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Mystery finally solved
This movie hounded me for YEARS. We saw this on a double-bill with PUFINSTUF, and all I could remember was it being a family-friendly western with a saloon gal as part of the plot. Thanks to the online Chicago Tribune archives I found the listing and solved the mystery. Someone had posted the movie to YouTube and this is definitely the movie I had remembered. Good performances by a veteran cast (the opening credits panning through a turn of the century catalog were pretty creative), this is an ideal movie you can enjoy with the family, hopefully Universal will finally make this available on DVD or BluRay.
Posse from Heaven (1975)
Wow... where do I begin???
Curiosity caused me to seek this one out; believe it or not, it's available on DVD from Code Red. I've seen many bad movies from the 70s, but this one is in a league all by itself. The source of this "curio" was an incomplete (unfinished? abandoned? whatever it was) western called APPLETIME, and it was shoehorned into an absolutely crazy vehicle starring burlesque performer Fanne Foxe. Apparently this was made to cash in on her notoriety after the infamous Tidal Basin incident with Wilbur Mills, then-chairman of the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives. The poster went so far as to having "She had the WAYS, he had the MEANS" as a tag line, but I digress. Anyway this was an attempt to create a "complete" movie by taking APPLETIME and incorporating a "guardian angel" plot. In this case the Angel Gabriel plays a french horn (?) and comes to Earth as former cavalryman Appletime's guardian angel (in the form of Appletime's wisecracking horse!). Fanne (credited as herself) is an apprentice angel, who provides a bit of slapstick, singing (!) and tries to impart her wisdom on Appletime, while she's not doing the bump and grind for "Deity" Rod Roddy (yes, THAT Rod Roddy from The Price is Right... you won't be able to unsee him in a red toga). "Heaven" in this case is a plain blue backdrop with an occasional billow of dry ice... they really spared no expense with this production! Add the lamest "special effects" imaginable and it's no wonder this turkey barely hit the theaters (according to some sources it closed almost immediately when it premiered in DC). Pick up the Code Red DVD and amaze your friends... hopefully you'll still be friends after watching!
Daddy's Girl (1973)
Thought this disappeared off the face of the earth!
After years of searching I can't believe I finally found something online regarding this show! If I remember correctly it aired on NBC one time only (New Years Eve, 1973/74) as part of an evening featuring various pilot episodes. Eddie Albert plays a widowed father of an 8 year old girl (Dawn Lyn, better known as Dodie from MY THREE SONS). He has help from his sister and also a housekeeper (called "Momsy" by the daughter). I was only nine years old when it aired, but I distinctly remember this was pretty risqué for 1973, with scenes including the daughter at the breakfast table asking "why can't I wear a bra?", and I also recall some neighbors or acquaintances who cause problems for the father when they leave a brochure for a nudist colony behind. Wouldn't mind seeing this one again!
Gonks Go Beat (1964)
Well, the opening credits were entertaining anyway!
This is a totally weird 60s rock-n-roll musical send-up of Romeo and Juliet centering on two squabbling islands: Beatland and Ballad Isle. Intergalactic ambassador Wilco Roger is summoned to resolve the differences between the communities, employing the tactic of uniting a Beatland boy and a Ballad Isle girl; if he is unsuccessful he faces exile to Planet Gonk (inhabited by some strange doll-like creatures that apparently were based on a popular toy of the time). Despite the presence of Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Graham Bond and Lulu, the music here is nothing special. The music by the Beatlanders is typical of mid 60s rock rave-ups (watch for the lead singer/guitarist for The Long and the Short doing his best "Enzyte Bob" impression during their number "Love is a Funny Thing"!) , while the music favored by Ballad Isle consists of some of the sappiest ballads imaginable (the best way I could describe them would be to imagine the late 50s light pop group The Fleetwoods on Prozac). We're also treated to musical sequences featuring a band playing instrumental rock while driving down a deserted airstrip and a nine drummer prison jam session (neither of which serve much purpose other than padding the movie's run time) and a wacky "battle" sequence between both factions with musical instruments used as weapons. All this leads to the Golden Guitar contest pitting both islands against each other (which usually ends in a draw). Lulu's song "I'm the Only One" is pleasant but not exactly memorable, and The Nashville Teens' "Poor Boy" comes nowhere close to matching their hit "Tobacco Road". The bargain basement budget is readily apparent in the cheap set designs and the minimal special effects (watch for Wilco Roger ducking into the cloud of smoke as he makes his first entrance). If there was anything resembling a highlight here it would be the opening credits sequence featuring the Gonks grooving among construction paper/contact paper animation (to the song "Choc Ice", sung by Lulu with her voice altered almost to the point where she starts sounding like Cartman); it's pretty much all downhill after that.
Fly Me (1973)
Your seat bottom cushion isn't the ONLY thing that can be used as a flotation device
This is a totally wacky 70s flick with "stewardesses battling kung-fu killers". The story follows the misadventures of three flight attendants as they travel to the far east. Toby (Pat Anderson) is a newbie going on her first overseas trip (her prior flight experience was the Des Moines-Omaha route... crop dusters have been known to travel greater distances!). She tries dating a doctor she met on the flight, however her overprotective mother (Naomi Stevens) tags along and runs interference every chance she gets. Andrea (Lenore Kasdorf, a lovely Jaclyn Smith prototype) searches Hong Kong, Tokyo and Manila for her boyfriend and is constantly tailed by kung-fu thugs. Sherry (Lyllah Torena) is kidnapped after a yacht party and held captive for a prostitution ring. Everything (bizarrely) comes together in a quick 71 minutes, with numerous fun moments sprinkled throughout. These include Toby going straight from the beach to the airport and stripping to change into her uniform in the back seat of a taxi, providing a pleasant "distraction" to the cab driver (GREAT way to start a flick, by the way!); Andrea fighting off several attackers, including a blind man firing a deadly poison dart from his cane; Toby's numerous attempts to sneak away with her love interest, and a hysterical sequence where Toby's mother goes to great lengths trying to get themselves booked onto a "charter flight tour", not realizing the company is really a front for the prostitution ring at the center of everything. One other note... some of the music might sound familiar to anyone who has seen THE STUDENT NURSES, PRIVATE DUTY NURSES or NIGHT CALL NURSES (three earlier New World Pictures releases). Totally goofy fun that any 70s exploitation/cheesy drive-in movie fan will enjoy.
Make a Wish (1971)
Making A Wish... for a DVD release!!!
Glad to see a lot of people remember this show! I remember it being on ABC on Sunday mornings at 10 or 10:30am (like a previous poster said, right after Bullwinkle). The way they explored words and phrases with free association definitely was imaginative and captivating, and the accompanying picture/image collages got a bit "out there" at times, but all in all it was a fun way to spend Sunday mornings. Tom Chapin was also a very likable host, and he was truly gifted with his ability to communicate with folks of all ages. The show is definitely the epitome of the 70s, and I concur with previous comments regarding the shaggy, bell-bottom feel of the program. And now here they are... the theme lyrics as I remember them: "Make a wish... Have a ball... Dream a dream... Be it all! If you want it, you can get it, But to get it, you've got to want it; Anything you want to try, just let go, fly high... and Make a Wish!"
The Van (1977)
"I want to take out ALL of you in my van, not just your nose!"
OK, our hero doesn't REALLY say that line in this movie, but if you haven't figured it out already, Stuart Getz is mostly known to millions as Charley in that legendary Brady Bunch episode where Marcia gets hit in the nose with the football (he was the dorky one with the wallpaper samples).
Anyway THAT'S where you've seen our "star" before... now on to the movie.
This was a big drive-in hit in the summer of 1977 and is a pretty good time capsule for that era. Guy hopes to impress chicks with tricked-out van, gets challenged to drag-race by rival. Lotsa partying and late-teen hijinks ensue. Feather-light script would probably take at least 24 hours to hit the floor if it were dropped from the ceiling, but it's still a fun (albeit hokey) remnant from the "drive-in swill" days of the '70s. The Rhino DVD is probably the best version (it's not heavily edited like other versions out there); the only drawbacks are it's full-frame, there are a few imperfections in the print and some of the color didn't age very well, but that doesn't really detract from overall enjoyment of the movie (if anything it enhances the "70s feeling"). Fans of "Joe Bob Briggs-type" movies will enjoy!
The Roommates (1973)
They sure don't make 'em like this anymore!
This super-obscure movie was recently shown at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, TX as part of its "Weird Wednesday" feature, and it was well worth doing a little traveling to catch it (if I remember correctly, the last time this movie played in theatres was as part of a double-bill with THE SWINGING CHEERLEADERS, so you KNOW it's been a long, long time!). I enjoy grindhouse/drive-in ("Joe Bob Briggs-type") movies from the '70s, and THE ROOMMATES certainly fits the bill. The movie starts off as a cheesecake romp with four lovely college coeds finishing the school year and getting ready for some fun in the sun during their summer break. They have the requisite wild party (described by some as an "orgy" but consisting mainly of binge drinking, heavy petting, a strip chess game and the aforementioned sit-up contest) then go off on their summer adventures (more or less separately, but all at or near Lake Arrowhead). Heather (Pat Woodell, the original Bobbie Jo Bradley from PETTICOAT JUNCTION) takes it easy at the family summer home along with her visiting younger cousin Paula (Christina Hart). They discover a young man camping out on the property and allow him to stay in a shed in exchange for chopping and gathering firewood. Carla (Marki Bey) works at a local library and catches the fancy of the deputy sheriff (not to mention some leering library patrons), Beth (Roberta Collins) works alongside a waterskiing instructor and pursues a relationship with a married man, and Brea (Laurie Rose) is a nurse at a summer camp and takes a somewhat sheltered teenage boy under her wing. As mentioned in other reviews, giving each girl her own separate story line was pretty much standard formula at the time for these movies, then once the summer adventures were well underway the film veers sharply and introduces a crazed killer who starts bumping off beautiful women at the lake. The individual stories continue as the summer goes on, leading to a frenzied climax at a country club gathering. Fans of '70s movies will love the wild clothes and hairstyles, and while the music is rather simplistic and minimal (reminiscent of background music from an early 70s diet cola commercial) it's still fun. Throw in some super-cheesy dialogue, a rather dysfunctional family who run a resort hotel, some biker thugs and several lecherous middle-aged men with a preference for jailbait and you've got one far-out, funky flick! THE ROOMMATES drew a pretty decent crowd at the Alamo Drafthouse (mainly college-age and mid-to-late 20s) and although the print was quite scratchy and the color didn't age well at all it got a pretty favorable response from everyone. It was great seeing everyone enjoying and really getting into a freewheeling movie from a bygone era, and they certainly don't make 'em like THE ROOMMATES anymore! Looking forward to the DVD release in 2009 from Dark Sky Films!
Light pop music plus Sci-fi equals one great guilty pleasure!
Like many Olivia Newton-John fans, I sought out TOOMORROW to catch an early film performance by Olivia (and also because I enjoy seeking out "lost movies"), and while the film is certainly lightweight and contrived I'll admit I enjoyed watching it. The concept here was to take a prefabricated rock group (sort of a British take on The Monkees), inject a sci-fi story line and tie everything together with a groovy pop music soundtrack (with the requisite soundtrack LP and singles). History has told the story: the "aliens desperately looking for new musical vibes" plot was way out there, the tunes were too lightweight and the resulting film opened and closed quickly then promptly disappeared. Despite all that TOOMORROW is still worth viewing for those fortunate enough to come across it. Olivia is absolutely charming here as a college student/band member, and while she later admitted in interviews that she literally resorted to shouting in order to project her voice it really doesn't detract from her performance or the film. Her interaction with her bandmates is lighthearted and carefree. The music is pretty much by-the-numbers pop bordering on bubblegum (perhaps Don Kirshner leaned a little too close to his musical creation The Archies here) and it's a bit of a stretch imagining an alien race finding just the thing they're looking for in these tunes. Hugo Montenegro's musical interludes are definitely dated but they're in context with the time and setting, and the special effects are also decent considering the age of the film. There's also an amusing bit of light farce when a female Alphoid named "Johnson" is summoned "to seduce Vic Cooper"; problem is, Johnson apparently wasn't informed as to which one was Vic Cooper and her crash course in the art of seduction came from viewing a couple of nudie flicks. I'll concur that while TOOMORROW isn't exactly top-rate, it's worthy entertainment (if approached with the mindset of a "midnight movie") and it certainly deserves to be rescued from obscurity. I'm not holding my breath, but if by some miracle "the powers that be" who are keeping TOOMORROW from being officially rereleased have a change of heart, I'd love to see a genuine DVD issue with some cool bonuses to do the film justice (especially if Anchor Bay is given that chance).
Early syndicated music show from Dolly
Not to be confused with her 1987 variety show on ABC; this was actually a half-hour syndicated music series starring Dolly Parton and featuring guest appearances by many pop and country artists of the day (1976-77). I remember watching this in Chicago on WFLD-TV (channel 32) weeknights at 10 or 10:30pm and had often wondered if any of the tapes from these episodes were still in existence. Fortunately for many of Dolly's fans, a DVD offering of six episodes will be available on February 27th. In addition to seeing Dolly perform several of her most memorable songs (including "I Will Always Love You), you'll also get long-unseen performances from Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Ronnie Milsap and Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. among others. I'm really looking forward to enjoying these performances again (and hopefully more DVDs yet to come)!
'It's Alive!' (1969)
Bizarre to say the least!
I don't think I'm too far off in my guess that the creators of this movie had seen 'MANOS' THE HANDS OF FATE and thought to themselves, "Hey, I could do better than that!" The very basic plot is similar (tourists take a wrong turn and are trapped in an isolated house where very strange things are happening), and other elements are almost lifted directly from 'MANOS' (the opening drive through meandering back roads and the quizzical "THE END?" at the film's conclusion immediately come to mind). However instead of Torgo (who watches the house while The Master is away), we have Mr. Greely, proprietor of a small roadside reptile zoo and caverns. His pride and joy is a prehistoric monster he apparently discovered (and befriended) in the caverns. He apparently becomes unhinged when a brand new main highway diverts tourists away from his roadside attraction. From there he kidnaps unsuspecting tourists and traps them in his cave, with the goal of ultimately feeding them to his prehistoric creature. Also on hand is a meek, subservient woman named Bella, a vacationing schoolteacher who fell into Greely's trap two years earlier (although in a flashback we see her driving the current year's model Chevy Impala... continuity alert!!!!!). She then succumbs to Greely by helping him lure tourists into his trap. The "prehistoric monster" is a sight to behold (green rubbery skin and ping-pong ball eyes), and mercifully its screen time is relatively brief. Although said monster is quite laughable, the movie does have its genuinely creepy moments, mainly coming from Greely terrorizing Bella shortly after her arrival; the extremely low budget feel of the movie actually provides a pretty good chill effect to Greely's deranged actions towards Bella. Aside from that though, this is one of those cheesy, corny and hokey flicks that is perfect for a late-night bad movie festival.
The New Treasure Hunt (1973)
"Congratulations! You just won an all-expenses-paid trip... right back to your seat!!!"
This mid-70s game show hosted by Geoff Edwards used to make me double over in laughter. The premise revolved around 30 huge, elaborately wrapped gift boxes scattered across the stage, with assorted prizes and several outrageous "clunks" (booby prizes) hidden within. One box would contain a check for $25,000, which was placed by "bonded security agent" Emil Autouri.
Each show gave two lucky contestants the chance to select a gift box and (hopefully) come away with either a nice prize or that $25,000 check. Each round would start with a section of the audience who had small gift boxes in their possession. Most of these were empty, except for three boxes with the numerals 1, 2 and 3. These lucky contestants would join Geoff on stage and select from three more boxes, one of which contained a "surprise" (either a jack-in-the-box pop up or a bouquet of flowers). This contestant would then have a pick from among the 30 huge gift boxes. Each box also came with an envelope, revealing a cash award that the contestant could keep if they decided not to keep the box. Naturally everyone opts to keep the box, and then the hilarity would ensue. Geoff Edwards would always take his customary "peek" into the box and give the contestant a look of astonishment before revealing the "prize". I'm not sure what the ratio was for "clunks" to "good prizes", but I'm thinking the clunks FAR outweighed the good prizes! Who could forget that goofy mumbled-boppy music that would play every time a clunk was revealed? Of course there was some trickery every now and then as well... one of my favorites started out with a contestant winning a "B-note", which then (after several "producers" would appear and say a "mistake" was made) became a "pea coat", which then became a "cream float", which then became a "she-goat" but ultimately turned out to be a SKI BOAT (four "clunks" that ultimately became a great prize... how about that?). I remember seeing several occasions where the contestant won the 25 grand, but most episodes would end with Geoff asking the "bonded security agent" if he in fact placed the grand prize check in one of the 30 boxes. He would always reply "YES I DID", which were the ONLY words we ever heard from him, despite Geoff's many efforts to make him talk, break out in laughter or even cry! I'm really hoping GSN is able to unearth this gem sometime soon!
Fun talk show destined for a short run
Danny Bonaduce joined the ranks of many who had their own talk show in the mid-1990s. This one was taped in Chicago (home of Oprah and Springer) and lasted for a mere few months in 1995 and 1996. I was fortunate to attend a Wednesday morning double taping (two shows, with a lunch break in between) and it was a good time. The set was quasi-futuristic (comparable to something you might see on the Jetsons) and the shows were pretty light-hearted for the most part (although the topic for the first show I attended was "Collection Agency Nightmares" and was quite somber and unnerving; the second and more fun show dealt with "people who are addicted to sex"). Granted, Danny Bonaduce may not have had the charisma of Oprah or many of his talk-show contemporaries, but he was an amiable host and he gave it his best shot. "Danny!" is probably best remembered for its debut, which featured a "Partridge Family Reunion". Most of the original cast attended (I don't think David Cassidy attended, and Susan Dey called in to the show from North Carolina, where she was on location shooting "Blue River"), but I remember Shirley Jones, Dave Madden, Jeremy Gelbwaks, Brian Forster, Suzanne Crough and even Ricky Segall were on hand; suffice it to say this was probably the closest thing we'll ever see to a Partridge Family reunion, so that alone adds to the historical value of this short-lived talk show.
The Apple (1980)
"Hey, hey, hey... BIM's on the way..." to DVD!
Who would have thought The Apple would ever see the light of day on DVD? I am THANKING MGM for giving this to us this August (on widescreen even!).
I've heard all the stories about how godawful this movie is, so I made sure I caught it when it ran recently on Showtime Beyond, and everything I've heard is true. What else is there to say about a movie that applies the Biblical story of Adam and Eve to the entertainment industry? All I can say is the producers weren't too far off by setting the story in 1994, what with the proliferation of American Idol and all of the "Britney" and "Boy-Band" crap we've had to endure these past several years. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Boogalow lives in the persona of Lew Perlman (you know, that fat, middle-age Florida mogul who foisted Justin Timberlake and all of his ilk on us), and this movie proves that I was right all along in my view of Perlman as the anti-Christ, but I digress...
Let's just say that to make a long story short, this movie can be best described as "Adam and Eve meets Solid Gold, Rocky Horror and Can't Stop the Music before veering into Godspell." I defy anyone to come up with a better capsule description!
Kukla, Fran and Ollie (1947)
A valuable part of TV history; fun for all ages!
I remember the Kuklapolitans when they were on PBS and when they hosted the CBS Childrens Theatre back in the 70s, and my aunts and uncles watched them frequently when they were growing up. This was clearly one of the best TV puppet theatres (although I also enjoyed Garfield Goose when I was a kid... anyone growing up in Chicago during the 60s and early 70s remembers this local favorite!), and Fran Allison was an absolutely charming hostess. I was fortunate enough to obtain a copy of a Christmas special they performed in 1979(!!!) called "'Tis the Season to be Ollie", where the Kuklapolitans try to come up with a new idea for a holiday show. Ollie's idea of making it a glitzy production, complete with sequined disco outfits, mirror ball and strobe lights, is priceless! For television history buffs, the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago has this available on a wonderful DVD-R, which also includes classic 1950s holiday cartoons "Hardrock, Coco and Joe" (a/k/a "The Three Little Dwarfs"), "Suzie Snowflake" and "Frosty the Snowman".
Run for the hills, "Mouse"!!!
***MILD SPOILERS*** OMG I remember the ABC Afterschool Specials! My all-time favorite was "PSSSSSST... HAMMERMAN'S AFTER YOU!!!" This one was classic... it starts out with a typical junior-high age boy returning home from school, crying to his mom that "Marv Hammerman's gonna kill me!" We then find out that as a joke, the boy wrote Marv Hammerman's name by one of the apes on an evolution poster in the school hallway. In a memorable scene, his friend (who refers to him as "Mouse") starts a "pass-it-on" whisper chain, with "Mouse" shouting "He is???" out loud! After doing everything possible to elude Marv Hammerman (and his nerd-with-a-big-mouth sidekick), "Mouse" eventually faces Marv and gets knocked around a bit. To Marv's credit, he says "I think you've had enough" and stops pummeling "Mouse" any further.
"Let the rain shower, let the rose flower..."
I had a bit of a crush on Donna Pescow when I first saw her in Saturday Night Fever, so when Angie premiered in the spring of 1979, I was ecstatic. She was even more gorgeous on this show, and this was a pretty decent sitcom. It also was in the Top 5 for its first few weeks, but unfortunately it only ran about a season and a half. The basic premise was Angie Falco, a waitress at a Philadelphia coffee shop, falls in love with Brad, a pediatrician and one of her regular customers. It's basically a "working-class Cinderella meets her knight in shining armor" story, and they elope when the two families cannot agree on the upcoming wedding details. The show actually changed quite a bit during its short run. After the wedding, Angie still works as a waitress and moves into Brad's lavish mansion, complete with butler. Shortly thereafter, Brad surprises Angie by purchasing the coffee shop and Angie becomes the manager. Not long after that, Angie puts the mansion on the market and they move to a smaller, cozier, but still opulent home (with Brad's office located downstairs). No sooner are they settled in, then Angie sells the coffee shop and purchases a beauty salon, which she manages and where her mother (Doris Roberts, in a role where she truly shines) works after giving up her newsstand job. There was plenty of good acting and well-written comedy here, but the constant changes in a relatively short series life apparently made the regular viewer dizzy (and the "every once in a while" viewer wonder what the hell happened if they missed a couple episodes!). Despite all that I still enjoyed this show and would love to see it make a comeback on TV Land someday, or perhaps be issued as a DVD set.
It's the kick-kick-kickiest!
If you thought H.R. Pufinstuf was tripped out, Lidsville really upped the ante big time! Teen-ager Mark (Butch Patrick, a/k/a Eddie Munster) is captivated by a magic show at an amusement park and decides to stay behind after the show to see if he can discover any of the magician's secrets. He touches the top hat, which grows to an enormous size, then climbs up top to have a look and falls into the hat, spiraling into the trippy land known as Lidsville. This parallel universe is inhabited by life-size versions of almost every type of headgear imaginable, plus a benevolent Weenie the Genie and the deliciously evil Hoo-Doo the magician. Episodes revolve around Hoo-Doo's efforts to retrieve a magic ring in Mark's possession and Mark's efforts to return home to the real world. As an 8-year-old child, this was fun, colorful and visually stimulating, but in retrospect how can you NOT think psychedelics played a major role in bringing this show to life? As a side note, I remember Lidsville was the feature attraction of the 1973 Ice Capades, and seeing all those hats on skates, gliding on the ice at the Chicago Stadium is indelibly etched into my memory 30 years later!!!
Only the Lonely (1991)
Candy shines in a more subtle comedic role
John Candy turns in a wonderful performance as Chicago police officer Danny Muldoon, in his late-30s and still living with his mother. He tries to pursue a relationship with a young girl working as a makeup artist in a funeral home, but his Irish mother won't seem to let go. Quite a charming story, with a few jolts coming from Danny's imagined fears of his mother being harmed when he's not there for her. The way Chicago is represented is hit-or-miss, possibly due to licensing issues for some of the more well-known Chicago images (most notably, the Chicago policeman's uniform and the design of the Chicago squad car), but those flaws notwithstanding the movie still has a Chicago feel to it. There actually are still a few remaining store-front funeral homes in Chicago, and of course the plentiful Irish pubs are captured perfectly. Probably the unheralded star of the movie is old Comiskey Park, which for 80 years was the home of the Chicago White Sox. The filming took place after the final baseball game was played there in 1990 (and a few months before its fateful date with the wrecking ball), and the first-date picnic on the playing field was a wonderful and touching sendoff for the old park. After going to many White Sox games there since age 5, it sure was nice to see the fireworks from the scoreboard one last time!
Interesting installment of a long-forgotten daytime feature
Julie Kavner was becoming a star as Rhoda's kid-sister Brenda when she appeared in this teleplay. I don't remember too much about this, but it was part of a mid-70s daytime series on ABC called the ABC Afternoon Playbreak (which would air maybe once a month or so in place of one of ABC's soaps). From what I remember, Julie's character is addicted to a gameshow called "Lucky 13". She appears on the show and as fate would have it, she becomes a longtime undefeated champion. One thing I clearly remember about this show is that they used the classic "Hollywood Squares" music as the music for "Lucky 13" (remember that hooky brass riff? Of course you do!). I think her winning streak ends when her love interest faces her as a competitor.
Wow! I'm not the only one who remembered this!
Ahh yes, Bonkers! I'm being instantly transported back to the late 70s... it's Saturday night, I've already watched SNL and SC-TV, and here are Bill, Mark and Brett, the Hudson Brothers in all their insane glory! This was one whacked variety show! Let's see... the show usually opened with the "burning house" sketch, featuring the Bros, host Bob Monkhouse and "Miss Bonkers" (the ditzy blonde with the booming male voice), who announced "And now our guest star, in the order of his/her appearance..." The guest star introduced themselves and always seemed to say that they would rather be elsewhere than on the show. A few of the guests I remember include Juliet Prowse, Georgia Engel and Connie Stevens. There would be a comical musical number (with some slapstick improv by the Hudsons going on in the background), then the dressing room sketch with non-stop one-liners (with accompanying rimshots from the old man on the snare drum), which would always end in a "storm" of some sort. One of the Hudsons would warn Bob about an impending storm (popcorn, for example) hitting the dressing room and then he would get dumped on after they exited. Other regular features included the soap-opera "Bonker Hill" (where Bill-Boy, Mark-Boy, Oh-Boy and their man-hungry sister Any-Boy lived in a sloping mountain cabin), a goofy "silent-movie" sketch (with the Hudsons doing slapstick accompanied by 70s clavinet music, a-la the instrumental break in the Andy Kim hit "Rock Me Gently"), and a sketch where the guest star would sing a song with the Hudsons in drag doing backup vocals. The show would close out with the Hudson Brothers "in concert" (performing one of their typical 70s rock numbers). This was one of the goofiest half-hours to ever appear on television, and it was a blast! Let's have a DVD set!
Junior High School (1978)
"We're gonna have a par-ty, this Friday ni-yight..."
I first caught wind of this movie when it was featured on VH-1's "Before They Were Rock Stars". The film featured a teen-aged Paula Abdul, and they showcased a clip from her big musical number. It looked like one of those "it's so astonishingly bad I've just gotta see it" movies, and after a few unsuccessful tries on eBay (VHS copies don't appear that frequently and usually command pretty high bids when they do), I was lucky enough to snare a copy. This is actually a "featurette", clocking in at just under 40 minutes. JHS is reminiscent of an ABC Afterschool Special, although I couldn't believe some of the things these Van Nuys junior high students were able to get away with. For example, the musical number "The Itty Bitty Titty Committee" (?????), featuring three late-blooming preteens, and also some rather clever wordplay with the teachers' names (yes, the girls' gym teacher's name is Mrs. Van Dyke, with Van on the left side of her blouse and, well you get the idea). The plot revolves around Jerry (a Tony DeFranco look-alike) and a crush he has on pretty blonde classmate Lori. Sherri (Paula Abdul) is having the party that she sings about in the aforementioned musical number, and shy Jerry would do anything for Lori to be his date. Of course he also has several obstacles to overcome, including mega-nerd Keith, bad-girl Vicki and the two jocks who are constantly vying for Lori's attention. As the school day progresses (and after several cheesy musical numbers), Jerry finally works up the courage to ask Lori to accompany him to the party. Will Lori accept his invitation? Will Vicki ask Jerry to the party first, only so she can dump him after they arrive? Will Lori opt to go to the party with both of the jocks? Will the nerd get what's coming to him? If you enjoy really really REALLY bad movies, this will definitely fit the bill. 100% pure Velveeta, but that's what we love about it anyway!
New Zoo Revue (1972)
Wowee! It's Back, and on DVD, even!
Ah yes, who could forget Freddie the Frog, Charlie the Owl and Henrietta Hippo teaching wholesome values to us kids growing up in the 70s, with the help of their hippy-dippy human counterparts Doug and Emmy Jo! I actually saw an episode broadcast sometime over the Christmas holidays on a low-power Indiana tv station (picked up by AT&T Broadband cable for the Chicago area): it was the episode where Freddie broke Henrietta's window with a baseball and ate her special diet cookie (gasp!). They had a trial and everything! And let's not forget the musical numbers; Emmy Jo's singing voice was tinnier than I had remembered, but the 70s wardrobe (complete with go-go boots!) made up for that. Believe it or not, there are actually 3 or 4 DVDs now available of New Zoo Revue episodes; and if that isn't enough, do a search on eBay and you just might find (among other things), record albums, figurines and ViewMaster reels! Now all I'm waiting for is a NZR reference to pop up on "That 70's Show" (and if it does, I want credit for giving you guys that idea!!!)
The Electric Company (1971)
Faster than a rolling O... Stronger than silent E...
... able to leap Capital T in a single bound... it's a word... it's a plan... it's LetterMan (with Joan Rivers doing the narration!)
OMG does this bring back memories! Unfortunately I don't have Noggin on my basic cable, but they did a preview a few years back with about two hours' worth of EC highlights, and I made sure I taped that puppy!
Along with Sesame Street, Zoom and all the others (remember Carrascolendas? Now there's a blast from the past for some of you!), these shows made learning fun. The Electric Company especially brought phonics to life with all of the songs and skits. And just look at that talent roster: Morgan Freeman, Bill Cosby, Rita Moreno, Irene Cara, not to mention all the memorable characters they created!
Favorite song? Hmmmm... how about "See Sam, See Sam sit, See Sam sit in the sun, See Sam sit in the sun sipping soda". Or maybe "If I had an ING, I'd go on a flING..." I also liked their skit on WAS and IS, with everyone dumping garbage and whipped cream on the WAS (with Rita Moreno's little girl character commenting, "That WAS a very nice WAS!")
Okay, I'm probably scaring a lot of you right now, so I'll stop here and go visit Romper Room and the New Zoo Revue!
Wonderful teleplay based on the beloved Carol Burnett Show sketch
This was an excellent teleplay based on the long-running sketch from the Carol Burnett Show. It comprises of four acts representing the various trials and tribulations of Eunice and her family over a 25-year period. The first act (1953) presents Eunice and Ed during their somewhat stormy courtship. Act 2 takes place 10 years later, with Eunice and Ed married and arriving at Mama's house for a rather interesting and somewhat heated Sunday dinner. Act 3 finds Eunice divorced ten years later, living with Mama once again, and finally Act 4 finds Eunice coping with Mama's death five years later. Viewers have come to love these characters over the years, and the actors do not disappoint at all. Some of the one-liners actually appeared in the sketches during the Carol Burnett Show at one time or other (including the hilarious bit where Mama reveals that her late husband actually "died in the bathroom"), but instead of coming off as recycled bits, they fit together nicely and really blast off as Eunice's story unfolds. Definitely a classy production by one of the best comedy ensembles in television history. I don't think this ever aired after its appearance as a 1981 or 1982 CBS special, but here's hoping Eunice will be enjoyed again soon, perhaps as a special-issue DVD.