Like my motto says, I watched far too much damned TV, as a child. The kind of television that was horrible but fun and cheesy, with some truly awful special effects. They had seriously flaky plots that weren’t worth remembering, and you couldn’t pay me to watch most of them now, accept as a joke.
But hey, I loved them when I was a kid, and there’s still a little part of me that was excited to recall these shows, while doing this post. Some of you are going to be excited to see some of these childhood friends, too. Those of you who are too young to remember these shows, please forgive us the sin of having watched them. Sometimes, this was all the SciFi we could get.
As you go through the list you will perhaps begin to notice a trend. Even as a very young girl, I had a high appreciation for luxurious hair, and eye candy. Apparently, I still do, given my immediate attraction to Sam Winchester. The 70s and 80s was a time of truly gorgeous men’s bouffants.
So, lets go back! Waaay back! To those Saturday afternoons, when your Mama hadn’t kicked you out of the house, yet. To those Friday evenings, when you were to young to date, so had an excuse for watching this stuff. To your mama, hollering at you to turn that junk off and go to bed…
I remember watching this on Saturday evenings, with my Mom in the background doing Mom-stuff. I was fascinated by Lucan’s eyes, and his luxuriant hair. It was about a young boy, who had been found in the wilderness by wolves and raised there. He was rescued by some type of researcher, I think. Since he acted very wolf like, at seven years old, I thought he was something like a werewolf. I do have a distinct memory of my Mother talking to me about feral children, and how this show was loosely based on a true story. I didn’t really believe her until I researched it myself, and found that the truth was much more tragic than anything that ever happened on the show. Feral children don’t often learn to speak or look nearly as handsome. They generally don’t live long either.
Isis/Wonder Woman Power Hour (1975)
What young girl doesn’t remember twirling around in the living room, like a deranged lunatic, trying to become Wonder Woman? I suppose if you spun fast enough, you could get dizzy, fall down, bump your head on the coffee table and dream you were WW or just Lynda Carter.
Isis was much easier. All you had to do was grab whatever piece of jewelry you were wearing, yell the magic words,” Oh, Mighty Isis!” , then stand there and wait to be blinded for thirty minutes, by a glaring light popping in your face. Oh, and Isis didn’t need no invisible jet. She just jumped into the air whenever she felt like it, I think. In fact, I’m not entirely sure she had any powers beyond talking to birds and flying. She did have a neat costume and for a morning children’s show, it was kind of intelligent. I do remember feeling smarter while watching it, and I did go on to study Egyptian history on the basis of the stuff shown in it.
The Incredible Hulk (1978)
The show was typical of the time period. David Banner ran around the country, sticking his nose into other people’s problems and getting beat up a lot, or sometimes just becoming mildly annoyed by something, which would call for the Hulk to show up, break a few things, throw people around and sometimes take a nice run through downtown NY. This show did the inadvertent job of teaching me, that becoming a rage monster at the slightest provocation, really wasn’t worth the effort. And, unlike Banner, you had to clean up the mess you made, afterward.
I liked Bill Bixby. Once again, you have yet another show, about a guy, in giant bell bottom jeans, turning into something and being chased by nefarious forces. In the series, the forces took the form of an obnoxious reporter, who wanted to expose Banner and thereby become famous. I noticed that in the 70s, television hated print journalists. They almost alway depicted them as grasping, greedy assholes, who would sell out their own Mama, for a good story.
I’ve been watching the reruns of this show on cable and mostly all I’ve taken away from it is that fashions of the 70’s were truly awful and David Banner couldn’t fight off a small poodle. Probably becasue he was one of those new age, emo men, of the 70’s, who only listened to Crosby, Stills, and Nash songs. I don’t have anything against the singing trio, but they didn’t sing the anthems of tough guys.
The show was also notable for its beautiful title theme song, The Lonely Man. Exactly the kind of song that best fit Banner.
Space 1999 (1975)
I used to wait in anticipation for this show to air on Saturday afternoons. Next to Lost in Space it had one of the funkiest title theme songs, ever. I still jam to it on my player, now. At first, I would only watch the opening credits for the song, and then, turn to something more interesting like Soul Train. But after a while I starting actually watching and liking the show. The show and its characters moved and talked at a snail’s pace, which was very relaxing to a hyper six year old, on a Saturday afternoon and I knew Barbara Bane and Martin Landau from Mission Impossible.
This show had another bird-like shapeshifter, named Maya, who I thought was deeply cool because hey! bird powers! She was a total rip off of Spock, but I didn’t care. For some reason, that whole bird-thing happened a lot, in the 80s because Buck Rogers had something like her, too.
Oh, and my Mom, encouraging my madness, bought me this toy:
Yep! My Mom is totally awesome!
The science of the show made no sense. The acting was wooden and the title character had all the emotive flexibility of a lobotomy patient, so none of these reasons were why we watched the show. We watched this show, for the car. The cars, and other transport vehicles were the schnit! I remember the other kids in my class wanting one just like it. It rivalled the K.I.T.T., and Dukes of Hazzard cars, in sheer popularity. Even my Mom remembers the Automan car.
Played by Simon MacCorkindale, Manimal could only turn into five different animals. There was a gorgeous black panther, various snakes, a bird and I believe at one point, a ferret, but I’m not too sure about that. That could have just been high, after dinner, sugar levels. Basically the only animals the production company could afford, really.
I was seriously girl-crushing on Simon. For some reason, watching men transform into different things that weren’t men, was just something I was into back then and television indulged this fascination by having a buttload of shows based on the theme. I’m not sure I’m entirely out of that phase, as I still get a kick out of such things. But I wasn’t completely pie-eyed. I did know enough to ask the hard questions like: What happened to Manimal’s clothes when he changed? How did he find his clothes again when he came back? Why didn’t the panther, like Simon, have a head of luxurious brown hair? Hell, for that matter, why didn’t the snake? The bird got a pass. The show was pretty formulaic and cheap, although there was at least one change per episode. The plots were instantly forgettable, as was most of the dialogue. Once again, as required by law, there was a Black male sidekick.
The primary actor, John Erik Hexum, died from the same kind of accident that killed Brandon Lee, a stray bullet from a prop gun. I remember crushing on him too. He was a gorgeous young man, sort of like the Chris Evans of the early 80s, even though his hair was not as flagrantly lovely as that young boy he hung out with. (Yes, that’s a boy.) I think a lot of people loved him, as many TV celebrities were openly upset about his death.
In the show, he was a time traveler, who used something that looked like the device from the movie Cronos, to travel through time. Him, and some kid he’d kidnapped or stole or something, would flit about from time period to time period, making sure history played out in the correct fashion. It’s a testament to how distracting his looks were that nobody who was watching this show, learned anything about history or remembers who the kid was.
The Powers of Matthew Star (1982)
Every White man in the 70s had gorgeous, Farah Fawcett hair and Peter Barton had the best hair of them all. I mean the guy’s bouffant was simply awesome. I remember my Mom liked this show because Louis Gossett Jr. was in it and I think she was crushing on him because she used to always mention his shiny bald head. (Yeah, what a weirdo.) Peter Barton plays an alien who is hidden, or exiled, or something, on Earth and since he’s young and pretty, he is required to enroll in High School, where Louis is his guardian, of some kind. Peter’s character had super mental powers that didn’t require him to emote too much, so as not to get wrinkles on his face. Can we remember any of the plots of these shows.
But hey, watching cute guys was something to do on a weekday evening, when you’re twelve. Helll, I can do this now at Forty+.
Man From Atlantis (1977)
I mostly watched this one because my Mom liked Patrick Duffy, who was really hot, and I was fascinated by his swimming techniques. It was my understanding, at aged 7 or so, that it was really difficult to swim without a lot of arm waving, so why bother to have webbed fingers, if he’s not going to use them. It also didn’t hurt that Duffy looked really good in a pair of Speedos. The plot..what plot? We don’t need no stinking plot. All we need is for Duffy to cock his head and stare vacantly at things, and swim somewhere real fast, at least once per episode.
Mork and Mindy (1982)
I was there for the pilot of this show. It was a ridiculous premise. An alien comes to Earth to study human behavior and customs and decides to hang out with this single, White girl in Colorado. However, as a vehicle for Robin Williams, it was spectacular. I loved this character so much. It fit my twelve year old looney tunes humor and Robin was very handsome and more than a little insane. It was his first television vehicle and he owned it. I think that was the time I fell in love with him and I never stopped.
This is also somewhere around the time I realized I truly was a nerd. I had a pair of Mork’s suspenders (as shown) that I found at a garage sale, and wore to school often. Amazingly, I never got picked on about those suspenders. I suspect it was because most of the Black kids in my neighborhood already really liked the show, just didn’t notice I had them, or where they came from, and the ones who didn’t were entirely ignorant of the show’s existence.
The premise of the show was pretty self evident. It’s all there in the title, really.
Let’s go over this again, okay? Handsome guy, changing into something at least once per show, being chased by somebody, or something, while wearing a luxurious head of hair, sometimes all over his whole body.
This was another show I watched with my Mom. I think it was because Chuck Connors was in it and he was her version of John Wayne. A real tough guy. I watched it because …werewolves! And I was fascinated by the fact that none of the werewolves had genitals of any kind. I also think this show was meant to cash in on the popularity of The Howling.
The Others (2000)
Brisco County Jr.
Now And Again (1999) Eric close /Dennis Haysbert
Reaper (2007) Ray Wise
Anamaniacs /Earthworm Jim/Galaxy Rangers
Seaquest DSV (1993) Jonathan Brandis (deceased) and Roy Scheider
Good Vs Evil (1999) Richard Brooks
The Invisible Man (2000) Vincent Ventresca
Haunted (2002) Matthew Fox
I know I missed a lot of shows. Some of them I had to leave out but that doesn’t mean I didn’t watch them or love them. Let me know what you watched in the comments. Your age range had to have been between five and fifteen, when you watched it, though.