Davey & Goliath

When Robby and I were talking the other night, he referred to us as "David"--as in David and Goliath.   You know, that little pipsqueak from the Old Testament who defeated the massive warrior Goliath with his slingshot? If you haven't picked up your bible in a while, you can refresh your memory here. 

I've been thinking about David and Goliath a lot lately.  I work at the Paley Center for Media (formerly known as The Museum of Television & Radio), so the first thing that came to my mind when Robby mentioned David & Goliath, was not the bible story, but was the 1960's/70's stop-motion animation show that my dad used to plop me in front of every Sunday morning, so I could be versed in good Lutheran values (even though I was Catholic).  Okay, it was probably so that he could read the Sunday paper in peace. 

As bizarre as I find this show now, it really impacted me as a child.  And looking back at it, it was pretty progressive for its time as far as children's programming went.  This religious half hour show with a clay dog and little clay boy broached issues like racism, gangs, conservation and violence, among other things.  And I didn't even remember that until I started looking back at some episodes.

This episode isn't particularly groundbreaking, but for all you youngins who read this blog, it gives you an idea:

I'm sure the episode when Davey befriends Johnathan (the lone African-American boy), along with my tween obsession with "Good Times (Dyn-o-mite!)," "Sanford and Son (Oh, this time its real, I'm a-comin' 'Lizabeth!)," and "What's Happening (Hey, hey, hey!)," had something to do with the fact that I was drawn to work in environments different from my own once I got to New York City.  It's funny what types of things impact our choices in life.

Which brings me to Helen.  Yes, it's true--it's a show with kids, for kids, about kids.  It also happens to be about some pretty heavy and important issues.  Oh, and did I mention that there are some beautifully complex and multi-dimensional adults in it, too?

Ultimately, Helen is a show for anyone who knows what it feels like to be "broken."  Broken because of a failed relationship, a dysfunctional family, a crisis, a heartbreak, a failure, a missed opportunity, a loss...and I could go on and on and on.  Know someone like that? 

I do.

And the beauty of Helen on 86th St. is that all the characters, young and old, despite being broken, are determined to survive and flourish.  Hey, we all can use a little dose of that in our entertainment, right?  And when kids, adults, senior citizens, school groups, and families leave the theatre, I think that's what they will be talking about.

Who knows?  Maybe eons from now someone will be blogging about this weird musical they saw as a kid focused on a twelve-year old girl who was obsessed with being Helen of Troy in her school play.  And maybe because of that play, they became a writer, or an actor, or a doctor or a teacher.  Maybe there was something about the show that stuck with them all those years--a song, a line, a performance, a lyric--and it helped them get through a bad year, or a long day, or their own crisis.

One can only hope.  (Well, I also hope that Helen ages better than Davey & Goliath.)

But, I've got to run!  I've got reservation lists to create, cards to write, and baklava that needs finishing touches.

Oh, and a slingshot to get ready.