Here is another essay I wrote and recorded as part of The GrantCast. The audio is below. If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast you can do so in iTunes, or by using this feed in your favorite podcatcher. Thanks for reading.
The G.I. Joe Show
By Grant Baciocco
From a very young age I was always interested in putting on a show. I don’t know why, specifically, I got into always wanting to put on a show, but I did.
When I was a kid my family was friends with another family, the Casagrande’s, Dave, Margie and their two sons, Jeff and Joel. Jeff was a few years older than me, Joel a few years younger and we got along pretty well and probably once a month either we would go over to their house for dinner or they would come over to ours.
Now, I don’t know how this all got started, but I got it in my head that we should put on a show for our parents. Maybe I got this idea because I was always putting on shows with my stuffed animals. Shows just for me. I was an only child. I would play a record and have the stuffed animals act out the record. I was sort of puppeteering. Anyway, that’s what I convinced Jeff and Joel to do put on a show, basically lip sync, to a record for our parents.
Now, we wouldn’t just lip sync though. There had to be costumes and instruments: turned over Tupperware bowls for drums and wooden spoons for drum sticks, a Wiffle Ball Bat guitar. We would rehearse the song our songs a few times and once I had decided, because I was directing this whole thing, that we’d pretty much had it down, I would go bug my parents to let us put on the show. After several minutes of pleading they’d agreed to come out to the living room and watch politely as we put on the show.
For some reason this was not just limited to lip syncing songs. One Saturday morning, I used my portable tape recorder to record part of a Sylvester and Tweety cartoon off the television. You know, I just held the tape recorder right up in front of the T.V.. I then made Sylvester and Tweety masks out of paper and cajoled one of the neighborhood kids into wearing it and then rehearsed the show on the front steps of my house. Once we had it down, we rounded up as many people as we could in the neighborhood and we put on the show. Again, the people were very polite and they clapped for the show. Things went smoothly until the part of the performance where I hung off the railing on the side of our stairs about twelve feet up from the hard concrete driveway at our house. To me this was representing Tweety Bird hanging high in his cage. To my mother it was a recipe for disaster, a broken arm and a leg at the very least.
My Shows weren’t always about me performing either. As a kid I had a pretty impressive G.I. Joe collection. I had everything from the very first Grunt action figure, that’s the first one I ever got, up until the point they release the aircraft carrier. That was when my mother put her foot down. She didn’t want her son playing with war toys to begin with but she had let that all slide. However, there was no way I was going to be getting the aircraft carrier. Anyway, I was pretty proud of my G.I. Joe collection and I thought that, obviously, everyone else in the neighborhood would want to take a look at it too.
So one summer afternoon, I got started setting up a very elaborate display of my G.I. Joe figures. They were all in action poses and, in my mind, there were very specific storylines going on. Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow were locked in a deadly sword fight. Clutch was charging at a HISS Tank with his VAMP. Stalker was repelling down the side of a mountain, really just the windows of our front porch, to get a group of COBRA troops. Now, if you’re familiar with G.I. Joe figures, each one comes with a bio card explaining the backstory of each guy. Well, these were carefully scotch taped to the side of the house so people could reference them as they looked at my set up. It was all very elaborate. It was like a museum piece.
Now once the diarama was all set up exactly how I wanted it to be, I started making signs:
G.I. JOE SHOW
137 POPLAR AVE
These were crayon on white paper but they were very fancy. Once the sides were made I got to hanging them up on trees and lampposts around my block. Now, I wasn’t allowed to cross any streets, but I circled my entire block hanging up at least ten fifteen signs, inviting everyone in the neighborhood to the G.I. Joe Show. Then I went back to the front steps of my house and I just waited for the throng of people I knew would be arriving at any moment.
Eventually, I got bored of waiting for people to come to the G.I. Joe show and just started packing it all back up. Perhaps, I was too young to realize that a 1 P.M. show on a weekday in the middle of the week was not prime time for people to come see the G.I. Joe Show. I had tried, I was sad but no one had come to my G.I. Joe Show.
And isn’t that all we want out of life? For people to come to our G.I. Joe Show?
©2015 Grant Baciocco/Saturday Morning Media