The Tiger in the TV Set
As a young lad, trapped in a world we never made, we suffered from a recurring nightmare: the TV set would go dark. A tiger’s head would appear on the screen. And then the tiger would jump out of the TV set. And eat us.
That last step was presumed — we have no recollection of actually being devoured, followed by a muffled roar of “Theyyyyyy’re GREAT!” from somewhere beyond the intestinal tract. The moment of consumption was the moment of awakening, scared shitless.
This being a recurring nightmare, the theme had its variations. Sometimes we would miraculously escape. Sometimes we experienced a slo-mo flight, sluggishly crawling down the hallway. We probably even had a lucid episode or two, although that rarely helped.
It didn’t help because awareness was not relief. We spent years in our Aughts being scared to death of real TVs — TVs turned off, that is. A live TV was not a threat — only a TV whose electrons were dark. There the tiger lurked.
It got so bad that when we eventually won a TV for our bedroom, we had to turn it around at night before going to sleep. Right after Dragnet.
Later, wiser, we realized the obvious: We were somehow haunted by the MGM lion. But the Screen Gems logo? Hell, that would be silly.