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Prospector Luke Carpenter was frozen in suspended animation in the year 1900 while panning for gold in Alaska. He was successfully thawed and returned home perfectly preserved at 33 years of age and a dead ringer for his 33-year-old grandson Ken. Luke moves in with his 67-year-old son Edwin, and tries to adjust to normal life while keeping his exact identity a secret. Written by
Marty McKee <email@example.com>
One of the unsung gems of 1967! I'd love to see it again!
I remember the promos for this show, which I believe was on the ABC network, being shown in the summer of 1967. I couldn't wait to see it!
Some have commented on the poor scripts. I guess being a kid at the time, I wasn't very discerning when it came to script quality (but maybe my parents were, as they didn't particularly care for the show!). I can't really comment on the quality of the writing, but "It's About Time", and "The Second Hundred Years", were two big favourites from my childhood.
Whether it was a couple of astronauts going back to live among cave people, or this show's post-civil-war prairie man suddenly living in "swinging" 1967, I found the "fish out of water" concept very appealing, and I guess, still do. I'm obviously not alone in this, as it continues to be a popular theme.
Arthur O'Connell was great as the poor, exasperated guy who was always the "meat in the sandwich" between his young father and son. And Monte Markham was wonderful in his dual roles. He played "Luke" as a man possessed of folksy charm and naiveté, with a zest for life. Ken, on the other hand, was a stick-in-the-mud conservative, and Markham's contrast between the two characters was impressive.
Like "It's About Time", this show disappeared too soon for my liking. I would love to see it again! Too many modern shows get their laughs by using "put-down" humour. This show didn't need to do that. It put its main character in funny situations, instead. I still remember Luke's incredulous reaction to seeing a woman in a miniskirt - and his elderly son simply said, "That's 1967!". We laughed at that because the way they did it, it was funny. And we weren't jaded, then.
With the exception of seeing Don Rickels' routine on a variety show or fat jokes directed at Ralph Kramden, nasty insult-humour wasn't terribly common on TV back then. And when a put-down was used, it wasn't anywhere near in the same league as that which takes place on something like "The Drew Carey Show". I miss those days, when it didn't require being cruel and vicious to get a laugh.
There may not be enough general interest to release a boxed-set of this show on DVD, but it would be great if someone would release some sort of anthology of past TV shows for each year. I'd like to see a scenario where we could buy DVDs containing at least one episode of shows that were shown in prime time for every year - in this case, "Prime Time 1967", for example.
Then, we'd get to see our favourite long-lost shows again (like Michael Callan's "Occasional Wife"), even if only one episode! These shows have been long-buried, so I can't see license fees for them being horrendous.
ADDENDUM: I finally got to see the pilot for this show again on YouTube! Yay!
A couple of notes on it:
1) Luke just "woke up" after years of suspended animation, so to him, decades-ago is like yesterday... However, he didn't seem to grieve for (or even inquire about) his wife!
2) Luke can't seem to keep even the most menial jobs. He was hired to push a broom in a warehouse which stores bags of quick-setting cement. In an effort to keep the dust down, Luke sprays the bags with a hose - causing all the bags to set like (what else?) concrete. Offensive - for cryin' out loud, the ancient Romans knew that concrete is set with water. I'm sure a man in his 30s, even a travellin' prairie guy, would've known this, as concrete or mortar was used for lots of things, including wells in cities and private land. The writers made him look stupid.
I still think the actors were great, though!
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