An astronaut had a profound impact on me during my growing years.

Major Mudd, a goofy moonshot for sure, was a light-hearted buffo that I credit for peaking my interest in the cosmos.

For about 13 years, Ed T. McDonnell played the space traveler on his WNAC-TV children's show. This was at a time when we could only get four – or maybe a fuzzy five – TV channels.

An entire generation of kids who are now reading this with store-bought magnifiers were raised on the humor and antics of The Three StoogesBozo the ClownMajor Mudd, Boom Town, and televised candlepin bowling served as the foundation of our youthful memories. From Lassie reruns to Looney Tunes, with games and skits that would fall apart on live television, is it any wonder that people like me had to go through a lot of changes to appreciate today's humor?

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If you play David Rose's "Parade of the Clowns," Major Mudd's theme song, you'll be humming it all day. I believe this score inspired me to start listening to the classics. Who'll believe that a zany kids' TV show could influence science and classical music appreciation from a "lunatic," as he liked to refer to himself?

It's important to point out that today's children's entertainment is more scholarly. The beauty of growing up with such an esteemed space jockey as Major Mudd is the show allowed us to roam free-range in our own youthful world. It let kids be kids.

"IBBY means I'll be blasting you. We'll take a trip in a rocket ship, up in the sky so blue."

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