn't Captain Bob be proud??!! Ring that authentic bell loudly will you? I will be listening!

    Ringing our bell in my neck of the woods...OH! VERY SOON!

  13. Happy TT! Will ring here, too!

  14. Strange thing... A friend of mine from RI was trying to tell me about this guy many years back. I had no clue what he was talking about until just now.

  15. I'm ready to ring...3 minutes to go. Yeah Barry!

  16. @California Girl: Except for the "squiggle" part, our Captain Bob taught kids to draw the same. In fact, later in his career, he came out with some instructional how-to-draw videos.

    @All Other Commenters: I'd like to keep replying to everyone personally, but the problems with my arm are causing me to take frequent breaks, and avoid typing when I can. I will try to visit everyone's site today who's visited mine, just to return the favor.

  17. Great collection of Captain Bob memorabilia. I so love that you are ringing his original bell. You know that I do!

  18. Wow now that's some nostalgia. I'm from Massachusetts too. Salem here. I remember Capt. Bob. He was my favorite of all of them. Do you remember Big Brother on WBZ-TV?

  19. Good luck with that bell ringing, David. You really are a nice guy. Time someone said so...Happy TT!

  20. @Ronda: Yeah, you always seem to appreciate the "classics," as it were, especially classic cars, eh?

    @E: Awww, thanks.

    @Ralph: I have a lot of Big Brother stuff in my collection, including a coloring book WBZ-TV put out co-starring Bob Emery and Rex Trailer! Rex signed it for me a couple of years ago.

  21. I'm amazed by this. What a fascinating story and what a beautiful bell.

    Maybe you are a nice guy.

    Alright, pretend I didn't say that.

    But thank you.

  22. I was happy to do my small part, Barry.

  23. Ok, I am going to google Captain Bob.
    Well, after my chores anyways.

    Lovely to know him through you.


  24. I was just able to purchase via private sale a Captain Bob origional Drawing from 1964!!!
    I grew up adoring the man. I saw his show from the 70's produced by WCVB Boston in reruns in the 80's. They used to show it at 6:30AM on Sat and 6 AM on Sun but as it got into the 1990's the show got bumped earlier and earlier and I was unable to watch it as much as I would have liked till one day it was gone and I found myself an early 20-something year old working at the RR (the Bay Colony RR in Mass). I remember one morning going along the "Falmouth branch which skirted the coast of Buzzards Bay" and thinking "Gee that shack over there looks kinda like the little shack from the beginning of Captain Bob." It was either that day or the next that I got home from work and my mom told me that she had heard on the radio Captain Bob had passed away.
    I'll always remember his closing statement:
    "Till next time, and whatever yu do, be careful"

    1. I was watching him during his WHDH (pre-WCVB) era, in the 1960s. I was so young I didn't know how to properly read a TV Guide, and it was only hit-or-miss when I could find him!


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