The Littlest Hobo
I watched Doctor Who on a regular basis when I was a child, and I was never scared. I was never scared of Daleks, or the Master, or the Cybermen, or the terrible thing that lived underground and was clearly just a number of people concealed inside a giant sock. I was disdainful of all children who were scared of Doctor Who, and who spoke of being creeped out as soon as they heard the opening bars of the theme song.
I resolutely ignored the fact that my disdain was rendered ridiculous by my own fear of The Littlest Hobo. Not the dog—I knew he was a wandering canine force for wrong-righting and justice. I'm talking about the show itself. Maybe it was because it featured distressing things happening in and around Toronto; it was certainly because, at least as far as I remember, each and every show featured robbers. Robbers! Torontonian (or at least Ontarian) robbers who climbed up ladders into windows! My memory also tells me they were dressed very much in the manner of an eight-year-old dressing up as a robber for Halloween. They had black turtlenecks, and masks, and sacks to carry off all the things they were planning to take from the bedrooms of the children whose witless parents had left ladders lying around as a irresistible invitation to 1980s robbers.
It's not even just that I knew that Torontonian robbers were real and space monsters likely weren't and so apportioned my fear in a sensible manner. I would probably have been able to accept that there were giant walking stones that killed people and evil men with goatees who turned people into action figures. I think maybe I wasn't petrified by those possibilities because if they were possible, so too was a time-traveling , mop-top space scamp with a penchant for jelly babies. And if he existed, it was almost unavoidable that I would at some point end up traveling through time and space with him, earning my keep by acting as a stabilizing influence.
What was the compensation for the undeniable existence of robbers? A dog who traveled about south-eastern Ontario occasionally foiling those robbers before promptly deserting whatever child had developed an attachment to him? As much as I was petrified of robbers when I was six, it's possible I was even more petrified of being saved and then rejected by a crime-fighting dog. Maybe tomorrow you'll want to settle down? WHY NOT NOW.