MARK A. HICKS TRADEMARK
Mark A. Hicks, artist & illustrator


On Romper Room School
Romper Room School with Mark A. Hicks, Phoenix, KTAR

Yes, I was on Romper Room School twice. (No, I didn't flunk out the first time -- I was invited back to substitute for another student.) The shows were done live and it was a lot of fun and it went well. (Except for spilling the water for the flower I brought for Miss Jo Ann right before show time. Oh yeah, and that funny little incident during the bread commercial.)

Interesting fact: In 1962, my Romper Room teacher, Miss Jo Ann replaced Miss Sherri (Sherri Finkbine). Finkbine had sought medical approval for an abortion on the grounds that she had been taking thalidomide and believed her child would be born deformed. Finkbine decided to go public about the dangers of thalidomide but was sadly denied the abortion in Arizona following very intense negative publicity surrounding her story 

Thalidomide was an over-the-counter drug marketed and primarily used as a sedative in Germany and other European countries. The makers of the drug also claimed it could cure anxiety, insomnia, gastritis and other ailments. It was also used to alleviate morning sickness in pregnant women. However, not long after thalidomide had been on the market it was linked to fetal malformation of limbs and other birth defects. At the time Thalidomide was not approved for sale in the United States. Mrs. Finkbine's husband, a high school teacher, had legally purchased the drug in London while chaperoning a school trip and brought it home to his wife. 

Realizing the strong possibility of multiple birth defects, Finkbine's doctor tried to get a court order to proceed with the abortion but the case was dismissed. (There are lots of interesting facts about the Arizona judge in the case, Yale McFate, too.) Finkbine ultimately traveled to Sweden for the abortion. After the abortion Swedish doctors confirmed that the fetus had no legs and only one arm.

In 1992 a made-for-TV movie about the incident, A Private Matter, with Sissy Spacek as Finkbine, was aired. (Which, by the way, was a little inaccurate because they changed a bunch of names and facts. Not to mention it was obviously filmed in southern California. Just put a few cacti in pots and it looks just like Phoenix. Yeah, right.)


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