Marlin Perkins Doing Sweet Dick-All
Years before the Crocodile Hunter, we had Jim Fowler on Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. This dude was one tough bastard. He did all the dirty work on the show, like wrestling crocodiles or counting canine teeth on enraged lions.
Meanwhile, Marlin (who was old enough to have traveled with Lewis and Clark) would narrate the show from the safe comfort of his wood-paneled TV-studio office.
The only wildlife he ever came in contact with was the baby chimp he’d sometimes hold while telling the story.
Thanks for coming out, Marlin.
The Wonder Twins’ Ridiculous Transformations.
Anyone between the ages of 35-45 has probably watched the Superfriends cartoon on Saturday mornings at least once.
Remember the Wonder Twins Zan and Jayna? (With the identical bad Spock haircuts and Spock ears?)
Whenever there was trouble, they’d touch knuckles and yell out “Wonder Twin Powers ACTIVATE!“. Then one would transform into water and the other, into an animal, and they’d try to save the day.
The lamest episode I saw involved Jayna taking the form of (I shit you not ) a giant lobster while Jan took the shape of in “Ice Reflector”.
This was so the 50-foot lobster could use icy satellite-dish to deflect the evil alien rock music that was coming from coming from a guitar-shaped spaceship that was terrorizing the city.
If you think I’m making this up, I’m not. This was an actual episode.
Excellent cartoon storyboard writing, there, Hanna-Barbera. Just what were you smokin’ at the time?
Dated Sit-coms that make you Cringe.
Take Welcome Back Cotter, for example. I had almost completely forgotten about this show until I caught a re-run flipping through channels. And only now do I realize how much this show SUCKED.
Every episode was just so God-Damned predictable. Cotter told a lame joke (and you just wanted to pummel him!) Horshack laughed. Washington said “Hi There“. Vinnie Barbarino said “What….where….who?“. Epstein had a note from home. Cotter ended the show with another joke. The studio audience would break up into hysterical laughter. Yok! yok! yok!
This same tired schtick took most of the show, leaving maybe 2 minutes for original plot and character development.
I could understand liking this show back in 1975. But that’s because I was only 10 years old at the time.
But Cotter was also popular with adults…GROWN ADULTS!
…what was THEIR excuse?
(Or back in the 70’s, were people just stupid?)
Cheesy Production of Pre-MTV Music Videos
Remember when the Monkees sang “Valerie”? And there was a really complicated guitar riff in the middle of the song?
Notice this is when the camera conveniently panned to a close-up of just the fingers playing on the guitar neck.
But that was really Mike Nesmith playing…wasn’t it?…WASN’T IT?
(Yes. Of course it was.)
I also laughed at the Partridge Family. Nothing like seeing a 12-year-old Danny Bonnaduce and the two other maggot-children lip-synch and sound like they’re 25.
One of the worst examples was an episode on Petticoat Junction. “Guest singer” Jack (I’m just a Bill) Sheldon sat at the piano and sang “Talk to the Animals” (Why, in Gods name, we’ll never know). Meanwhile, Chesty Jo and Boobie Jo sat next to him and made goo-goo eyes at him while he played.
Never mind that his hand movement didn’t even remotely match the keyboard sounds.
Come on…we all know you’re lip synching and not playing…but can you at least TRY TO PRETEND that you’re not?
The Evil Twin Plot Twist…ad Nauseum
Seems in the 1960’s, you couldn’t shake a stick without bumping into an identical twin. Sit-coms had ’em everywhere. Bewitched had Elizabeth Montgomery play two different roles: Samantha, and Serana. But at least these were two different characters.
But on Gilligan’s Island, a “guest castaway” was in identical double for Ginger. I Dream of Jeanie had an evil twin. Captain Kirk had a doppelganger on Star Trek…twice.
Get Smart gets the prize. Maxwell Smart, Ninety-Nine, and The Chief each had an identical twin, on three separate episodes.
Oboy, a hat trick.
I guess the show’s producers were really keen to show off their new “split-screen technology”.
Either that, or the fall-out from the atom-bomb tests of the 1950’s created all these mutant-twins.
Cheesy Rock’n Roll Stock Music
Take any TV show or teenage movie, circa 1961-1965, you’re bound to see the following scene:
Somewhere there is a live band playing “rock and roll” music. Groovy teenagers dance, while the parents/chaperones look on, puzzled.
For added cuteness, maybe an adult “square” will attempt to clumsily dance to this “crazy new music”, while the kids encourage them. And everybody is happy.
(Gagggg…I’m feeling nauseous here).
I’ve always been puzzled by the music, though. Notice none it includes any actual top 40 hits you’d have heard on the radio at the time. There is never any mention of the Beatles or the Stones or any other contemporary groups.
It’s just this cheesy generic plinky electric guitar and drums (and optional horn accompaniment, regardless of whether the band had horns or not). And the only place you ever hear this music played was on 1960’s sitcoms or movies.
I’m just curious…did any such records albums actually exist back then? Or is this another Great Conspiracy Theory?
This was a major phenomenon of the 70’s, when many shows were taped in front of a “Live Studio Audience”.
How many times have you seen this?:
A main character (Mrs. Garrison, Mr. Drummond, Maude, etc.) might say something poignant about racism, or child abuse, or woman’s rights…whatever.
This would be followed by a dramatic pause, after which the studio audience would approvingly burst into thunderous applause. Then pause, and fade out to commercial as the applause continues.
Once again (gaggg!) my gorge rises whenever I see this self-righteous preaching. I hated it back then, and I hate it today. Even when I saw these shows as a kid, I recognized this as sensationalist manipulative tripe.
Look, if want to learn about values and ethics, I’ll take a philosophy course, or talk to a parent, clergyman or any other role model/mentor…
…but I refuse to take moral guidance from the same IDIOT BOX that gave us “B.J. and the Bear” and “What-choo talkin’ about Willis?”.
Guest Celebrities you’re Supposed to worship
Another big phenomenon in the 60’s and 70s’ was that guest celebrities would play themselves on the show. And the plot typically involved the main characters getting star-struck and acting like blabbering idiots when the celebrity showed up. Apparently we’re supposed to think this is funny.
For example, in one episode of Chico and the Man, Freddy Prinze giggles and pretty much wets his pants like a little school girl when Sammy Davis Jr. walks into Ed’s garage.
Oh, yeah..RIGHT. A big tough Latino dude from East L.A. is going to act like this when he sees a Vegas lounge singer.
Man, it was embarrassing to watch (even though you knew Freddie was just following a script).
It’s also downright insulting (because TV is telling us that THIS is how WE would act if we met a movie star…!).
Sorry, I don’t think so.
Questionable Deputies’ Names on the Dukes of Hazard
Remember Sheriff Roscoe’s deputy, Enos? WTF kind of name is that?
I mean, aside from the Old Testament, name ONE OTHER PERSON you know called Enos!
And do you remember when Enos left the show, what his replacement was called?
Enos and Cletus. (Snicker). Seriously.
Come on…(be honest!). Don’t those two names resemble other words that describe…um…certain parts of the human anatomy?
As a kid, I thought those names were hilarious and I constantly made fun of them in the schoolyard. Even my Mom caught onto the joke.
Tell me the writers didn’t do that on purpose!