In Gary Paulson's classic Hatchet, Brian is stranded deep in the woods after surviving a plane crash, and is forced to use a $20 bill as kindling for a fire. (Reading it as a child, I found the idea of just having $20 to be inconceivable, and couldn't fathom being forced to burn it.)
Hatchet was published in 1987, so the $20 he shredded and carefully ignited would be worth $40.34 today.
Fantastic article. I can't describe how bizarre it was to see Mr. Cartoon and Beeper show up in my RSS feed this afternoon...I haven't thought about the show for years.
I was on Mr. Cartoon one afternoon when I was a kid, probably in 1981 or 82. I'm hazy about how it happened because I don't really remember pursuing this sort of thing as a child and didn't have the family that would have encouraged it even if I did. It must have fallen in my lap, I'm guessing via my aunt and uncle, who ran a small modeling agency in downtown Charleston at the time and probably knew someone at the station.
Sadly, I don't remember what happened during the cartoons...like you, I suspect we watched them on a studio monitor while the adults frittered around and prepared for the next segment.
Apparently I was on air during one of the bits...Mr. Cartoon asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I panicked, having never really considered it. Finally, I just said "photographer," either because I was surrounded by cameras or because I would have been there with my uncle, the modeling agency's photographer.
Watching that clip, though, was fascinating...what little I remember of the day matches up pretty perfectly with the video, with one exception: in my memory, the children's section wasn't a couple of benches but rather deep theater bleachers at least five rows thick and crowned with studio lights above, which Mr. Cartoon would climb with microphone in hand to interview us children. This false memory must have gotten jumbled up with my memories of secretly watching Carson with my grandmother, who would let my sister and I stay up as late as we wanted when we stayed over as long as we didn't tell our parents.
Thanks again for the pure uncut nostalgia blast. It's just what this afternoon needed.