I'm not going to go into detail about each individual O.G. clip, because they're all preaching the same message: Read! You've gotta hand it to ABC, it's not often the networks would actually encourage young, impressionable viewers to turn off the set in favor of some books. It had no effect on me, but it was a valiant effort nonetheless. So kudos, ABC, kudos. While O.G.'s intentions are straightforward, I have many questions about the man, er cat himself. Like: What does the O.G. stand for? What exactly is he captain of and why is a cat of his stature living on the streets? Is this how a country should treat its veterans? But I digress... O.G. also existed in puppet form, as the host of ABC's "Weekend Special," where children's books would come to life in the form of television shows. Wait, why would I adhere to O.G.'s advice and read books when I could see books acted out on TV? You can check out the puppet masters who brought him to life at, fittingly enough, Puppet Studio. There are some vintage photos there of O.G. with a few of his celebrity pals. In addition to hosting "Weekend Special," O.G. (in cartoon form) was also featured in a few of the Saturday afternoon tales.
They say cats have nine lives, well they apparently have several different voices, too. Those that can talk, at least. Some of the PSAs here feature the unmistakable voice of Frank Welker, while others are done by the legendary Paul Winchell. Meanwhile, the familiar voice of Neil Ross appears to have done a lot of O.G.'s "Weekend Special" work. And there may be some other guys in the mix too for all I know. How's this for an odd Saturday morning education connection: Winchell actually worked with Dr. Henry Heimlich (who was involved in the "Dr. Henry" shorts) in developing the first artifical heart! (Or one of the first, depending on who you believe. It's quite a fascinating story. Google it for more details... after you're finished here.) Of course, despite his hectic television duties, O.G. found time to star in a book of his very own. Because, as a famous feline once told me, reading is where it's at. And that feline was Heathcliff. No, I'm kidding. It was O.G.