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TV Then vs. TV Now (Classic Rerun)

18 Sep

September 18, 2013

Continuing our look at TV, here is a look back at some classic TV shows of the past.

from January 31, 2011

I don’t care what anyone says- TV used to be better. To prove it, all I have to do is say is say two little words- Jersey Shore. There ‘Nuff said. Want more proof? Real Housewives.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking- “But Mr. Blog! TV had crap like My Mother the Car, Manimal, and Supertrain! Not to mention Roseanne Barr.”

That’s all true, but none of them had the ratings of a crapfest like America’s Top Model, despite there being many, many less channels to choose from. Back them you had the stations between 2 and 13 plus some hazy UHF channels. Now your cable box goes into the thousands.

I have no excuse for Roseanne Barr.

I do, however, have proof that television used to be better.
Facts in the form of old TV Guide ads.

Aside from one of the milestones of classic TV- Who Shot J.R.?, this ad features one of the classic over the top shows, The Dukes of Hazzard. Why did I pick this particular ad? Because the Duke boys are using bows and arrows! In a show already totally silly, the Duke boys were not only expert drivers but also expert marksmen- with dynamite tied to their arrows! Does TV get any better than exploding arrows?

But not everyone liked the drama of Dallas or the shenanigans of the Dukes. for them there was family fare.

By “the whole bunch” they meant “everyone but Jan,” who was recast, and “no Alice either.”

And who better to kick off their show but such cheesy TV stalwarts Donnie and Marie? Everyone’s favorite fussy non-homosexual (though everyone thought he was) Tony Randall was along for the fun! Does it get any better?

It just got better.

So far we’ve had variety, action, drama, and jiggly women in tight t-shirts. What about the kids? Think of the children!

OK, I will.

Look at that lineup! Spider-Man! The Fantastic Four! The Beatles! King Kong! Casper! Bullwinkle!
And, uh, something called Milton the Monster.

Kids shows weren’t limited to Saturday mornings either. Remember these specials?

I ask you, where can you find Pac-Man on TV today?

Lest you forget, here is the most infamous TV special of all:

What a cast! All of your Star Wars favorites: Harrison ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, James Earl Jones, the guy who played Chewbacca, Bea Arthur, Harvey Korman, Art Carney, and Jefferson Starship. Because no one screams “Star Wars” like Bea Arthur and Jefferson Starship.

What else did TV air at night? TV movies!

Sally Struthers in Hey, I’m Alive! The jokes just write themselves, and it is a good thing because I can’t come up with one myself. But seriously, think about her career and make up your own.

And of course, the previously bloggged Wonder Woman!

There was Killdozer (great title!)

And there was Star Trek II:The Wrath of Khan. This is an example of a simply great ad in a style that you never see nowadays.

And speaking of great ads, check this one out.

Now that is one great ad. Tales of the Gold Monkey was an action/adventure show in the Indiana Jones mold. Seriously, look at that ad. Who wouldn’t watch that show? Turns out a lot of people wouldn’t watch that show. It was cancelled after one season. In the pilot, they went after the fabled Gold Monkey idol and it turned out to be made of lead, which I guess is a parallel to the show’s ratings. However, I was a fan and trust me, it was a good show.

And speaking of shows that feature monkeys:

And speaking of shows that feature other apes:

I may be one of the few people who remember this show. Spun off from Hill Street Blues, it featured Buntz and one of his snitches moving to Beverley Hills, which also happens to be Standard Sitcom Plot number 14 (Fish out of water: low-class guy in ritzy neighborhood.) And notice the sneaky way they stuck in an ad for Cheers.

I have to admit that I never heard of this show, but I was hooked by the description- “St. Louis struck out in the World Series.. now it’s struck by KING TUT’S CURSE!” That is the exact kind of silly plot that my friend Marc and I came up with all the time when we were teenagers. That could be OUR lousy cancelled TV show!

On the other hand, here we have the opposite- a good TV show with a lousy ad.

Were there no photos available? Who came up with this? Gary Coleman looks like he is lost in some sort of romantic reverie. And read that description- “… all of his friends and some of his enemies…” What enemies? All I remember was the Gootch, played by Andrew Dice Clay, looking about ten years too old to be a teenager.

Lastly, TV used to be the home of cheesy movies and horror hosts. Anyone who grew up in New York remembers this Thanksgiving tradition:

Who didn’t stay up late at night to watch some of these?

The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy is a poorly dubbed Mexican film from the 50’s and it is pretty much what you’d expect from the title, just a lot less fun. It shows up on cable from time to time and you really should check it out.

On the face of it this seems like a funny mistake- Movies of the ’50’s featuring Frankenstein 1970. but once you realize that Frankenstein 1970 was made in 1958 it makes sense.

Who would not have stayed home to watch that? Before you say “not me” remember, this was before TiVo and DVRs, before cable, before even VCRs were common. You bet your ass you’d stay home.

So there you have it. Indisputable proof that the television of yesterday was better than the television of today. Want more proof? Turn on BRAVO.

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18 Responses to “TV Then vs. TV Now (Classic Rerun)”

  1. zathra September 18, 2013 at 2:15 am #

    The Star Wars Christmas special, Sally Struthers’ slowly – but – steadily evaporating career….. You should’ve included Galactica 1980, The Original ” V ” ( Which was still 100,000 times better than that televisual yawn – fest they put out 2 years ( ? ) ago ), & ” Small Wonder “, which still has a cult following – in many countries of the The Third World.
    Too much territory to cover.
    There were still good times to be had, though.

    Like

    • bmj2k September 18, 2013 at 8:35 am #

      I have a soft spot for Galactica 1980 because of the flying motorcycles. I’d ride my bike and pretend it could fly. V was great, and even the TV series started out strong, but the budget sunk it so low that you saw the same stock footage every week and the freedom fighters were down to about 4 members.

      Small Wonder has a cult following in the Third World????????

      Like

      • zathra September 18, 2013 at 8:59 am #

        I dated a girl who LOVED original BSG & Galactica 1980. I think she liked V as well. Classic BSG was like a weekly fix for Star Wars fans, as opposed to the ” reimagined series “.

        I remember Small Wonder, because I worked as a security dispatcher at a sizable college in the mid – South & I’d catch it, & ” Out of this World ” on breaks. It seems to have a helluva following in India. I used to catch ” The Adventures of Superboy “, where the gang from Smallville went to college in Florida.

        Like

  2. T E Stazyk September 18, 2013 at 5:34 am #

    Makes me long for a Dr. Phibes marathon!

    Like

    • zathra September 18, 2013 at 6:46 am #

      I hope no one ever tries to do a remake of the Dr. Phibes movies ( because the remakes are usually vapid & superficial ). If they do, I’ll send them a box of scorpions or live cobras !
      I heard a recording of The Raven on Youtube a couple of nights ago. We need more talent like Vincent.

      Like

    • bmj2k September 18, 2013 at 8:36 am #

      No argument here!

      Like

      • zathra September 18, 2013 at 9:01 am #

        Time to clone Vincent Price. 🙂

        Like

        • T E Stazyk September 19, 2013 at 4:56 am #

          Concur–House on Haunted Hill, Dr. Phibes, Pit and the Pendulum, The Raven, etc., etc. My favourite line from Dr. Phibes: “You can’t kill me. I’m already dead.”

          Like

          • zathra September 19, 2013 at 6:39 am #

            Funny / strange that you should mention “House on Haunted Hill “. I’m something of a Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiast, & ” House on Haunted Hill ” was shot on location at this mansion that FLW had designed for a wealthy client ( whom else ? ), if what I remember is correct.
            & of course, it was one of Vincent Price’s greats. I think that the Batman villain, Mr. Freeze, may have been loosely modeled on Phibes.

            Like

            • T E Stazyk September 20, 2013 at 1:16 am #

              I didn’t know that about the Frank Lloyd Wright house–I just remember being surprised at the contrast between the interior and the exterior.

              With respect to Mr. Freeze, you could model a lot of villains on Phibes!

              Like

              • bmj2k September 20, 2013 at 8:05 am #

                On Price too!

                Like

                • zathra September 20, 2013 at 8:20 am #

                  I always thought that the character of The Master in classic Doctor Who could’ve been modeled on Vincent Price. Roger Delgado & Anthony Ainley resemble V.P. to a certain degree.

                  Like

                  • bmj2k September 20, 2013 at 11:36 am #

                    I’ll give you Delgado. He had the bearing and presence. But Ainley? Second rate scenery chewer. And the beard? Ugh.

                    Like

                    • zathra September 20, 2013 at 11:52 am #

                      They’re both better than Eric Roberts. He supposedly got the role just because he was a Whovian. Hard to believe a guy without a British accent as the Master.

                      Like

                • T E Stazyk September 20, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

                  You will probably enjoy this!:

                  Like

                  • bmj2k September 21, 2013 at 9:47 am #

                    Not only did I love that clip, but I recognized that music from the Eric Andre Show!

                    Like

                    • T E Stazyk September 22, 2013 at 12:38 am #

                      Glad you enjoyed–plus wasn’t part of it filmed in your neighbourhood?

                      Like

                    • bmj2k September 22, 2013 at 3:19 am #

                      Yup, there was footage of old Coney Island in there.
                      This is one of the very few things I’ve seen where Price is clean shaven, no mustache.

                      Like

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