A Geek Is Born: Part 3

Did you watch “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood?” I’m sure even if you didn’t you watched a documentary about it or have seen clips so you know who Fred Rogers was. But do you remember any of the other characters on the show? Do you remember the Speedy Deliveryman Mr. McFeely? He would bring props or letters to Fred and they could use it to teach some sort of lesson. Sometimes he would bring home movies.

In one of these home movies Mr. McFeely brought to Fred it was a trip to the set of the TV show “The Incredible Hulk.” It’s wild they even did this because I would think that “Hulk” was too adult for a lot of the kids watching but it was a huge show and even though I must have been 4 or 5 I remember watching it. There’s a lot for me to unpack about that show which I’ll get to another time but right now I want to talk about that home movie.

What I distinctly remember about this home movie was that it was silent and it was just Mr. Rogers and Mr. McFeely describing what they were watching. And what they were watching was the moment directed my future. They were showing Lou Ferrigno being made up as the Hulk. I vividly remember them gluing on his big forehead and his nose. I remember them painting him green and then applying powder to remove the shine. I remember them slipping on the green wig and Lou turning into the Hulk. I don’t remember anything else about that movie but I remember this: I just saw someone making a monster. I know that the technical term is “special make up effects” but for me it’s always going to be MONSTER MAKE UP. And it happened right there. From there on out I was hooked on the fantastic and I owe it all to “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.”

Flashback to me watching “Return of the Jedi.” As amazing as the story was to me, as compelling as the characters were to this 6-year-old boy, what latched onto my brain was that it was puppeteers and make up people making this fantasy a reality. In future posts I’ll talk about creators and creations. But I also want to talk about the world around them that we, the fans, created. And I want your input. I want you to engage with this site. Follow @better_geek on Twitter. Follow the “Be A Better Geek” Facebook page. And PLEASE tell other people about this site.

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