Ravenel writes: "As I recall, Giant Rangers
who wanted a shot at being on the show had to fill out a card you got at
a Giant Food Store and send it in to the station. At the end of each week's
Giant Ranch show, Pick would mosey on over to one of those ubiquitous cylindrical
wire cages where the thousands of cards that had been filled-out were stored.
Pick or one of the visiting rangers would turn the drum over-and-over until
all the cards were fairly mixed; then Pick would reach-in through a trapdoor
on the side of the cage and take-out a couple of huge handfuls of cards
and put them in his hat. Presumably these kids would be sent tickets to
be on the show the following week.
out a card from the BradLee Shopping center Giant store in Alexandria.
My invitation appeared the following week.
picked me up early from school, took me to the WTOP studio and left me
with the creepy studio guys. All the parents left for another area where
they watched the action on the set. The other kids and I were in the standard
kid western outfit of the period-- two six-guns in holsters, dungarees,
and cowboy hat.
was one studio guy -this MEAN sort of guy- who briefed us all on how to
act on the show. RULE #1: no caps in your guns. RULE #2: don't scream and
yell that you can see yourself on the monitor or we'll turn the monitor
so you can't see yourself at all. RULE #3: stay put in the Peanut Gallery
[sic] unless Pick calls you out. And if we DIDN'T behave, we'd NEVER be
He pointed out this one kid to us who, he claimed, had been on the show
SEVERAL times because he knew how to be a good little boy; so if we wanted
to return lots of times to the set, we had to be good. The prospect of
being cast from the set or barred from returning hit home. We all got very
House, WTOP-TV 9
Dave Statter. From "Broadcast News" 1955)
scary guy led us onto the set. Pick wasn't around. I walked past the target
range where there'd be balloons for some lucky kids to fire at. There was
a loft of bleachers ahead on our right where we all sat down. I sat next
to some kid who was making a spectacle of himself early on; I thought for
sure they'd think we were brothers or something and give us the boot. The
scary guy barked at us to be quiet--the show was starting soon.
other end of Pick's set was the set for Ranger Hal-- the tree stump (or
whatever) Oswald was perched on. ...And you could see the ladder Ranger
Hal climbed down at the start of his show, presumably from atop his ranger
station. Disappointingly the ladder went up only a few rungs and just out
of camera range.
tricked us! Ranger Hal was NOT shot on location!
all of a sudden Pick and Lady, his collie, ran onto the set! In color!
All those black and white shows on our TV would never be the same after
this. We kids went berserk when they came in. He picked up his guitar and
we sang 'My favorite bread's Heidi....' together while the camera panned
across our faces. Then we repeated the Ranger's oath, the words to which
I can't remember.
introduced Lady to everybody. On every show he'd have her take a bow, and
ours was no exception. Lady was cool.
mic on the set at WTOP-TV 9
Dave Statter. From "Broadcast News" 1955)
asked if 'Mike_____' was among us. The loud kid next to me jumped-up and
ran screaming down to the front to get on Piccolo, this tiny horse. Pick
helped him into the saddle and said, 'So your name's Mike? We have a Mike
right here on the show.' And, as if on cue, the overhead boom microphone
(shown above) lowered to just above this kid's head. Pick told the kid,
'Mike, say hello to mic." The kid said 'Hi' and the mic moved to indicate
that it was saying 'Hi' back. Pick asked the kid to look in the camera
and say 'Hi' to all the folks at home. The kid rattled off the name of
every person he knew until the cow mooed and he finished with, 'Hi, everybody
else'. Pick led the kid an Piccolo around the set, and the kid got off
and returned to his place next to me.
this time, Pick did an intro to the Kit Carson western to be shown next.
At home, you'd hear pounding of horses hooves riding in from a distance;
then you'd see some saddlebags being tossed in Pick's general direction,
as Kit would ride off again. More adult fakery-- in reality it was a PRE-RECORDED
galloping horse and a stagehand tossing the saddlebags our way. I was taking
part in a charade; it was a little demoralizing. How could I face my sisters
later and confess that I had taken part in the Big Lie?
all prepped beforehand to yell,'Hi, Kit!' when the sound of the horses
hooves approached and "Bye!", waving madly, as they receded. At this point
Pick cued the Kit Carson film by telling us rangers to get out our 'shootin'
irons and blaze away!' As everyone unloaded on the camera, Kit Carson's
of kids hadn't emptied the caps out of their pistols as told and their
caps made a real racket on the set; this didn't go unnoticed by the scary
guy who approached the offenders and told them to empty their weapons.
These kids weren't going to see this show from inside the TV set ever again;
the scary guy was sure to put their names on a list of banished children.
Pick smoking a quick cigarette while the film ran; posed on a mobile western-style
rustic wooden fence, one foot on a
slat, his forearm leaning casually forward on the top.
had turned the monitor back around so we could see the screen. Suddenly
I saw Pick on the monitor and behind him a bleacher full of Giant Rangers.
I laced my hands behind my head and moved my elbows from front to back,
over and over, until I found myself-- on TV-- at last.
welcomed kids at home back to the ranch. Some kids in the studio, though,
interrupted him, yelling they could see themselves on TV; others were drawing
his attention to Oswald Rabbit. The scary guy turned the monitor screen
away from us again.
for four kids to leave the bleachers and fire at balloons affixed to the
top of the shootin' range. There was a hole in the bottom of the range
from which the Invisible Duck would appear at odd moments-- for years--
and bedevil Pick. The duck ONLY appeared when Pick looked away, so the
kids went NUTS trying to get Pick to see it. Whenever Pick would turn back
around, the duck would have disappeared inside the hole. I wanted the duck
to come out of that hole that day, but it never happened.
we filed out of the bleachers and past the shootin' range, I made a point
of straying far enough out of line to see behind it. The stagehand who'd
sat there during the show with a pin, popping kids' balloons, was gone;
but his tiny black and white TV was on the floor and tuned to WTOP. BEST
OF ALL-- the Invisible Duck was on the floor! That was totally cool--of
all the kids there that day, I alone had seen the Invisible Duck.
and the scary guy were at the exit, handing us bags of goodies from Giant
Food. Pick handed me mine and looked right into my eyes. He seemed almost
shy. It was weird.
Pick died, my younger sister sent me the obituary from the Washington Post.
A lovely tribute too. What a great guy."