A Christmas tale: My first reel, part 1


All photos Don Barone

“Okay, Simon? Okay…”

Dateline: 1958 Christmas: Buffalo, N.Y.

“Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.” 
~ Larry Wilde

It is the night before Christmas and all through Buffalo, N.Y., every child my age, 6, is sitting in front of a black and white television screen. 

My TV is a white and gold PHILCO and my father is frantically crawling around the living room floor looking for the crumpled up aluminum foil thing that sits on top of one of the rabbit ears so we can watch Channel 4.

“What time is it mother?”

“Five minutes to five.” 


“We have plenty of time." 

I may or may not know all the times on the clock but I do know one of the times for sure … the one with the big long hand straight up and the short hand on the “V.”


“Got it,” and he gets up and puts it back in its place and then moves the antennas to line up with the lines on the tape he has stuck on top of the TV, the lines that are marked WBEN.

It is the night before Christmas, and tonight all the children in Buffalo, N.Y., will watch Santa in his workshop get ready to bring presents to us while secretly hoping that Forgetful The Elf “won’t forget my Maverick Double Criss Cross Belt Holster Set With Revolving Barrel Cap Guns."