During a visit to a used bookstore recently, I stumbled across a copy of Mark Kistler’s Draw Squad and a flood of long lost memories came bursting to the surface. If you’re like me, when you were a kid, Mark Kistler was the Man. I couldn’t wait to get sick so I could stay home from school and watch his show, The Secret City. A quick Google search revealed that Mark Kistler is still an active illustrator and appears regularly at conventions — now, that is something that might finally get me to crawl out from under my nice cozy rock.
The Secret City was a PBS show that taught kids to draw things in 3-D. Commander Mark was the mustachioed host, and he was an absolute wizard, or maybe an alien, who could sling a black marker across a blank page and bring aliens to life right before your eyes. In each episode, he would add to a massive mural on the wall that depicted the Secret City, an alien environment based on nothing but his creativity. I wanted to live in the Secret City.
Many people have fond memories of Sesame Street, or Mr. Roger’s hood, but all my grilled cheese and tomato soup memories recall the hours spent within the Secret City. I honestly credit this show (and Ed Emberley) with making me pursue a career in art later in life. Anyone else out there remember Commander Mark and his Secret City?
If aliens were to invade this planet, I would want them to be the friendly inhabitants from the Secret City. Read about more alien invasions in this Pop Culture League challenge.