Tuesday, February 27, 2007

On a Lighter Note...

When I was a kid, I spent more time in front of the TV than your average monkey spends masturbating.

Actually, that's not a terrifically inappropriate comparison...

At any rate, the late 70's and 80's were a great time to be a slave to the tube. Not only were there great shows like Wonder Woman, Fantasy Island, The Six Million Dollar Man, and, well, Wonder Woman, but there were also the early forerunners of reality TV. No, I'm not talking about those boring sociology experiments on PBS.

I'm talking about Battle of the Network Stars.

One of the great blessings of my childhood was the willingness of my heroes to make asses of themselves in front of millions of viewers. In shows like Battle of the Network Stars and Circus of the Stars, relatively famous TV actors would show off their total lack of athletic skills in a wide variety of wonderful ways.

Feel the delightful, joyous badness: "Wonder Woman" Lynda Carter swimming against Adrienne Barbeau and Karen "Caroline Ingalls" Grassle from Little House on the Prairie. How about Robert Hegyes, who played "Epstein" on Welcome Back, Kotter racing Jimmy "Dy-no-mite" Walker?

Best of all, Howard Cosell did the announcing. Here's a clip:

I'd forgotten how much Gabe Kaplan resembled Ron Jeremy!

At any rate, you can feel the wonder, can't you?

It's impossible to imagine television actors doing this today. At the very least, they'd have to change the events to things like competitive starvation, running from the police, and recreational drug abuse. And I wonder if today's stars would be confident enough to make total asses out of themselves at the height of their fame.

I'd especially like to see something like this:

Coq Au Vin or no Coq Au Vin, it was a kinder, gentler time...

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  • Damnit, I just lost a brilliant observation.

    At any rate, watching Fat Albert as a small boy in Vermont led me to believe that all black people were varying iterations of Bill Cosby: shorter, taller, female, etc.

    By Blogger Matt, At February 27, 2007 at 12:58 PM  

  • The Fantasy Island/Loveboat line-up was the bomb.

    By Blogger Lee, At February 27, 2007 at 1:57 PM  

  • My parents, in their hippie phase, decided that TV would rot my brain. I missed out on a decade of quality programming. I am left out of conversations about the good ol' days of TV.

    I also never got a pony.

    By Blogger mist1, At February 27, 2007 at 2:52 PM  

  • Matt-
    Wow. I wonder how you would have responded to Breakfast at Tiffany's?

    Right there with you. Do you remember that brief, shining time when they followed Fantasy Island with Darkroom? It was a creepy anthology series with James Coburn that only ran for about half a season.

    I still miss it.

    Embarrassingly enough, my wife and I are doing the same thing with George. However, through the miracle of DVD, we'll be able to let her see the best of the tube.

    After all, I wouldn't want her to miss My Name is Earl. Hopefully, she'll grow up thinking that it's a silly TV show, not an accurate depiction of Southwest Virginia!

    By Blogger Crankster, At February 27, 2007 at 2:59 PM  

  • Gawd I loved the all stars!!!! And, no. I think todays stars take themselves too seriously. But it would be fun.

    By Blogger Pickled Olives, At February 27, 2007 at 3:39 PM  

  • “It’s a dark day in Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.” I think every day was a dark day in Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. That was one creepy dude.

    By Blogger slaghammer, At February 27, 2007 at 4:55 PM  

  • Fred Rogers, R.I.P.

    By Blogger Matt, At February 27, 2007 at 5:21 PM  

  • Alright, I was finally able to load this and now appreciate why my mother loved the witty Dick Cabbot.

    And I didn't mean that in a racist way.

    By Blogger Matt, At February 27, 2007 at 5:42 PM  

  • Olives-
    Is it bad that I can't quite get past the idea of a Callista Flockhart/Ellen Pompeo pie-eating showdown?

    I always loved Mr. Rogers. However, looking back as an adult, I realize that the guy had a kind of Ted Bundy stillness that is a little chilling.

    Speaking as a Cavett-American, you're preemptively forgiven. I think I'm part Cavett on my Father's side. Those guys screwed everybody.

    By Blogger Crankster, At February 27, 2007 at 6:08 PM  

  • I was already through puberty by the Lynda Carter days. Good thing, because I would have been mighty enamored when I was 14 or so.

    What the hell. I'm kinda enamored now.

    By Blogger Mystic Wing, At February 27, 2007 at 11:27 PM  

  • Lynda Carter
    These days, even shows for weight loss are so ridiculously dramatic and not very fun to watch. It's all about the drama!

    By Blogger Claudia, At February 28, 2007 at 12:32 AM  

  • Hmmm...don't remember Darkroom. Sounds like something maybe my parents might have kept me from seeing. They were weird that way. Wasn't allowed to watch Soap, but got to see The Exorcist. Wish I hadn't.

    By Blogger Lee, At February 28, 2007 at 7:11 AM  

  • Mystic Wing-
    And I was pre-pubescent. Let's just say that she set a very high bar for my future relationships. I'm still disappointed that my wife doesn't own an invisible airplane.

    I know what you mean. On some rare occasions, you'll see a star taking a chance with dancing or something like that. The trouble is, the stars are usually completely washed up!

    Strange. The Exorcist was one of the first films I ever saw. My parents were in one of the crowd scenes, so when it ran on television, my father made me watch.

    I was four.

    In retrospect, that explains a lot.

    By Blogger Crankster, At February 28, 2007 at 8:17 AM  

  • The ability to not take one's self too seriously is sadly missing from most of celebrityville today.

    As is the ability to consciously make a tit of yerself - thankfully, we have the royal family for that. It's a Royal Knockout anyone?


    By Blogger Glamourpuss, At February 28, 2007 at 8:36 AM  

  • Puss-
    You think they do it consciously? I always thought it was accidental.

    Speaking of which, what's the English read on Prince Harry going to Iraq?

    By Blogger Crankster, At February 28, 2007 at 4:08 PM  

  • Er, indifference?

    I'm sure James Hewitt is very proud of his son.


    By Blogger Glamourpuss, At February 28, 2007 at 6:22 PM  

  • Funny, I hadn't heard that rumor. I wonder if it's true. I guess we'll find out if he ends up needing a blood transfusion.

    By Blogger Crankster, At February 28, 2007 at 7:01 PM  

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