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The Only Kid on the Carnival: An Extraordinary Childhood

5 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0595517480
ISBN-10: 059551748X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Graduating Dean?s List from the University of Missouri?s School of Journalism in 1957, Jackson became a copywriter, art director, and cartooning weatherman at KTVO-TV in Ottumwa, Iowa. One year later he joined the Army, and as a PFC was assigned as a writer, director, and staff artist at Armed Forces Radio and Television in Hollywood. While there, Jackson created his first puppets?large, latex, cartoon-looking characters?and worked with the great animation voice actors Dawes Butler and Don Messick. Returning to civilian life, Jackson launched a career in children?s television that began in Fort Wayne, Indiana, continued to Indianapolis, and propelled him to Chicago. In 1965,he debuted on WBBM-TV as Freckles the Clown on Clown Alley and Here Comes Freckles, the latter series also appearing on the four other CBS owned and operated television stations scattered around the nation. Jackson then combined his writing, performing, cartooning, and puppetry abilities to create Cartoon Town and The BJ & Dirty Dragon Show from 1968 to 1973 for WFLD-TV;The BJ & Dirty Dragon Show for WGN-TV in 1974; and The Gigglesnort Hotel for WLS-TV from 1975 to 1978. These programs brought praise from innumerable critics: Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Powers made note of Gigglesnort s violence free entertainment. Dr. Sammy R. Danna, Loyola University, proclaimed the Gigglesnort series ?the best overall examples of children?s programming I have seen since television began.? Chicago children?s television historian Jim Engel summed up Jackson?s creations for children as ?the best of the best.? Ted Okuda, co-author of The Golden Age of Chicago Children?s Television concludes the section devoted to Jackson with ?? watching and remembering his shows only confirms that he was one of the most inventive, most prolific, and most inspired talents in the history of Chicago television.?Awards included four Chicago Emmys and two Iris Awards for the Best Major Market Children?s Television in America. The Giggle
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (June 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 059551748X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595517480
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,259,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Melanie Dana on August 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is an absolutely wonderful book--I am so glad it was written. It preserves a moment in time of the American experience and it does it so effortlessly and with such clarity. The author writes with a transparency and a candidness that is so refreshing for this genre that is often filled with books that seem written with other motives in mind. It is a candid memoir of a time gone by and a life fully lived in the moment. It is a story of a rose colored, often magical life, as seen through the eyes of a child, and yet also one that confronts the harsh realities and challenges faced by the child of a man who was haunted by a phantom ......
I loved the stories--it made me laugh--it made me cry. I couldn't put it down, and I only hope there is a sequel. It is a slice of Americana at it's very, very best.
Thank you Mr. Jackson for writing such a thought provoking, yet feel-good book.
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Format: Paperback
Bill Jackson, best known as one of the original pioneers in children's television, proves that his talent extends beyond cartooning and puppetry with "The Only Kid on The Carnival." Colorfully and tightly written, the book chronicles Bill's early years, first as pre-schooler traveling with a literal carnival of colorful characters - then as a boy and teen in small town Missouri. Tales of a simpler time such as fishing, fixing up a first car and rehearsing for the school play are spun as entertaining yarns in a style not unlike another famous Missourian - Mark Twain. Readers in search of a funny, yet heartfelt reminiscence of pre-computer age small town America will delight in "The Only Kid On The Carnival."
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Format: Paperback
Those of you who recall Bill "BJ" Jackson from his days in Chicago childrens' television are in for an amazing treat. Those of you who do not, hey, you're in for an amazing treat as well. Many books contain subtitles that are exaggerated, but if anything, calling Mr. Jackson's childhood "extraordinary" is an exercise in understatement. This brilliant memoir, though it covers much of Jackson's life up to his entrance in college, is at its most powerful when it focuses on Jackson's relationship with his father, an enigmatic and most memorable character. This book would be amazing enough were it fiction; knowing that this all really happened makes it that much more profound.

In the vast throng of books published each day, it can be hard to pick out those that are truly remarkable, whose words leave the page to touch the soul. This is one of them.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even though it would be some 30 years before I would put my footprint on this planet, this book makes one feel like they were there even when they weren't born yet.
Starting late in the great depression and going through the late 50's, we see what life was like for young Bill Ray and everybody in the small town in Missouri, as well to look at life on the road for a family that worked a carnival.
This is a must read for ALL ages.
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Excellent book by a legend in Chicagoland television!
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