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Match to Flame 118

posted on April 15, 2020

Thanks to Harry L. Dinkle, the World’s Greatest Band Director, music educators had long been a big part of Funky’s support group (we’d meet every Tuesday). That, along with the fact that I had once been in a marching band, led me in the fall of 1990 to launch a rather quixotic campaign against the reigning sports czars at ABC television. In the olden days, when they televised college football games, they used to show the entire marching band performance that took place during halftime. The practice slowly receded as panels of ex-jocks were brought in to spout clichés and state the obvious about the game you were watching and the airtime for commercials became more valuable. I didn’t think that would sit too well with the World’s Greatest Band Director, so I wrote a week where Harry becomes incensed about it and culminated the whole thing with a “Halftime Belongs to the Bands” coupon that could be clipped and sent to the powers that be at ABC television. At this point in time, comic strips were no longer the frontline media they had once been while football’s popularity was on the increase, so ABC was pretty much able to stonewall the whole campaign without ever having to acknowledge it. That being said, I did hear from a third party who heard from a second party who knew someone at ABC that they received thousands of coupons from Funky’s readers asking for the bands to be returned. The result as we all know is that the talking heads at halftime have multiplied exponentially and the only music you’re going to see is provided by the likes of Coldplay and Lady Gaga. I was at an Ohio State (whose marching band director still wore a uniform like Harry’s) game a week after the coupons landed, and hopes were high that we might see a change, but it wasn’t in the cards. It was a sign, as if we needed any, that times were moving on. Still, Harry and his distinctive uniform would be one of the things that would survive the looming time-jump relatively unscathed. In fact, he would earn his doctorate and be known going forward as Doctor Dinkle and, with Ed Crankshaft now driving his bus for another school system at another newspaper syndicate, would continue as one of the more popular characters in Funky. 

From The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 7