Once upon a time - OK, it was the same time period as the one that provided a setting for that cinematic fairy tale "Grease" - there was a pubescent boy who had a radio.
This would prove, in just a few more years, to be a potent combination. Add the opposite sex, multiply it several million times, add television, and put it into homes all over America, and it would transform American culture completely and forever.
Not right now, though. We're just talking about a pubescent white kid with a radio who's supposed to be asleep. He's not, though. He's fiddling with his radio knobs. He finds the big, giant, 50,000-watt WKBW (no one calls it "KB" yet).
Amazing music pours out of the speakers - funky, glorious music from another part of town entirely from the one he's sleeping in.
Sure, he has bought a few 45 rpm records. Elvis was a big discovery, but Little Richard was a revelation. The music he was listening to on his radio bypassed Elvis' blues-drenched Memphis rockabilly and came from Little Richard's side of the street. They could all have been friends of Bill Doggett, the man whose 45 rpm disc of "Honky Tonk" was a prized possession.
The deejay in charge of this auditory sojourn was like no one else the boy had heard. He was called "The Hound." (It would be decades before the boy knew that the man's real name was George Lorenz.) He was being brought into the boy's home by such commercial sponsors as Mother Goldstein's wine and Moskin's Clothes, which promised "four fine floors of clothes for the whole family" and whose jingle the boy still remembers the opening bars of more than half a century later.
The boy had no idea he was listening to the sound of world culture changing utterly. He certainly didn't know that what he was doing was an archetypal part of what would become part of a popular exhibit at a local art museum. (Art museum? What was that, he'd have wondered. He was a couple of months away from stepping for the first time into the Albright Art Gallery - which hadn't yet acquired the name "Knox.")
But the happily ever after conclusion of this fairy tale happens from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 6 in the Burchfield Penney Art Center when, as part of the Burchfield's Manny "Spain" Rodriguez exhibit, it celebrates Spain's comic "Cruisin' With the Hound" with a showing of the film "Don't Touch That Dial," narrated by local jazz radio impresario and TV and radio historian Al Wallack.
But that's nothing. The piece de resistance is what happens afterward - a panel of Buffalo radio voices commenting on the Hound and the film along with Wallack that includes Danny Neaverth (once known as "Daffy Dan" on WBNY), Kevin O'Connell and, yes, the legendary radio troublemaker and wild man Joey Reynolds.
The Burchfield's current director is my old Buffalo News colleague Anthony Bannon, whose eloquent remembrance of the Hound packed the joint when he read it for an audience at another of our truly distinguished museums on "Museum Row," the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society. Bannon repeated it Thursday at the Burchfield, before showing an audience "Rebel Without a Cause."
The moral of the story? You never know anymore what's going to follow the words "Once upon a time." It could be just about anything.
More new season
So far this season, we have learned that:
1) No, Ducky didn't die of a heart attack on "NCIS." Nor did anyone else major on the show perish in the terrorist explosion. Ancient TV rule for season-ending cliffhangers: When in doubt, set off a really big bomb. If there's anyone in the cast who's a pain in the rear or asking for too much dough, by all means send them packing. Otherwise, have everyone else return with a few bumps, bruises, facial smudges and maybe a cane or two to help their transition to robust wellness.
2) No, the principals' bedroom frolic at the end of last season's "Castle" hasn't seemed to derail the whole series yet. At Monday's show-ending clinch, Castle and Beckett were ready for Round Two and looking at each other hungrily.
This could, of course, very much get in the way (carnal resolutions of sexual tension are always risky in TV series), but then there's always "Bones" to show the world how to take the show into a whole new direction after the two principals decide to scratch the itch that viewers have been watching from the beginning. But then, what choice did they have when Emily Deschanel got pregnant?
3) Yes, the three coolest new shows of the season are all of that and then some - NBC's fantasy about what happened to the world after the lights went out on "Revolution," which tests DVRs against "Castle" on Monday night, ABC's renegade submarine on "The Last Resort" and CBS' simply smashing Sherlock Holmes fantasia "Elementary" on Thursday evenings. The latter is in another DVR time slot against ABC's "Scandal," which won Best of Show for many of us as last season's best new series that wasn't named "Homeland."
4) Ideas I'm Having a Devil of a Time Caring a Whit About: The Jersey Girl Proves She's No Dummy as a Lawyer premise of CBS' "Made in Jersey," and the new cop partner and returned ex-husband we're supposed to care about on tonight's season return of the otherwise solidly watchable "Blue Bloods," TV's only convincing multigenerational family drama (as opposed to sitcoms which assume multigenerational families are intrinsically grotesque and therefore funny).
If there are still museums a half-century from tonight, I'm betting the farm against fond and nostalgic discussions of "Made in Jersey" (even if the final season of "The Jersey Shore" and its stereotypes are dragged in through the back door).
On the other hand, when people gather 50 years from now and remember that Home-Tyrannizing medium once known as television, don't bet against David Caruso nights, when everyone shows up in shades, speaks in portentous monosyllables and has conversations while standing sideways with both hands on hips.
I'd give anything to hear the museum panel discussion on that night.