1/29/09

Why I Watched Steve Austin Get Captured by Killer Sharks

What was TV like for kids in the late 70s/early 80s? I don't think any description I could give would quite do it justice. Let's just say that on any given night you might find The Six Million Dollar Man trapped on a nuclear sub with a smoking hot woman who can control sharks! Or (holy shit!) Shaun Cassidy and Pamela Sue Martin go to a Transylvania rock concert and meet up with friggin Dracula, the Wolfman and Frankenstein!

You're thinking: So what? It's only TV, so who cares?

Well, back then, it was a big deal because you basically had nothing else to do during prime time.
(1) It was too dark to keep playing outside.
(2) No one did homework back then. None. Zero.
(3) Boomer parents were way too wrapped up in themselves to orchestrate any activities, thank goodness.
(4) There was no internet or video games or cell phones (if you wanted to talk to your friends, it was on a harvest yellow non-cordless phone in the kitchen).

Maybe I don't speak for everyone, but even if everything I said is false, you can't deny the incredible line up that was on TV night after night. I listed the 1980 lineup on a previous post, and it is striking.

And on an unrelated note...

I came across this ad for Fridays, a SNL rip off that was actually pretty good in its own right. It had a pre-Seinfeld Michael Richards and Larry David with fro!

Also featuring Mark Blankfield, who starred in possibly the most brazen endorsement or cocaine in the history of cinema - the disco flick Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde... Together Again. I first saw it on Night Flight (remember Night Flight?) and have never been quite able to shake the memory.

Note: The ads were swiped from the wonderful Branded in the 80s, which hasn't had a new post since Christmas and I'm going through withdrawals.

12 comments:

  1. I so get what you mean! TV watching was very different back then to what it is now. And even though the shows are cheesy, in today's light, they were great fun back then.

    Ah, the good ol' days...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Boy, you nailed it here!

    >Well, back then, it was a big deal because you basically had nothing else to do during prime time.
    (1) It was too dark to keep playing outside.
    (2) No one did homework back then. None. Zero.
    (3) Boomer parents were way too wrapped up in themselves to orchestrate any activities, thank goodness.
    (4) There was no internet or video games or cell phones (if you wanted to talk to your friends, it was on a harvest yellow non-cordless phone in the kitchen).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Gil. I totally understand where you're coming. While we didn't have the other things (like cable tv, cell phones, video games, the internet, etc.) back then to take time away from watching, it wasn't like we were hurting by having to watch tv. The shows of this era was so awesome. I still can't get over how cool these shows truly were. Much better than the crap of today.

    ReplyDelete
  4. So true. There just wasn't anything else to do back then, so we watched stuff like the "Sonny and Cher Show" or "Alias Smith and Jones."

    I remember watching "Fridays" though I didn't think it was that funny; it was probably over my head. I remember one skit where Melanie Chartoff had a parakeet named Johannes, and she was asking for viewers to send in marijuana seeds because that's all Johannes ate. Wow. TV was wild back then!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I gotta jump in with a correction there. We did have video games in the forms of Atari 2600 & Intellivision...or Pong if your parents didn't spring for the game systems :)

    Anyone else remember when phone numbers were only 5 digits?

    I think the show Las Vegas was a great throwback to 80s TV. It knew what it was and didn't really pretend otherwise. It was just fun TV.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks to everyone for the feedback.

    It seems like every time a new show comes along that DOES get it right (i.e. Arrested Development or Freaks and Geeks) they barely make it past one season. Perhaps we shouldn't blame the networks as much as we should the public who can't seem to get enough of this crap.

    Even though I've yet to watch them, I'm sure Lost, CSI:_____ (insert random city), Gossip Girl and House all have their merits. But take a good long look at the line up in 1980 - day after day of total greatess. There's no comparison.

    I stand corrected by Dex1138 - I played more than my share of Missile Command and Space Invaders in my day; so you're right on that one. Of course, now kids are making drug deals and killing prostitutes on Grand Theft Auto- it's a totally different beast and shouldn't even have the same name.

    ReplyDelete
  9. As a child of the late '70s/early '80s, I loved this post...thanks.

    Even better, the Fridays ad is from the infamous Andy Kaufman episode with the (real or staged?) on-screen fight.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love that Paul Williams is positioned next to Dracula in that Hardy Boys ad, he's spoooooooky!

    ReplyDelete
  11. AnonymousJuly 01, 2009

    That is exactly how it was for me as a teenage girl in the late 70's/early 80's.I usually rarely got our gold phone, my mom was on it. The only other activity was looking at my new tiger beat and 16 magazine.My teenage boys have texting, video games , and cable. I still think it was more fun growing up watching tv then !!

    ReplyDelete
  12. TV WAS filled with awesomeness back then !! ( Just about EVERYTHING was in the 1970's & 1980's !! ) Also , Bruce Mahler played the part of Axel , in Friday the 13th Part 4 !! He was Jason's first victim in the film !!

    ReplyDelete