Throwback Thursday: The Secret City

Secret_City_muralIn my youth I really had a thing for drawing.  I enjoyed the skill involved and would spend hours with pencil and paper trying to recreate comic strip characters like Garfield or my own worlds with strange creatures.  One of my biggest influences came from a Public Television show called The Secret City, It was a space themed drawing show and included characters such as Zebtron, Metaman, Cindy the Dragon and starred Mark Kistler as Draw_Squad_Book“Commander Mark.”  The goal was to teach children the techniques and language of drawing, with a focus on 3-D.  I watched the show religiously and even recorded them on VHS tapes so I could rewind, pause and rewatch the lessons.  I was a member of the fan club, would send in my own art work to the show and also had several of Mark Kistler’s books.  The most memorable one for me was “Mark Kistler’s Draw Squad,” which you can still by on Amazon HERE.

My attention on drawing lasted until high school, when I started moving away from my geeky and artsy ways and focused on sports and socializing with friends.  I never saw myself as particularly skilled in the world of art, so leaving it behind was not that big of a deal for me.  But after nearly 25 years of not picking up a pencil, I find myself drawing constantly with my 3 year old daughter.  She is the best trainer I have ever had because she will request that I draw something, tell me how much she loves it and then flips the page and asks me to draw it again.  It is so much fun and I hope that someday she and I can watch old episodes of The Secret City and draw together.  I probably have my old VHS tapes somewhere, if only I had a VCR player. Until then, I plan to keep up the drawing.  Here’s an example of something I did while researching Mark Kistler for this post.

KnockingOfftheRustI watched one of his more recent YouTube videos and decided to grab a piece of printer paper and a pencil and follow along like the old days.  I don’t think it’s too shabby for a guy who hasn’t even thought about drawing in the last quarter of a century. Who knows, if I keep this up I might just fulfill a childhood dream of drawing my own comic strip.  I’ll just post it on this site and be all set. I love technology.

If you do remember The Secret City, then you will certainly remember this, the great big mural that Commander Mark would add to each episode, using the techniques he spoke about that day.

If you want to see more, you can find Mark Kistler at:


Hope you enjoyed this stroll down memory lane.  Now go out, have fun some and don’t forget to check out some of the other topics on this blog, such as Monday Cinema ClubBookworm TuesdayAnything Can Happen Wednesdayand Friday’s Week in Review.   

And for more on the Adventures of OxenTrot, you can find me at:

About OxenTrot

During the day, I am a mild mannered desk jockey who helps to manage a large IT company.  At night, I am a family man, who is insanely in love with his wife and a proud daddy to an amazing girl.  But in the pre-dawn hours, as most everyone else is still asleep, I am my alter ego.  During that time, I am: OxenTrot. Ox was a call sign bestowed upon me while I was an active duty United States Marine, mainly in tribute to the fact that I was a major gym rat. After 5 years and three tours of duty, I reentered the civilian world.  My call sign was replaced by my actual name but the Ox still lived inside. As I began to adapt to my new life, I also began to take on new adventures, such as starting a family, getting a “big boy” job and taking on endurance sports.
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