• Oct26Thu

    Unseen and Seen

    Retrospective #39 October 26, 2017 Randy C. Hicks
    What does it mean to you?
    What does it mean to you?

    We live in a time of rampant preoccupation. You could be driving a familiar daily route and suddenly realize there is a new building that , consciously, you didn’t know existed yesterday! Or likewise, be in an old, well-known neighbourhood, and suddenly become cognisant of the fact that several structures are missing and then discover that they have been gone for a long time, but you hadn’t noticed until now. You grow up with certain objects or arrangements and become so familiar with them that you stop seeing them or, you continue seeing them long after they’ve been removed.

    Do you remember the following T.V. series from the eighties?

    Magnum P.I.?

    Magnum, P.I. is/was an American crime drama television 
    series starring Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, a private 
    investigator living on Oahu, Hawaii. The series ran from 
    1980 to 1988 during its first-run broadcast on the American 
    television network CBS. According to the Nielsen ratings, 
    Magnum, P.I. consistently ranked in the top twenty U.S. 
    television programs during the first five years of its original 
    run in the United States.

    This show was a favorite of mine and while watching a particular episode I noticed an item on one of the actor’s outfits/costumes. At first I thought I was imagining it – being as the shape was similar to something I knew well. But, while paying closer attention, I could see clearly that it was indeed what I thought it was. Now if you weren’t familiar with this item chances are you would never notice as its time on screen was very brief. I noticed! And it made me angry! I even felt somewhat abused. How dare they incorporate this special piece into this context? Get me the number of the broadcaster or the network or producer or whoever was in charge of costume design or props! Get me Tom Selleck’s private, unlisted, home phone number! Someone is going to get an earful from me! Of course, being the introverted nice guy that I am, nothing came of this…but next time!

    Then there was the Muppet Show from the late seventies. Another favourite of mine! And wouldn’t you know it – it happened again – but not when I first saw it! One of the episodes entitled “Cigarettes and Whisky” featuring Peter Sellers (famous for his role as “Inspector Clouseau” in the original “Pink Panther” movies) had him play the role of an “old-time street-evangelist-type.” He’s witnessing to the crowd by singing his testimony and beating a big bass drum - sound familiar? Upon first seeing it I was amused and it quickly found itself at the top of my “Funny-Things- to-Watch” list. I could see that it was a take-off of us Sally-Anns but I had not noticed the item I alluded to above until recently, when I watched this clip again on YouTube (look it up and watch it – it’s a classic!). You should know that this remains at the top of my list even after uncovering this interesting fact. You should also know that I have matured and no longer overreact to such things. I’m actually tickled that it is there!

    I have one last example but this time from the fashion industry. It was in the late nineties when one of our kids purchased a hoodie from the “G*P”. It was gray and decorated with bits and pieces (that is to say it wasn’t completely assembled) in print form, of some emblem or other, again probably unrecognised by most who saw it. It was in my house for years and I actually wore it myself once or twice. Then, one day, when picking it up to put it away it screamed at me! I saw it! All this time I had not noticed! Now I couldn’t un-see it!

    In the case of Magnum P.I. the episode I referred to above had a rather charismatic, military, evil, rebel leader wearing fatigues and a beret (or as we Sallys called it back home – a “tam!”). The beret of course featured a badge – front and center. It was the badge that caught my eye!

    In the Muppet episode the drum that Peter Sellers uses, although never completely revealed (Muppets mill about in front of and around it as he sings), is an actual Salvation Army Band’s bass drum. No doubt for copyright purposes it had been slightly altered but for those of us growing up with it – you’d identify it!

    Finally, in the case of the hoodie from the “G*P” – the emblem or symbol incorporated in the design was again ours! Even though no completely assembled version appeared, there was one that was almost full, once recognized – couldn’t be erased from the mind!


    It was The Salvation Army “Crest”.

    In Robert Sandall’s, THE HISTORY OF THE SALVATION ARMY, Volume Two, (1950) pages 40-41 we read:

    The first appearance of the Salvation Army crest extant is in the printed heading to a letter from Bramwell Booth to Cadman, dated 26th March 1879. Following the War Congress a design for a crest was submitted to headquarters by Caption William Ebdon. The only alteration made to this was the addition of the crown at the top. In the U.S.A, owing to local circumstances in the Army’s earliest days there, the crest is surmounted by eagles’ wings. The official description of the crest declares that its emblems set forth the leading doctrines of The Salvation Army thus:
    (a). The round figure – the sun – represents the light and fire of the Holy Spirit
    (b). The cross in the centre, the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ
    (c). “S” stands for salvation
    (d). The swords, the warfare of salvation
    (e). The shots, the truths of the Gospel
    (f). The crown, the crown of glory which God will give to all His soldiers who are faithful to the end; the wings, those upon which they will “rise to worlds unknown.”
    {NOTE: Wings have now been replaced with Crowns in the U.S.A.}

    Have an eye for it. You never know where it may show up!


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