Bill Cosby is like a national treasure. I mean that seriously.
Pictures Pages is one of those things like Mathnet or The Bloodhound Gang -- it was only a small segment of the childhoods of those of us that grew up in the 70s and 80s, but for some reason it resonated enough that we can remember the theme songs even now, 30 years later. I mentioned Picture Pages on the Twitter last week, because I was looking through some old boxes for a different blog post (the one recalling my DC nostalgia.) I remembered having purchased a Mortimer Ichabod pen secondhand from a neighbor who didn't want it anymore, and was bothered because I couldn't find it now. Our Tweeps responded overwhelmingly with sympathy and envy.
If you don't know what Picture Pages is, this is one of the many different versions (and I think, the most popular and last,) of the opening theme song. Picture Pages started out as a preschool program to teach kids about colors and shapes on the Captain Kangaroo show in the 70s. Supposedly you had to order a booklet at home to work along with the segments, but I never did do and I enjoyed the show all the same.
Bill Cosby took over the program when it moved to Nickelodeon in the 80s -- I remember seeing it then, as part of Pinwheel. According to Classic Nick Online there were 260 of these shorts on Nickelodeon, holy smokes. Anyway, Cosby had a marker that he called Mortimer Ichabod, and it made a little "doodley doo!" noise as it drew. (See about two minutes in to the above video.)
This being the internet, M.I. of course has his own Facebook page. I cannot for the life of me remember how or where they eventually offered Mortimer replicas for sale, but it was very hard to come by, even in the 80s. Now they're like a myth, showing up on Ebay every once in a blue moon and going for outrageous prices.
I remember being underwhelmed with the M.I. replica. It had Mortimer on the front, but when you turned him around, the back was blank. Plus, you had to put your own marker in the bottom, in a plastic holster that would make the "doodley doo" noises when you pressed down on paper -- except it never really worked all that fantastic. The plastic slot was only big enough for a really skinny marker or a pencil, and it wasn't all that secure in there, it was constantly falling out on me. It was far more effective for me to run around the house holding the bottom of the holster in, so that it would make the song.
That's why I went to the trouble of doing this template for you guys. A lot of people on Twitter expressed great sorrow at never being able to own their own Mortimer Ichabod. I'm here to tell you, it was more fun to use my imagination anyway. So let's do it!
Download the high-res .jpg (right click and "Save as".) Print it out (hopefully on a color printer!), and then cut around the template. Tape both sides together around your favorite pen, and make your own M.I. noises while you work. (Maybe make those noises in your head, I dunno what kind of work environment you have to put up with on a daily basis.)
I promise you, the experience won't be much different than having the actual giant clunky plastic pen that ate up batteries like no one's business. PLUS, this way: Mortimer butt.