The big payoff. I’m sure you saw it coming miles back, but I remember being delighted by this revelation while I was writing the story. It’s the honest truth– I wrote the framework of a story about moa skeleton coming to life, and a cowboy saddling her up and riding away, without realizing until I reached the typing it out phase that I was writing a story about the Cowboy Who Rides an Ostrich from the Rankin/Bass Rudolph.
And it’s fitting. That story is one of the deepest narrative icon to people who are a certain age– highly memorable, told, ritually, once a year (because you couldn’t watch Rudolph whenever you wanted to, not in those days– it was shown on TV only at Christmas, an essential part of the giddy buildup to the holiday) and designed with care to appeal directly to any child who didn’t quite fit in. For those of us who always felt right at home on the Island of Misfit Toys, this was our story. (And Jack, always, wanted to help the characters who lived there.)
It’s funny how Iowa and Jack, clearly of a generation much younger than mine, are also, always, just my age. Or maybe I never got much further than 20, not where it counts.
The Professor is not with the program. I don’t know where he grew up, but I don’t think they got a lot of American network TV.
(I am very proud of that last drawing of Jack and the Moondog, there on the far left margin.)