It was Tommy Smothers' birthday on monday, turning the ripe old age of 72. Tommy Smothers and his brother Dick had a profound place in my childhood, right up there with This Old House, Sesame Street, Winnie the Pooh, and bass fishing (hey, when you're only allowed to watch PBS, you take what's on - and around two decades ago that was sometimes bass fishing).
Some may have known Tommy Smothers, of The Smothers Brothers fame, first through The Smothers Brothers Show and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Known for their left-wing political views as much as their humor, they fit right in with my parents' mindset. But that isn't really how I know of the Smothers Brothers. See, I primarily know them from a little something called Yo-Yo Man:
I must have watched that 30 minute video a dozen or so times. I laughed at the jokes I didn't get, and I tried out the tricks I never mastered. Part of that was due to the fact that I started watching Yo-Yo Man when I was still too small to properly wield a yo-yo. Oh, I tried a couple of times. My dog walking was pathetic. My 'round the world was dangerous. Loop the Loop was also a bad one. Eventually, my mother "lost" my red yo-yo, much like she "lost" my Free to Be... ...You and Me cassette tape and "misplaced" my Sound of Music VHS tapes. She also - though she denies it to this day - broke my Was (Not Was) Walk the Dinosaur 45. She eventually - like decades later - replaced them all with CDs and DVDs, but she never got me another yo-yo - not that I blame her.
So, happy (belated) birthday, Tommy Smothers! May you live to yo-yo for many more years!