My Telenovella Career


In primitive television times, before Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street, local tv stations had their own kiddy shoes to fill in the gap between soap operas and the news when grubby children descended from school and needed to be distracted with something so mommy could focus on her drinking. In Houston, where I grew up, the answer was Kitirik (her name came from the call letters of the station, KTRK, with I’s stuck in the middle. Who knows why? It was the 60’s.) She was suppose to look like a black cat as some vague-ass reference to their location on unlucky channel 13, so she wore sort of a hood with kitty ears and dressed in a black leotard, fishnets and heels. Of course. Doesn’t everyone want their children entertained by a dominatrix pole dancer?

I watched everyday, entranced. There were cartoons and cheesy local commercials, but the best was kids who got to appear on the show and be interviewed on their birthday. The high point of my young life were the two times I got to be a part of the birthday scrum on Kitirik. The first time I was so little. I don’t even remember it, something about being on a carousel, but by the second time around, when I was 6, I was much more sophisticated and still cherish the memory.

By that time, the set had changed and she lived in a tee house (why?) and the birthday brats were interviewed seated in a big nest (again, why? A cat and a nest, creepy and nonsensical. The director must have been on drugs and drinking. Heavily. If your career had wound up here, wouldn’t you?) Kitirik came around and asked us some bogus questions to give us each camera time. “How old are you? What’s your favorite food? What’s your daddy’s credit card number?” Then she gave us a toy and a Hostess cupcake.

Because I was a boy, I got a toy gun. It was Texas, get real. But what a gun! A red and black space laser rifle, perfect for blasting aliens. “Look, mama, a drag queen stripper gave me a gun and junk food!” No wonder I’m gay.

About mrpeenee

A former bon vivant and terror of a number of New Orleans bars in the mad, gay 1980s, I'm now quietly retired and widowed in San Francisco. I have a crooked nose due to an unfortunate Frisbee accident.

3 responses »

  1. Such memories! I grew up watching Kitirick as well. Remember all the kids being asked thier favorite food? Every single one of those gap toothed youngsters would say “skeddy” (a lisping childs attempt at spaghetti.

    My brother and I sent once and had a blast. We got home and found out that none of our friends had seen us as LBJ was in twon that day and his visit had preempted our show!


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