Right off the bat, I want to apologize for posting this here. I know it doesn't really belong but I'm hoping this post relates enough to the subject matter that you'll allow it to stay. If you decide to remove it, I understand, but I really hope you won't. :\
I've been posting around, trying to find people who have seen Codger's Cottage, a live kids' TV show from the 1980s. As far as I know from talking to people, it only aired in the United States and some of Canada.
If you've seen the show, that's fantastic and I'd love to talk about it if you want, but really the main point is that I'm looking for people who were called by Codger during his "Calls From Codger" segment at the end of each episode.
This is the part where I describe the show for anyone who can't quite place the title.
Essentially, "Codger" was a large, full-body puppet suit made to look like an elderly badger. He wore a multi-colored sweater we used to refer to as a "Cosby Sweater", though I'm sure that's not the preferred term anymore. Khaki slacks, sandals, and thin-rimmed glasses completed the look. He was covered in brownish fur, but the "hair" on top of his head was white and unkempt.
He never left his rocking chair, from what I've seen of the show, probably due to the nature of the suit. The eyes, mouth, and brows would move as the character spoke.
I saw the show as a kid, naturally, back when it first aired. We didn't have cable at my house, but the neighbors did, so I spent a lot of time in front of their set with their son, Dwayne. We watched Codger's Cottage mostly because he was a lot younger than me, and would insist on one of "his" shows for every two of "mine". I was too old at that point to really enjoy it, but watching cable television was enough to keep me there.
I've spoken to close to a hundred people who have seen the show, just here and there on forums and in chat rooms. When they don't recall anything about it by this point, I mention Codger's cat, Shamrock, and it starts to come back. (He was the green cat puppet with the Irish voice actor.)
Anyway, if you're with me now, that's great. If you don't know what I'm talking about, that's fine as well. I just don't expect you'll really get what I'm talking about from this point forward. I'm going to try to be a succinct as possible.
As I said, I want to find more people who were chosen by Codger to receive the much-anticipated phone call. This would have happened to you after Codger stopped telling his story for the day, or rather, that day's portion of the same ongoing story. (Please don't ask me how the story began or ended. I didn't see those episodes, and I haven't met anyone else who did. This is a recurring question.)
Once Shamrock made his way closer to the fire, curled up, and summarily had his tail run over by the rocking chair, Codger would stop the drawn-out story and announce it was time to call a "very special someone out there".
Dwayne got one of the calls, which is why I know the show was live despite what others have insisted. I don't care if it's "unlikely" for a puppet show to broadcast that way, myself and many others saw it with our own eyes.
Codger called him up, right on the show, and the phone rang almost immediately. As soon as Dwayne was talking with Codger, the character patiently insisted he "Turn down the TV to get rid of that pesky echo".
From that point on, I only heard Dwayne's side of the conversation, but what he told me squares up with what we saw on other episodes and what other people have said about the calls they also received. Just general stuff about being a "good boy" and doing various things like homework and chores, followed by Codger's usual ending line.
"You be good, and some day old Codger might just come stay with you for a while! Wouldn't that be as tasty as turnips?"
So if you've received a call like that, even if you don't recall watching the show, please do let me know.
Anyway, that's about it I suppose. I'm just trying to figure this all out. For anyone who wants some extra explanation, keep reading below. If this doesn't ring and bells and you pretty much just want to move on, feel free.
Basically, the reason I starting asking around about the show is what happened with Dwayne from there forward. We never really talked that much about Codger's Cottage, even after he was lucky enough to get the call that day. I wasn't interested in it to begin with, and there were so many other, much more exciting shows to talk about. He-Man, G.I. Joe, and so on.
A short time later, though, I heard that Dwayne had gotten into trouble at school. His Mom asked me to come over and keep him company, but even then he didn't really want to talk to me about it. When I pressed him, up to the point of saying he wasn't really my friend if he didn't tell me, he finally relented.
Dwayne had told a bunch of kids, ones his own age, that he actually met Codger in real life, and that the puppet had come to stay with him. Even then, I knew this was a lie, but he was so sad about being harassed and bullied over it that I didn't really want to make fun of him for it.
When he asked if I believed him, though, I had to admit I didn't. He was crestfallen, of course. Still, I felt he should've known I was too old for that sort of pretend. He showed me "claw marks" from Codger tapping at his windowsill, but it seemed obvious to me he had cut them in himself.
I even asked how Codger could've come to visit without his parents knowing, and he insisted it was because they were asleep when he did. That made it all the worse since it seemed like a desperate grasp for an explanation.
Our friendship became sort of watered down after that. The age difference was already bothering me even though we weren't that far apart, and I had moved on to Middle School where I was meeting a lot of new kids.
As the years went by, my family and I moved away and I never really heard about or spoke to Dwayne again. The only time he entered my mind was when our Mothers would speak and they'd decide it was a good idea to hand us the phone. This odd tactic to bring us back together lasted into our teen years, and it was always awkward as Hell.
I'm not sure when it was, exactly, but years later I heard Dwayne had gotten into hard drugs and hanging around people and places that were generally "unhealthy". The period of time where I was forced to talk to him despite us essentially being strangers had ended at this point.
When his Dad died, Dwayne inherited $400,000 that was supposed to help keep him secure for the foreseeable future. Instead, he spent it down to zero in a matter of months. Mostly on drugs, but also on people he considered "friends". People that all but abandoned him and moved on when the money was gone.
You can probably tell already that there isn't a happy ending here. Dwayne went missing for a while, then ended up dumped on his Mom's doorstep by someone that drove off into the night.
He had OD'd, and the last weeks of his life were spent in hospice care.
I'm still haunted by one of the few things he said to me when we were both put into the uncomfortable position of talking over the phone. "It still hurts that you didn't believe me."
There have been similar cases I've seen. Friends and family members of kids who got a call from Codger, and then said they actually got that visit. It never turned out well for them.
What's worse, though, is the simple math behind this. I want to think that a large number of people who claim they've gotten the call are just lying. I hope they're actively trolling me, or they just want attention.
See, there are too many calls. I think there are more people who claim to have gotten Codger's call than there were episodes of the show. Admittedly, I don't know how long the show aired, but that doesn't matter given what I've seen discussed.
Most people can remember which specific episode was airing when Codger spoke to them, and most of the time it's the same episode. I don't know how it could work, but four or five people remember being called during the same show, on or around the same point in time, and each of them remember having their own discussion.
They remember their exact name being said on-air.
It makes no sense, but it seems like multiple children (many children) were all simultaneously contacted by Codger at the same moment for similar yet different conversations.
The reason I'm posting this is that I want to understand what happened to Dwayne. I want to know what he wanted to tell me, and I feel like even if it comes from someone else it'll be like I finally was willing to hear him.
The only problem is that I can't find a single person who said they were visited by Codger. I mean, one who's still alive to talk about it.