My boys, aged 23 and 21, are both adults and single. When they were little they both watched “Blue’s Clues”.
It was a show that had many elements that appealed to preschoolers. Big dog Blue scoured each episode for clues to something that would teach a lesson. Familiar songs and tunes were played every day, knowing how important repetition was to young people.
Our oldest son was a huge fan. He had the “handy notebook” to write down when Steve, the show host, jotted down clues. He had an inflatable version of the “thinking chair”. He knew all the songs and sang them at the top of his lungs, getting up and dancing a jig when the “mail song” sounded.
Sing it with me now: “Here’s the mail, it never fails, it makes me wag my tail, when it comes I wanna moan, MAIL!” “
I just have to stop for a moment and this spectacle comes back to me. I remember the big face that took up the entire television screen. I remember all the songs, the special guests, and how Steve the host always wore that green striped shirt with khaki pants. The similarity of the show each day was heartwarming for the children. There was a huge fan base, I’m sure.
The show was really reminiscent of the days of the first children’s shows, where there was a host talking to a character who couldn’t really speak. Blue was a big blue computer animated dog who just made noises. At the time, she would probably have been a puppet. I’m sure she would have been just as popular.
When the boys were little, “Blues Clues” was the TV show. By the time my kids arrived, children’s shows had more than one performance. Therefore, if you missed “Clues” in the morning, you can still catch it later in the day.
At home, especially in the summer when I was at home, we organized our day around “Blues Clues”. It was a good time to catch up, as the boys would be mesmerized and glued to the TV.
You could fold the laundry, wash the dishes, or whatever. Yet a few times Michelle and I ended up watching with them, just taking a break. I always remember how the boys seemed to like it when we watched with them, laughing or reacting to what was happening on the screen.
At a time when the show was very popular in ratings, the show’s host Steve decided to go to college. His departure was written in the series and he introduced his brother Joe before he left. After Steve got on the cartoon bus and left, Joe took over as Blue’s caretaker and the show’s host.
I remember it was a big deal, but the boys were about to take an interest in shows suitable for older children. The era of “Blue’s Clues” was pretty much over for us when Steve left.
My oldest son, as I said, the biggest fan, is now an adult and has a job that he travels in a bit. The other day he texted from Phoenix Airport with a video made in 2021 by none other than Steve Burns, original host of “Blue’s Clues”.
Steve is now much older, wears glasses and a cap. During the short video, he wears his familiar green shirt and stands in front of a background that looks like the old show.
With the same calm voice and the same manners, Steve addresses the audience in this video; an audience no longer made up of 3-4 years, but adults with student loans and young families. He recounts how he left the show quite abruptly and how he realizes that maybe it was kind of a shock to the kids. He tells the story of college and the things he’s learned in the many years that have passed since leaving the show.
Then, towards the end, Steve looks at the camera and says very sincerely, “I want you to know that I have never forgotten you.”
As you can imagine, my son cried a little. Me too.
At the very end, Steve steps out of camera range, but then puts his head back inside, as he did a long time ago. “By the way, I have to tell you how beautiful you are!” So, we have something to smile about as we wipe away those few tears.
I’m pretty sure I had the same reaction to some of Fred Rogers’ video messages after he quit doing his neighborhood shows. Dude, this guy was important to kids my age back then so every time we saw him he made us cry a little bit.
When we receive visits from people from our past, we remember a time that has also passed. We remember different lives and wonderful memories. We visit and remember for a while, but then realize we can’t stay there.
And pulling makes us cry a little, doesn’t it?