Niagara Gazette

Columns

October 9, 2012

BRADBERRY: What would you do with a magic wand?

Niagara Gazette — Have you ever thought what you might do if you were king or queen for a day, equipped with a magic wand? I have, I could use one right now and I’d like to use it to make a governor appear!

I’m not sure when or where the magic wand fantasy began, but I thought about it again the other day after reading about the depth of some of the challenges we are facing globally as well as locally here, sometimes our own problems seem so huge that the issues confronting the rest of the world seem to disappear.

As writer Dawn Levesque reminds us, “Wands have cast their magical charm on children and adults alike since stories began.”

She says, “Magic wands are found in fairy tales, myth, legend and folklore. In Roman mythology, Mercury carried a wand that has become a familiar symbol in the medical world. In fairy tales, the wand is the catalyst for the story. In fantasy and science fiction, it is the instrument to the objective. With a magic wand, the holder stands boldly to strike down his enemy. In all genres, the magic wand is used for both good and evil.”

I remember when they seemed to come to life in the late 1950s and mid 1960s when almost all the televisions in my old neighborhood tuned in to watch host Jack Bailey bellow, “Do YOU want to be Queen for a Day?”

It felt a little like magic to me when the studio audiences, in unison with me, my sisters, all the moms and a few dads on our block and, no doubt, around the country, glued to their television screens replied in a roar that could probably be heard from coast to coast, “YES!”

And thus the magic of the daytime television game show era was born with a daily “Queen” selected from four women contestants, each with a tear-jerking sob story explained why they believed THEY should be crowned Queen for a Day, showered with washers, dryers all sorts of electric appliances and merchandise ranging from, of course, new televisions, radios, mixers and blenders to full-length fur coats and vacation trips.

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