Retro Day: Winky Dink and You

Though it is hard to imagine life without ipads and iphones, video games and the internet, there once was a time, long long ago, when technology was limited to radio and about 10 TV channels.  Gasp!  I know it seems impossible, but I assure you it is true.  Luckily, that did not stop a few very creative minds, namely Harry Prichett, Sr. and Ed Wyckoff, from creating an “interactive” TV show in the 50s called Winky Dink and You.

The concept of the show was simple.  Children could purchase a Winky Dink and You kit from their local toy store, which came with a “magic screen” (a piece of clear plastic), crayons, and a wipe.  When the show came on the kids would cover their TV with the magic screen (which would cling to the screen).  Children would watch Winky, the main character, and his dog Woofer go on all sorts of fun adventures, but they would often run into trouble and look to the viewers for help.  How?  The kids could draw something on the magic screen of course, like a line that becomes a bridge so that Winky could cross a river, or a circle that transforms into a rocket ship so Winky could escape to space, or even a moustache to disguise Woofer from his evil enemy Harum Scarum.  Pretty genius, huh?  The only problem, the many, many children who forgot to put on their magic screen and drew all over the TV screen to the annoyance of their parents!

If you are up for an old school interactive experience, the good news is that the magic Winky Dink and You kit is still available, as are DVDs of the show.  Click here to check them out on Borders.com.



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