I suspect he must have made his way into dream at some stage, for me to feel about him the way I did, though I have no memory of the dream itself. It would not surprise me. My parents recall that I ended up in their bed in the middle of the night after being terrified by a man dressed in a hairy suit on an episode of ‘Lost in Space’.
I remember seeing him interact with humans. It was during a fund raising telethon, no doubt for a children’s hospital, and there he was on a lounge with other habitues of TV land (I don’t know how else to describe them, we did not have celebrities in those days, and in my head, the world of television was separate from but equal to the mundane world). “He’s with other people”, I said to my father. He was puzzled. Years later, I understand Dad had no perception of how seriously weird my understanding of the world was, the bizarre conglomeration that no doubt all kids make of the bits of information provided to them*. [For instance, Commander Strongarm. He presented the morning cartoons on one channel. The conceit was that he did this from an orbiting space station. As I understood it, he arrived at work on time every Monday morning, then departed after the final cartoon on Friday. Did I entertain the possibility that this was true?]
Perhaps it is not true that I have no memory of the dream. Writing this, aspects of it rise. A serious young man, sitting down, unfazed while about him great evils are committed. Though he does nothing, somehow he is complicit, his presence facilitative in some way. The age I was, and remembering other dreams, the great evil would have included harm to my mother and father. And yet, no one did a thing about him.
The young man was Deadly Earnest, who presented weekly horror movies on television (a la Roddy McDowell’s Peter Vincent in the original ‘Fright Night’). It was bad enough that he had his own world to which the rest of us were exposed each Saturday night, but here he was on a lounge chair chatting with other people, and they were laughing at him. Didn’t anyone know? Was this allowed? Somehow he had leached out of his own place, and was spreading to other domains.
Knowing my parents, it cannot have been that they would deliberately have allowed me to see the introduction to Creature Feature or whatever it was called, at that young age. Perhaps we had had visitors and for some reason the TV had been left on, unsupervised. Sometimes i was up late when a sibling had a fever. My father was a shift worker, and there were times when I could not sleep and I would sit with my mother. For whatever reason, I saw Deadly Earnest.
Why write all of this? I wanted to record one of my earliest memories. I can remember being afraid in my bed. i can remember some form of dissonance, that this person was allowed to be, to persist, was even encouraged by others, despite being associated with great evil. Anxiety grew within, and I tossed, uneasy in my bed. I can remember the feeling of growing fear and great stress. Then all was better. I was calm. For I had made a decision. I would murder Deadly Earnest. I would remove him from the world, and all would be better. I felt relieved, and sleep soon followed, the long, deep sleep of the innocent.
No wonder that (some) years later, I readily fell into the thrall of the vampire hunter.
*Perhaps I had been frightened and he had tried to reassure me at the time that he was only on TV, that he could not get out, he was just on that show, and yet there he was TALKING TO OTHER PEOPLE AND THEY WERE TALKING TO HIM
Here he is, the unscariest thing you will ever see. But then, I understand there are even people who like clowns.