Friday, July 23, 2004

1970s TV revisited

Strange... according to the Internet Movie Database, if you're interested in the E! True Hollywood Story about the girls from '80s show The Facts of Life, you might also be interested in a special about Iron Maiden's classic album The Number of the Beast. Um... yeah. While I sort of doubt it, the Facts of Life reference got me to thinking...

Here's a fun exercise: think back. Way, way back. How far back can you remember? Answering that can somtimes be a challenge. We can often recall snippits of events or scenes that were particularly emotional, but it isn't always so easy to put them in context or identify when they occurred. Most people seem to remember things pretty well starting around age 7 or 8. Memories earlier than that tend to grow more and more fuzzy, until you get to about 4 years old and it all goes blank. This has been my experience as well; I can't remember anything reliably before 1974.

For me, the easiest way to calculate it is to go back to television. There were a lot of reruns back in the 70s, and even today Sheridan watches I Dream of Jeannie. But if you can remember a show that wasn't in reruns or ever released into syndication, you can reliably date your memories of watching it. So let's see... what can I recall pre-1977?

I remember Jaws coming out in 1975, but otherwise not much else in the way of movies. Room 222 was about a high school and ran 1969-74. I remember watching it and I don't think it was in reruns. Land of the Lost (1974-77) had dinosaurs and the creepy Sleestacks. I remember the glowing crystals in the pylons that would affect the weather and open holes in time. Space 1999 was pretty cool (1975-77), even though I thought Martin Landau and Barbara Bain were both funny looking.  They tried a TV series of Planet of the Apes in 1974.  It was so-so and only lasted one season.

Variety programs were as ubiquitous in the 70s as reality shows are today. Carol Burnett, Donnie & Marie, Sonny & Cher, etc. Everyone remembers those. How about the Hawaiian-themed Don Ho Show? It ran from 1976-77 on ABC, and you could watch him play the ukelele and sing "Tiny Bubbles." But the first comedy/variety show I can remember is the Flip Wilson Show, which aired from 1970-74. Flip would dress up in drag as Geraldine, and his catchphrase was "What you see is what you get!" Now that was quality television!


At 10:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty neat. I even remember watching Land of the Lost. It came on Saturday mornings after you and I would sit on the floor in our underwear and watch Bugs Bunny. You would always be quicker to claim the identity of Bugs Bunny leaving me to the only other acceptable alter-ego of the RoadRunner, where I would prove myself by running around in circles in our living room to the theme music. I was special. Anyway, I remember the group of kids hiding in a cave from dinosaurs with one male adult, (the dad?) and their radios had gone out so they found a piece of broken glass or mirror to reflect the sun into the eyes of the pilot of an airplane (not exactly the SAFEST idea). If that show went off the air in 1977, that would mean I must have been 3 years old at the most. Love the blog!

At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Yusuf! For the most part, John's Saturday morning routine hasn't changed much (give or take him sitting around in his underwear). :-P

Do you remember American Bandstand on Saturdays at noon? I loved that show.


At 6:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That made me laugh out loud! When American Bandstand was in it's prime I was too young to appreciate the teenagers shaking their "groove-thang" on the tv. :o)


At 8:46 AM, Blogger John said...

We always knew the cartoons were over when it was time for "The Soouuulll Train!"


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