Co-Ed Fever
July 25, 2018 9:31 PM   Subscribe

 
I watched quite a few of those shows...man, I watched way too much TV.
posted by Chuffy at 10:26 PM on July 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


One of the Mid Season shows, "Makin' It" was based on a song written by the star, David Naughton. It was great to roller skate to. The tv show was terrible, partly because it was based on a 2 and a half minute disco song.

David Naughton was the singing and dancing "I'm a Pepper" Dr Pepper commercial guy and they dropped him after he appeared nude in as the star of the excellent film, American Werewolf in London.

He was also the star of the 80's schlock sex comedy, Hot Dog, The Movie.

Last year he was in Sharknado 5.

His brother is stage, film and screen actor James Naughton, who was the co-star of The Planet of the Apes tv show... and many years later he played Angela's ex-husband on Who's The Boss

Thus ends my Naughton family trivia chain from memory.
posted by bobdow at 10:27 PM on July 25, 2018 [36 favorites]


Some of these must have been rerun in syndication, because I wouldn't have been old enough to remember them in first run. But I found but I could sing the themes to Hello Larry, Makin' It, and Angie (always loved that one.

Two Animal House-tyle shows and two Saturday Night Fever-style shown in one season, eh?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:34 PM on July 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


I recall lots of those shows, too. A few were pretty big hits at the time (Real People), and are even still well remembered (The Dukes of Hazzard). More interesting are the ones that have pretty much dropped down the memory hole. Such as the craptacular "Turnabout" in which the lead-in gives away all you need to know/fair warning so you can instantly change the channel before wasting another minute. And "Mrs. Columbo" featuring a young Kate Mulgrew. Yes, Mrs. Columbo! Who knew?
posted by 2N2222 at 10:36 PM on July 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


“Makin’ It” on laserdisc at Idylwylde Library Edmonton Alberta = peak 80s.
posted by aramaic at 10:45 PM on July 25, 2018 [6 favorites]


I can't believe I atewatched the whole thing. At least now I know Richard Mulligan & Dinah Manoff co-starred in in a show other than Soap or Empty Nest, which I am sure is knowledge that will serve me well at some point in the future.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:47 PM on July 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


The start of television's second most exciting season - midseason - is just two hundred exciting seconds away!

Also, isn't that Winnie the Pooh narrating the Turnabout promo?
posted by sysinfo at 10:49 PM on July 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


Is it just me or does Hello Larry look somewhat like a sitcom that would be called Fraiser?
posted by nubs at 10:50 PM on July 25, 2018 [6 favorites]


Wow, it'a like the same show done 36 different ways. There must have been a factory churning it out.

They used a lot of whipped cream and falling down in all those opening sequences. And forced laughter and more than one had a little circle where the stars of the show were uncomfortably mugging.

And character names! Zipper, Otter. At least they get to go through the green glass door.

But dancing with the plunger for the Ropers opening sequence? Someone was thinking this was a good idea to do in front of America?

Is it just me or does Hello Larry look somewhat like a sitcom that would be called Fraiser?

I think they mugged for the camera more sophisticated-like on Frasier...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 10:53 PM on July 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


Man, I want to watch some of those.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:57 PM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many episodes of these shows have survived in some warehouse, or if they're gone forever.
posted by dilaudid at 11:00 PM on July 25, 2018


I recognized at least half of these within two seconds of screen time, often before any credits or music. This is all I have to show for far too many hours looking at a tv screen as a bored pre-teen. A meagre accomplishment, I gotta say.

And "Mrs. Columbo" featuring a young Kate Mulgrew.

Mrs Biscuit loves a good murder mystery (or even a bad one: she’s not picky). I gave her the boxed set of Columbo a couple of Xmases back. I watched a couple with her and as I think I mentioned before on the blue, there is an episode where the who that dunit is played by William Shatner, who in a weirdly meta turn, is playing an actor who portrays a tv detective. Columbo manages to get his fingerprints or handwriting sample or something by asking if he can have one of the 8x10s that the suspect has been signing, explaining that it is for his wife, who is a huge fan.

Janeway certainly had thoughts on Kirk’s captaining style, that is true. It’s an unintentional joke that took twenty years to land.

Two Animal House-tyle shows and two Saturday Night Fever-style shown in one season, eh?

That’s how we did in the day. A couple seasons later we had three pallid knockoffs of Raiders of the Lost Ark all at once. Delta House was actually pretty prestigious in theory because it was nominally a continuation of the movie, with several of the cast members continuing from the big screen. That was very unusual in an era where there were movie actors and tv actors and never the twain.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:01 PM on July 25, 2018 [8 favorites]


Is it just me or does Hello Larry look somewhat like a sitcom that would be called Fraiser?

The timeline fits for Tommy Westphall to have watched Hello, Larry for some inspiration so: sure, why not?
posted by sysinfo at 11:03 PM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Kept hoping to find the answer to that unsolved AskMe question.
posted by RGD at 11:07 PM on July 25, 2018 [15 favorites]


Mrs Biscuit loves a good murder mystery (or even a bad one: she’s not picky). I gave her the boxed set of Columbo a couple of Xmases back. I watched a couple with her and as I think I mentioned before on the blue, there is an episode where the who that dunit is played by William Shatner, who in a weirdly meta turn, is playing an actor who portrays a tv detective. Columbo manages to get his fingerprints or handwriting sample or something by asking if he can have one of the 8x10s that the suspect has been signing, explaining that it is for his wife, who is a huge fan.

That's kind of what strikes me as so weird about Mrs. Columbo, aside from not remembering it at all. I thought Columbo was, and still is, immensely entertaining. One ongoing trope of the show is Columbo mentioning his wife, who is never seen, sort of like Maris Crane from Fraiser. It's not even clear Columbo really is married, considering his general appearance and hygiene, and his tendency to use her as a ploy to draw out information from suspects. So here pops up Janeway, frankly Columbo is way out of his league here. Who would believe it?
posted by 2N2222 at 11:17 PM on July 25, 2018 [7 favorites]


Those are some horrifying theme songs
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:20 PM on July 25, 2018


1979 -- the year I turned twenty. I don't recall watching much TV having heard it caused brain damage.
posted by philip-random at 11:21 PM on July 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


Dang it, I'll just admit to you guys that I still love the theme to "Angie", even after all these years. Maybe it's because I was 12 and at the height of my impressionable years.
posted by vverse23 at 11:38 PM on July 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


The weirdest thing about Makin' It was that Greg Antonacci was The Buddy.

There are some great casts in here, and a whole lot of people whose names I don't recognize at all.
posted by rhizome at 11:39 PM on July 25, 2018


Speaking of the Dukes of Hazard this is possibly the Best Thing Ever
posted by mbo at 11:44 PM on July 25, 2018 [10 favorites]


Notes:
Hizzonner: Confused because I thought that term was Baltimore-specific but Wikipedia tells me it's widespread and now I don't know which accent to criticize.

Hello Larry: I will watch Johanna Gleason be exasperated in anything. Also hey, the kid from Escape to Witch Mountain!

The Ropers needs no further explanation. Perfect.

Highcliffe Manor: Clue plus Mystery but boring and real sexist? Or something?

13 Queens Blvd: Oh fuck that theme song kill me now. Also those apartment buildings are the actual worst.

Just Friends: Is this west coast Taxi? Oh, wait Stockard Channing, I love you, and a super diverse cast, okay!

Angie: This is disgusting and WHAT, Philadelphia! I swear to god no-one in the history of Philadelphia residents has ever kissed like that. Jesus Fucking Christ. Ok Doris Roberts is great casting.

Flatbush: Oh that's what Adrian Zmed did besides Grease 2. I see we've got some black people as decoration. Um. And a producer named Philip Capise, jesus is this all just an in-joke for the mob? Stayin' Alive.

Making It: Ok, more disco. And more ELO than Bee Gees, I'm okay with that. But wait Passaic, really? Interesting choice. Ohhhhh, we're awkward people. HOLD UP WE'VE GOT A LASTNAME OF TRAVOLTA!

I am only at 9:20 of 36.47, Mefites.
posted by desuetude at 11:52 PM on July 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


God dammit, one of these has got to be the paint roller...
posted by darksasami at 12:02 AM on July 26, 2018 [11 favorites]


Who would believe it?

Nobody, which is why the show didn't make it.

Flatbush: Oh that's what Adrian Zmed did besides Grease 2.

You're forgetting a little show called TJ Hooker.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:19 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


If everybody had buckled down and did their homework instead of watching this crap we'd all be living in luxury socialist resorts on the Moon and Mars and/or in Lagrangian point colonies by now, communicating with each other with a combination of telepathy and bird songs and calculus equations. I weep for our lost potential.
posted by Chitownfats at 4:12 AM on July 26, 2018 [14 favorites]


Was there some industry rule that the credit font had to be yellow?
posted by octothorpe at 4:16 AM on July 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


It's mesmerizing watching these, each one is worse and less believable than the last. Some of them could be fake and without wikipedia, I'd never be able to tell the difference.
posted by octothorpe at 4:30 AM on July 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


Flatbush: Oh that's what Adrian Zmed did besides Grease 2.
You're forgetting a little show called TJ Hooker.


And Bachelor Party with Tom Hanks.
posted by Billiken at 4:40 AM on July 26, 2018


If everybody had buckled down and did their homework instead of watching this crap we'd all be living in luxury socialist resorts on the Moon and Mars and/or in Lagrangian point colonies by now, communicating with each other with a combination of telepathy and bird songs and calculus equations. I weep for our lost potential.

GEEZ MOM WE DID STUDY! WE DID A TON OF STUDYING! BUT WE HAD AN OIL SHOCK, OK? AND THIS VIRULENT FUNDAMENTALIST PROTESTANTISM THAT ALLIED WITH THE PLUTOCRATS TO SUCK ALL THE MONEY OUT OF THE ECONOMY! AND THE BABY BOOMERS HIT MIDDLE AGE AND DIDN'T CARE ABOUT ANYTHING ANYMORE! SO GET OFF MY BACK, OK?

*pause*

I just don't understand why you can't be more like Sweden...

MO-OOM!
posted by PlusDistance at 4:45 AM on July 26, 2018 [17 favorites]


Was there some industry rule that the credit font had to be yellow?

People still had black and white TVs, so probably.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:00 AM on July 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


I was almost to the end and the thought popped into my head, "hey what about Supertrain?" and then there it was.
posted by octothorpe at 5:01 AM on July 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


I first heard of Mrs. Columbo while listening to the audiobook of Kate Mulgrew’s memoir Born With Teeth. (Excellent book, and I’m not generally a fan of celebrity stories.) Mrs. Columbo must have set a record for re-envisioning. In only 13 episodes that series had four different titles: Mrs. Columbo, Kate Columbo, Kate the Detective and, finally, Kate Loves a Mystery. The character changed names from Kate Columbo to Kate Callahan (off-screen divorce?). The whole thing was a mess of muddled concepts the producers wouldn’t commit to.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:13 AM on July 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


I've never heard nor watched of any of these. I must've been too self absorbed my senior year in high school.
posted by yoga at 5:20 AM on July 26, 2018


The last MST3k episode I watched was "Master Ninja" with the classic "The Van Patten Project" sketch, which also features a pretty deep dive into 70's/80's TV. Of course, you could argue that every episode of MST3k has a deep dive into 70's/80's TV. I'm pretty sure Joel was the first one to alert to the existence of "Hello Larry".
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 5:26 AM on July 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


Hizzonner: Confused because I thought that term was Baltimore-specific but Wikipedia tells me it's widespread and now I don't know which accent to criticize.

The cable guide descriptions for syndicated reruns of Spin City (1990s sitcom with Michael J. Fox working in the New York City mayor's office) often mentioned a character named "Hizzonner" which completely confused me for longer than I care to admit, as I could not think who this Hizzonner person could be. In my mind, I was reading it as HIH-zun-ner, as if there was someone named, like, Robert Hizzonner.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:32 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


... And Micheal Keaton as "Kenny".
posted by octothorpe at 5:32 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


It is easy to see why Marjoe Gortner eschewed any network television appearances during this Annus horribilis
posted by Chitownfats at 5:36 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


The weird thing about 70s TV was everybody knew how stupid it all was. Hello Larry and Supertrain and anything Fred Silverman were easy talkshow laugh lines. It was like Hollywood said, hey you want interesting TV or you want us to have cocaine three meals a day? And advertisers were like, whatever, as long as there's pretty people, you got any blow?

^ does not apply to CPO Sharkey.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 5:37 AM on July 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


It takes a lot to make a stew!
posted by duffell at 5:44 AM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


This is practically indistinguishable from Too Many Cooks...

Damn it, duffell!
posted by Naberius at 6:13 AM on July 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


I saw the opening maw of hell, with endless pains and sorrows there...
posted by Catblack at 6:25 AM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


A couple seasons later we had three pallid knockoffs of Raiders of the Lost Ark all at once.

Obliquely referring to Tales of the Gold Monkey in this way makes baby Jesus cry.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:30 AM on July 26, 2018 [9 favorites]


> You're forgetting a little show called TJ Hooker.

Not forgetting. Blocking.
posted by desuetude at 6:53 AM on July 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


I implore you to watch to the end. There is a show where Matlock (Andy Griffith) is a salvage guy who goes to the moon and a time travel (I think) show starring Vincent Price with a banging techo/disco theme song.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:57 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


I was watching this in my computer and my husband, on the other side of the table, hearing only the themesongs, asked “is that vaporwave?”
posted by mai at 7:59 AM on July 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


Also these are all before my time but I would watch any of them at least once. I love the seventies.
posted by mai at 8:02 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


I really don't remember watching any of this shit back in '79, what the hell was I up to? Oh, yeah, weed. A lot of weed.
posted by e1c at 8:06 AM on July 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


The_Vegetables: "I implore you to watch to the end. There is a show where Matlock (Andy Griffith) is a salvage guy who goes to the moon and a time travel (I think) show starring Vincent Price with a banging techo/disco theme song."

I'm not sure what it says about me as a teenager but those two are the only shows in this set that I remember watching. Salvage 1 was at least slightly better than the other space garbage truck show.
posted by octothorpe at 8:11 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


There is a show where Matlock (Andy Griffith) is a salvage guy who goes to the moon

Yeah, Salvage 1. Really fun pilot. Sadly, the premise couldn't really support a series. Once you've gone to the moon, what else is there to do? It's all sort of downhill from there.
posted by Naberius at 8:13 AM on July 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


I remember Salvage 1! I was just the age to appreciate it (13 or so).
posted by suelac at 8:19 AM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


Man, I can't watch these at work. (Can't facepalm for 30 minutes without someone complaining).
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:19 AM on July 26, 2018


There's an incredibly tense scene in Salvage (the pilot movie for Salvage 1, which was the custom art the time) in which the telephone connection they're using to hack NASA flight control is interrupted. Pure gold. Worth watching, trust me. That's the show I want a reboot of, dammit!
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:24 AM on July 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


I *liked* "Hello Larry". They regularly broke the 4th wall.
posted by mikelieman at 8:27 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


And "Mrs. Columbo" featuring a young Kate Mulgrew. 

1. How many episodes?
2. Where?
3. I would watch the shit out of this show.
posted by sexyrobot at 8:46 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


One out of the 36. Where the hell was I in midseason 1979? Oh right. North of the Arctic Circle. I've never been so happy to get isolation pay.
posted by Mogur at 9:14 AM on July 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


I thought I was still watching a lot of TV in 1979, but I never watched any of the 36 in the first link.
I don't remember even hearing about any of them, with the exception of The Dukes.
Had to go to Wikipedia to see what it was I was watching. (And to get that nostalgic feeling)
posted by MtDewd at 9:19 AM on July 26, 2018


sexyrobot: "And "Mrs. Columbo" featuring a young Kate Mulgrew. 

1. How many episodes?
2. Where?
3. I would watch the shit out of this show.
"

13 episodes. There's a YouTube playlist here under the name Kate Loves a Mystery.
posted by octothorpe at 9:23 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]




I recognized three of those shows. Of course in 1979 I was way more interested in sex&drugs&rock&roll.
posted by Splunge at 9:33 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


I really don't remember watching any of this shit back in '79, what the hell was I up to? Oh, yeah, weed. A lot of weed.

by 1980, the house I was living in had an official rule that the television could never be left uncovered. We had one, but it always had a quilt on it when it wasn't in use, and we almost never used it -- maybe because of that quilt, or maybe the combined effects of good weed and a honking big stereo system (and a few black light posters) provided for better "viewing" than the vast oceans of sewage that the various networks were endeavoring to pump into our living room.

This is something that people who bemoan the internet and all the negativity it's brought into our lives just don't get it. There can be no going back to 1979. The only way to Gay Space Communism is forward.
posted by philip-random at 9:48 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


I was 9. And a bored latchkey kid in the suburbs. About half of them I could start singing along with the theme song. God, I am so fucked up.

One of these days, I’m going to do the Real People mega-post. I fucking loved that show. I’m a little afraid to go back and discover it wasn’t as good as 9 year old me thought it was (see above re: so fucked up). The premise was basically “Hey America, look in the mirror, you are really weird and fucked up but you’re kinda awesome that way.”
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:59 AM on July 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


But dancing with the plunger for the Ropers opening sequence? Someone was thinking this was a good idea to do in front of America?

Have we ever had the Ropers versus Mr. Furley throwdown? I think they were pretty much tied in the homophobia department, although Ralph Furley seemed much more likely to do actual violence to Jack Tripper, as Jack's perceived sexuality was probably much more threatening to Mr. Furley's swinging single persona than Mr. Roper who had lost interest in sex with his wife long ago.

I think Mr. Roper might have had a bit more misogyny than Furley. The writer that created the Ropers clearly hated women. There's a genuine bitterness in his relationship with his hen-pecking, and presumably alcoholic, wife. By comparison, Mr. Furley's view of women as objects for sexual conquest is played to extreme comic effect because the audience in the 70s was just starting to realize that this kind of one dimensional view of masculinity is ridiculous on it's own once you accept that women are in fact people and Three's Company was always masterful at launching the obvious joke.

But despite the landlords' being a focus of horror in a comedy of politically incorrect horrors, there's something incredibly funny about them, and the show as a whole worked really well and stands up today I think. I probably watched it for years telling myself about how stupid and awful it was, even as a child, before I realized I was also laughing the entire time. And I think it really comes down to the amazing performances by the cast.

Obviously, Don Knotts had some comedy acting chops and this was the role where he was given the most free reign to ham it up as much as he wanted without worrying about offending anyone, in a show without taste or a sense of propriety whatsoever. But I like Norman Fell specifically because he is a bit understated, a put-upon grump who, more than anyone else in the show, keeps his thoughts to himself even though you can always guess what those thoughts are. And he'd let you know that he had that connection with the viewer when he'd break the fourth wall and smirk at the camera after successfully landing his rare punchline. Those were some of the all time greatest golden moments in TV sitcom history.

My brain has stored in crystal clarity the opening sequence to The Ropers for 39 years and I replay it in my mind every time I need to use a plunger. Stanley's dancing and parading with the plunger like it's a marching band leader's baton is just so absurd, so purposefully out of character, and so jarring when juxtaposed with the experience of trying to squeeze a giant turd down an overflowing toilet, that I have to laugh out loud every time. In fact, once, my now-wife asked me why I was chuckling in the bathroom and, it being too early in our relationship to share discussions about fiber and bowel movements, I just laughed harder and gave an "oh, nothing..." So now you know, Metafilter, what's going on when you hear me giggling behind a closed bathroom door. I have been warped forever by that one little sequence.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:10 AM on July 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


And don't even get me started on it: Priscilla Barnes >> Suzanne Somers > Jenilee Harrison. This is not at all debatable.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:13 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Iiiii had my suspicions about Furley being a secret closet case. But it's entirely possible I read too much into it.

I was putting up a shower curtain the other day, and I had a flashback to Furley hearing Jack and Chrissy put one up from the other side of the bathroom door. "I don't think it'll reach!" "Well, you've got to unfold it first!"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:16 AM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


Nobody commented on Michelle Pfeiffer's breakout role as 'The Bombshell' in Delta House?
posted by CheapB at 11:20 AM on July 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


Wow, you can almost smell the cocaine.
posted by Sphinx at 11:21 AM on July 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


I actually don't remember seeing more than Angie and Real People. I do know "Makin' It" the song because it was inescapable back then. My TV watching was limited in those days, being only 10 years old, and by the adult in the house. I was made to hit the hay at about 8:30 every night. Doesn't seem like I missed much, to be honest!

I also remember hearing this in college, while learning about the rise and fall of Fred Silverman in my TV history classes. One of those little nuggets my prof wasn't supposed to have, yet did, just like the Amos 'n' Andy shows from late 1920's Chicago radio he also taught us about.
posted by droplet at 11:32 AM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


Psst! Kim Richards in Hello Larry is Paris Hilton's aunt. Pass it on!
posted by JanetLand at 11:40 AM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


And Joanna Gleason is Monty Hall's daughter. I just found that out from wikipedia today after seeing a reference to her upthread.
posted by octothorpe at 12:01 PM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


I loved Cliff Hangers! I remember skipping a sleepover at Gary's so I could watch it. And then it was cancelled and it ended with no resolution. I guess that's appropriate, but I was crushed.
posted by PatchesPal at 12:18 PM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


I definitely watched The Dukes of Hazzard and BJ and the Bear, and I think I might remember Supertrain, but I'm not sure. Maybe I'm just mis-remembering the misbegotten love child of Love Boat and Battlestar Galactica.

To think, people say the golden age of television is on us today!
posted by pwinn at 12:26 PM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Where's the one where someone opens a door at the wrong time and gets a face-full of paint?
posted by ckape at 12:53 PM on July 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


I haven't thought about Salvage 1 in almost 40 years, but there it is. Man I was into that ridiculous show.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:55 PM on July 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


Lot of shots of cars on the freeway in these opening credits...




New Oldsmobiles are in early this year...
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:01 PM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Lot of shots of cars on the freeway in these opening credits...
That lasted well into the '80s. The freeway was apparently the technological equivalent of the computer back in those days.

What's odd if you think about it is that The Dukes of Hazzard (I believe) is the only one with shooting in it (arrows; guns are shown but not fired) and in 2018, close to half the shows on prime time feature people showing weapons.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:34 PM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


1979 wasn't all bad. Also on the air in 1979:
M*A*S*H*
Soap
Barney Miller
One Day At A Time
WKRP In Cincinnati
Lou Grant
Little House on the Prairie
The Rockford Files
Dallas
posted by briank at 1:34 PM on July 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


Lot of shots of cars on the freeway in these opening credits...
That lasted well into the '80s. The freeway was apparently the technological equivalent of the computer back in those days.


Disneyland's freeway simulator ride (Autopia) was put in Tomorrowland for a reason.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:38 PM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Lot of shots of cars on the freeway in these opening credits...
That lasted well into the '80s. The freeway was apparently the technological equivalent of the computer back in those days.


White-flight was in high gear at this time. I don't remember, but I wouldn't be surprised if commuting imagery was a signal to those people, or seen as an implied higher-status.
posted by rhizome at 2:02 PM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also on the air in 1979:
briank's list accounted for 6.5 hours of the three networks' total 66 hours of prime time programming, conforming to the oft-quoted standard of 10% of everything NOT being sh!t.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:06 PM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


briank: "1979 wasn't all bad. Also on the air in 1979:"

Don't forget about Taxi. It's funny, somehow in my head I thought that Taxi was an '80s show but I realized to today that it started in '78.
posted by octothorpe at 2:07 PM on July 26, 2018


The overarching theme that I can see here appears to be bad b-roll of cities. Like, "just send out an intern with a camera and a shaky tripod and make sure they're back before lunch" level of bad.
posted by theory at 3:30 PM on July 26, 2018


2N2222: "And "Mrs. Columbo" featuring a young Kate Mulgrew. Yes, Mrs. Columbo! Who knew?"

This actually just came up in one of the political threads!
posted by Chrysostom at 3:40 PM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Was there some industry rule that the credit font had to be yellow?
Well, it was almost mandatory that the credit font had to be Bookman: Regular, Italic and/or 'with Swash'.

Personal confession: I contributed a very small bit to its proliferation in 1978 when I was trying to design a masthead for a newsletter I called "Wendell's Weakly", saw some dry transfer lettering in Bookman with a lower case swash for the "w" that I fell in love with and made the newsletter "wendell's weakly".
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:43 PM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


NBC was going wild with detective shows in the late '70s, realized they had almost no female crime-busters and so "Mrs. Columbo" was born, from creatives who apparently had never seen Mister Columbo. With the show bombing badly, NBC kind of realized their mistake and retitled it halfway through its short 13-week run "Kate Loves a Mystery". A classic Network TV FUBAR that Ms. Mulgrew does not deserve the blame for, beyond her accepting the role.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:48 PM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


TheWhiteSkull: “Lot of shots of cars on the freeway in these opening credits...”
The_Vegetables: “That lasted well into the '80s. The freeway was apparently the technological equivalent of the computer back in those days.”
rhizome: “White-flight was in high gear at this time. I don't remember, but I wouldn't be surprised if commuting imagery was a signal to those people, or seen as an implied higher-status.”
At the end of the 1970s one could conceivably still put all their stuff in a car, drive for a few days, and literally start a new life in a new city, and millions of Blanks pushing 40 did just that after their divorces. I think that's what those establishing shots with highways in them represented.

By the beginning of the '90s with the digitization and consolidation of basically every industry but especially housing, banking, and credit, it just wasn't really possible anymore. Your past could follow you anywhere on the Interstate system.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:22 PM on July 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


I confront Bookman Swash every time I buy salad dressing.
posted by rhizome at 4:23 PM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Argh. I watched the whole thing, and now my brain is making up credit sequences for all of the songs on my Spotify playlist.
posted by MrVisible at 4:36 PM on July 26, 2018


well, this has put at least a temporary halt to my complaints about the stupidity of popular YouTubers

I will no longer wonder aloud about how anyone can stand to watch people open packages, because I would take an eternity of unboxing over this
posted by Countess Elena at 5:40 PM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Ben Murphy is the grieving widow [sic] whose young wife died while burying his son... The Jizzums: forging the pathway to the American West.

https://youtu.be/TfGZOmcR-nU?t=22m19s
posted by bunbury at 7:10 PM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


he’s at his Ben Murphiest
posted by Countess Elena at 8:03 PM on July 26, 2018


He looks like Marjoe Gortner.
posted by rhizome at 8:07 PM on July 26, 2018


“That was a great handshake, man. This is a pretty mellow top secret operation. Nobody’s gettin’ uptight, everything’s cool, no baggage or hang-ups. I’m just gonna hang in there baby, you bet your sweet bippy. I’ll do my thing, they’ll do theirs. Just gotta keep mellow. That’s what bein’ Ben Murphy’s all about...and I’m Ben Murphy.”

(To be fair, that was actually Ben Murphy in 1976)
posted by Chrysostom at 8:52 PM on July 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


Well, it was almost mandatory that the credit font had to be Bookman: Regular, Italic and/or 'with Swash'.

I have referred to this typeface as "Golden Girls Script," but it obviously predates that show.
posted by stannate at 6:07 AM on July 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


There's a whole lot of "whoa, never even HEARD of those," but I remember or watched:
  • Hello Larry, including an ep where the setup was "would-he-or-wouldn't-he emcee a nudist event in which he was expected to also be naked?"
  • The Ropers, which was an ill-advised spinoff from Three's Company. I'd forgotten Jeffrey Tambor was in it, though.
  • Wow, I TOTALLY remember Angie, but didn't until I saw the promo again. I even remember the song. Donna Pescow! Robert "Airplane" Hayes!
  • Holy Crap! Turnabout! I remember her-in-his-body tagging the clothes, so that the him-in-her-body could dress properly.
  • ZOMG Real People! I recently thought about this again, when I became aware that former RP presenter, Byron Allen, is now literally a billionaire. He's the one who just bought the assets of the Weather Channel for $300M this year. RP inspired a look-alike called "That's Incredible," if memory serves. (I am absolutely NOT looking that up on Wikipedia, because I know a hole when I see one.)
  • BJ & the Bear was a hit in my 4th grade set, but I'd totally forgotten about it by the time I went to college 9 years later, only to be reminded who the monkey's namesake was. A lot.
  • SPACE TRAVELING ANDY GRIFFITH! I loved that show. Perhaps Elon Musk was similarly entranced; we're about the same age.
  • I'd forgotten about Cliffhangers!, but I remember loving it, and being surprised my dad kinda did, too. In my head I'd kinda combined some visuals from its Dracula arc with visuals from the roughly contemporaneous 1979 film, which starred Frank Langella. Looking at stills from either, it's clear why, and also clear that the TV show's Count -- Michael Nouri -- was almost certainly cast based in part on his physical resemblance to Langella. It was the same year, but Langella had been playing the character on Broadway for a year or two prior to his film, so his "look" was very much in the zeitgeist.
  • And, of course, Supertrain! JoCoCruise regular John Roderick is especially fond of this one. He'd make a good MeFite; someone should hip him to this place.

But:
  • How did I not know there was an Animal House show, and with so many actors from the film? And that it was part of a a whole pile of college life sitcoms clearly attempting to cash in on NatLamp's success?
  • I don't remember Highcliff Manor AT ALL, but holy crap it had Ernie Hudson -- and Harold "Oddjob" Sakata!
  • I'm really, really sorry I have no memory of Kate Mulgrew as "Mrs. Columbo." God, the pitch meeting for that must've been super cringey. "A lady detective? Pshaw!"
  • Baby Ron Silver at ~ 29:16!
Also:

I'm from the rural south. I have PTSD about the Dukes. In this sea of quickly-forgotten shows, it's what, the biggest success?

The pop-quiz obscurity question is whether or not you remember the season they did "Coy and Vance" instead of "Bo and Luke?" The show was a huge success, but Wopat and Schneider felt like they weren't getting their cut, and negotiations broke down, so they started shooting with ersatz leads, another blonde-and-brunette pair of Duke cousins, who were helping out Uncle Jesse while the main heroes were racing in NASCAR despite their probation. (I am not joking.)

Ratings tanked, predictably. Apparently, they literally just shot previously written scripts with the names scribbled out and changed. Even so, they didn't right the ship and bring back Bo and Luke until the next year -- all of season 4, and most of 5, is with the standins, and the whole mess basically destroyed the show. Ratings never bounced back completely, and they were done by the end of year 7.
posted by uberchet at 11:13 AM on July 27, 2018 [4 favorites]


At the end of the 1970s one could conceivably still put all their stuff in a car, drive for a few days, and literally start a new life in a new city, and millions of Blanks pushing 40 did just that after their divorces.

Wow, I finally have a name for my father and his circle.

The Dukes were pretty ubiquitous in the rural North, too. My grandfather had "Dixie" horns on his pickup AND his tractor.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:02 PM on July 27, 2018


The transcendent "Battle of the Network Stars" series ruined me for all scripted television entertainment.
posted by Chitownfats at 4:49 PM on July 27, 2018 [6 favorites]


the roughly contemporaneous 1979 film, which starred Frank Langella

I saw that in the theater, on a double bill with Penitentiary
posted by thelonius at 4:56 PM on July 27, 2018


Hello, Larry was notable for having both Kim Richards of Witch Mountain fame (at the time), and Meadowlark Lemon, and I loved the 70s Harlem Globetrotters. I liked the show and remember noticing that it got cancelled, but I was 11, so who knows how bad it was!

That's what kind of gets me about that stuff. "You never saw Holmes & Yo-Yo? IT WAS GREAT!" Yeah, to a 9 year old. Fred Silverman wasn't doing those focus groups, that's for sure.

I have the Supertrain movie ("EXPRESS TO TERROR") on my hard drive. It was supposed to gonna be a series, but it sucked too bad and it only ran for a few months. Steve Lawrence was the marquee star, so.

I love how much of the movie cast made it to the Delta House series. That was a good one, too, and I'd even seen the movie in the theater (thanks Dad!).
posted by rhizome at 6:56 PM on July 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


Hoover would go on to his defining role, the dad on Charles In Charge.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:10 PM on July 27, 2018


That reminds me, my brother and I definitely played Supertrain. We loaded our Star Wars guys and G.I. Joes along with The Woodseys and the Adventure People into whatever we could cobble together to represent the Supertrain — I think a favorite blanket with wide stripes to represent the cars played a big part —and they all acted out a kid's understanding of the plot of the show.

Yes this is in addition playing Salvage 1 with the neighbor kids on their jungle gym. I watched way too much TV as a kid.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:49 PM on July 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


Hoover would go on to his defining role, the dad on Charles In Charge

Is that like the neighbor guy on Home Improvement? I thought the whole premise of the show was "no dad," which is why Charles was in charge, but I never really watched it.

Now I kind of want to get a stunt tattoo of James Widdoes.
posted by rhizome at 11:49 AM on July 28, 2018


The premise is that Charles is hired as a live-in nanny. Then, they did a complete cast change, and the original family moves, but sublets the house to another family, and Charles basically comes with the house.

The original family has their dad around (Widdoes) - maybe the parents just worked a lot? The second family nominally has a dad, but he's away in the Navy.

I'm not very proud to remember all this.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:59 PM on July 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


Thank you for your service.
posted by rhizome at 1:17 PM on July 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


1979 wasn't all bad. Also on the air in 1979:
M*A*S*H*
Soap
Barney Miller
One Day At A Time
WKRP In Cincinnati
Lou Grant


You could have stopped there. :)
posted by Splunge at 4:55 PM on July 29, 2018


Finally watched the thing; nice to know that Hollywood was way more risk adverse back in 1979.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:28 PM on July 29, 2018


On the other hand, no one expected these shows to be remembered even months after they went off the air.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:34 PM on July 29, 2018


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