Film and TV

Does JOT the Dot Jog Your Memory, Oh, Longtime Local? Because Its Cels Are For Sale.

I called Heritage Auction Galleries PR man Noah Fleisher about something we'd mentioned long ago when he asked, out of nowhere, "Do you remember JOT the Dot?" Oh, sweet fancy Moses. Barely.

"Is that the Presbyterian Period?" George Gimarc just asked. (He called while I was writing this.) No, George, JOT was actually produced by the Southern Baptist Radio and Television Commission. "Oh, so he was the Baptist Blip." There ya go.

Reason Noah asked: Our cross-the-street neighbor has in its possession two (very, very rare) original animation cels from the old cartoon that debuted on Dallas teevee in the mid-1960s. Created by Ted Perry and Baylor grad Ruth Byers, who was hired in 1959 by the legendary Paul Baker to run the Teen Children's Theater at the Dallas Theater Center upon its opening, JOT had a lengthy run on local television -- first on Jerry Haynes's Mr. Peppermint, then on Bill Kelley's The Children's Hour.

Said Byers about the religious message contained within, "JOT was just a basic circle that changed shape and color depending on his relationship with God. JOT was named after the image was finalized. The name fit perfectly since JOT is another word for a small dot. It was also easy for children to say."

Barry Sandoval, director of Heritage's comics operations, doesn't know how much these'll go for -- the cels don't officially hit the auction block till April 16. But, he says, "I suspect Gen-X'ers originally from the Southern U.S., in particular will remember JOT quite well from their childhoods, and I would further expect that quite a few of them will be pleasantly surprised to see that these cels still exist, even better, are actually attainable at auction."