Thursday, July 23, 2009

Uncle Floyd's New Jersey

For those of you not familiar with New Jersey, there was a phenomenon back in the 1970s and 1980s called "The Uncle Floyd Show". It was on PBS (for a while anyway), usually after school. To the innocent bystander it appeared to be a children's show, but to the aficionado it was pure adult comedy and satire. They covered topics from entertainment to politics. I watched it when I was in high school. I went to William Paterson my first year of college and some of the cast were continuing students there and you'd regularly see them at the school pub. When I went to Rutgers (in New Brunswick, New Jersey), no one had ever heard of Uncle Floyd. Until I met Charlie Belunis. He was the only one I ever met at RU who was clued in. We started a Rutgers Fan Club (because college students have nothing better to do). Uncle Floyd used to have a segment at the end of each show called "Pictures on the Wall". It was kind of like a refrigerator on TV, where he would post drawings sent in by children from all over NJ. One day, Charlie drew a great impersonation of a child's drawing and sent it in. Imagine our surprise when it was featured in the segment, signed Charles Belunis, age 18!

Anyway, I was thinking about my home state the other day and wondering if Uncle Floyd had done anything since the glory days. He is a great Vaudeville/Honkytonk piano player and he is always found playing at a club or restaurant somewhere deep in the heart of Jersey. I found this clip of a series that I had not heard of before, called "Uncle Floyd's New Jersey". I guess once you get a job after college your priorities change. I found it fascinating for I had no idea of the diversity in places like Paterson, and the relative peace within that diversity. Nothing like we have today. Ah, the good ol days.

Uncle Floyd's New Jersey-Main St., Paterson

There are several other episodes available on YouTube. Check them out.

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