The Loner

What made me want to watch a western television show that only aired one season from 1965-1966? Rod Serling…that is the reason and a good enough reason for me.

Do You Remember... "The Loner"

This is the show that he started a year after the Twilight Zone. The show didn’t make it past one season. That is not because of the content. It was an adult western…Serling hated some of the westerns at the time and wanted to make this one more realistic. While he didn’t bring in the Twilight Zone scifi take he did bring his own way of conveying mortality tales.

That didn’t fly with some viewers who only wanted the shoot’em up cowboy tales.

Lloyd Bridges starred in this show about a man named Bill Colton who roamed the west a month after the Civil War ended. Along the way we would meet new characters every week. I watch this show and think…why didn’t it catch on? Was it too smart for some viewers? You did have action but the shows were character and story based.  Another reason it didn’t last is the Western theme at that time had been mined  and mined bare but Serling’s western wasn’t like many of the others.

This series I have to recommend to anyone. There are only 26 episodes all 25  minute each so it’s not a huge investment of time. Serling wrote 75 percent of the scripts so you know the dialog and stories are good. Lloyd Bridges is excellent in the staring role.

If you are looking for an intelligent western with good stories, dialog, and action when needed…get The Loner.

You can watch many if not all on youtube. They were released in 2016 on DVD.

Frosty The Snowman

“Frosty the Snowman,” debuted in 1969. It was by Rankin/Bass Productions, the same company that produced many holiday specials. Most of us had favorite Christmas specials we would watch. Mine was Rudolph, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Grinch, and this one…Frosty The Snowman.

Narrated by the legend Jimmy Durante, the special involves a magic hat that transforms a snowman, Frosty, into a living being. The magician who owned the hat wants it back now that he knows it contained actual magic, so the kids had to get together and find a way to bring Frosty to the North Pole to keep him from melting. However, once there, Frosty sacrifices himself to warm up the little girl, Karen, who took him to the North Pole. He melts, but Santa Claus explains that Frosty is made out of special Christmas snow and thus can never truly melt. Frosty then comes back to life and everyone has a Merry Christmas.

The song was written in 1950 by Walter “Jack” Rollins and Steve Nelson. They wrote it for Gene Autry, especially, after Autry had such a huge hit with “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” the previous year. It was later recorded by Jimmy Durante as we hear in this wonderful cartoon.

This wasn’t the only animation of Frosty…

In 1954, United Productions of America (UPA) brought Frosty to life in a short cartoon that is little more than an animated music video for a jazzy version of the song. It introduced the characters mentioned in the lyrics visually, from Frosty himself to the traffic cop. The three-minute, black-and-white piece quickly became a holiday tradition in various markets, particularly in Chicago, where it’s been broadcast annually on WGN since 1955.

The Paul Lynde Halloween Special

 I love watching this from time to time. Yes, it’s bad…really bad but it’s so bad it’s good. All the celebrities who are in different phases of their careers, cross paths in this epic of a show. First, let’s go through all of the stars. It’s probably remembered most for KISS’s first television appearance. 

Paul Lynde of course,

Billie Hayes (Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf)

Margaret Hamilton (The witch from Wizard of Oz)

Tim Conway (No seventies variety show was right without Tim Conway)

Florence Henderson (Brady Bunch mom)

KISS (their first TV show appearance)

Billy Barty (was in many films)

Betty White (and still going)

Roz Kelly (Pinky Tuscadero from Happy Days)

Donny and Marie Osmond! (just to top it off)

The plot… which really doesn’t matter.

I always thought Paul Lynde was wickedly funny. In this, he was watered-down and could not be his Hollywood Squares best. He had a quick campy wit at times and the writers probably toned it down for prime time. I first noticed Lynde on Bewitched as Uncle Arthur and he was great in that role. It was his delivery that made everything work in his comedy.

This special has comedy bits and music…oh yes the music. You have KISS, you have the disco and you have Florence Henderson singing “That Old Black Magic…” Most of the comedy bits fail but the real comedy is how bad it is… The only thing missing from this extravaganza was a guest appearance from Harvey Korman and/or Don Knotts.

The main reason many people have watched it since it aired is it was KISS’s first TV show appearance…not including concert material.

It is a train wreck but one I like watching over and over again. At no other time could a show like this have been aired. It only aired once…for good reason.

What other show does Paul Lynde play a trucker who wants to marry Pinky Tuscadero?

The complete show is second one down.

If you have time…here is the complete show

 

 

 

The Peanuts

The Peanuts lived in a world where adults didn’t matter as much. The world was for kids only and anytime an adult came around and talked… all you heard was a wah, wah, wah wah… no words. All the kids owned their day to day activities. The Peanuts didn’t talk down to us…no they talked to us. They were also clever enough for adults to like.

Nobody ever wins every time in this life. Everyone loses sometimes…therefore everyone is Charlie Brown to an extent. Every person has failed at a big moments or at small moments. We felt for Charlie Brown because we felt for ourselves.

When my son was born…I thought oh great…Now I’m a grown up and I’m a wah, wah, wah, wah adult…My son will live his life and sometimes I will be just noise in the background.

Growing up, there was no other cartoon I looked forward to more than the Peanuts. Every holiday and any time one of the networks decided to show one… I was there. I would also read the occasional Sunday paper to see the Peanuts strip.

Everything from Linus telling us the true meaning of Christmas, Sally and Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin, Lucy pulling that football from Charlie Brown, Snoopy being cool and taking care of Woodstock, Lucy being a Psychiatrist and Charlie Brown getting that sad looking Christmas tree…we got to peek into that world and listen to the wisdom that was going on while propped up on that brick wall.

Charlie Brown and Linus wall

Charlie Brown, one day when you grow up… I hope you end up with the little red head girl that you like so much and win just for once…for all of us.

Little Red-Haired Girl | Charlie brown characters, Charlie brown and  snoopy, Charlie brown cartoon

Duel 1971

Duel was a TV movie that came out in 1971. It’s a great suspense movie that will keep you entertained.

It was Steven Spielberg’s first full-length movie. It came out as a TV movie in the US but after some scenes were added it was released in theaters in Europe and Australia. It starred Dennis Weaver. This is a very good first movie by Spielberg. It had some grit to it that some of his movies lack…probably because of it’s low budget.

Duel was much better than your regular TV movie. Dennis Weaver was superb in it. Another star was the Truck itself. It had its own personality. This is one of the best TV movies ever made.

Steven Spielberg told Dennis Weaver at one time that he watches this movie at least twice a year to see what he did as far as techniques.

The story is simple but effective. It still works today.

It’s about a man who is driving to a business meeting and part of his journey is through the desert. He starts being followed by an ugly as hell diesel Peterbilt truck. The truck starts passing Weaver and then starts bumping him later on. The suspense in this movie is great. You cannot see the truck driver but he has plates from all over the US that makes you think he picks random people out and starts harassing them.

It reminds you of a Hitchcock film. The suspense builds and builds and you feel Dennis Weaver’s fear.

Weaver is run off the road by the truck and he sees a diner.

He stops at a diner and phones his wife about a fight they had the night before… He gets off the phone and thinks he finds the truck driver that’s been targeting him for miles inside the cafe…

If you like suspense movies the movie is worth a watch.

Remembering Freddie Prinze

Growing up I watched Chico and the Man and I still do occasionally. I remember that Freddie Prinze was a huge star. He was a hit with kids and adults a like. 

Freddie became a star practically overnight and burned brightly…but unfortunately, it was only for a brief amount of time. I was just 10 when he died and it seemed unreal a talented twenty-two year old tv star/comedian would kill himself. 

He was a comedian whose real name was Frederick Karl Pruetzel. He was born in 1954 in New York. His mother was of Puerto Rican descent and his father was of Hungarian roots…two things he used in his comedy.

He worked in clubs in the early seventies and then he got his break. He appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on December 6, 1973, and Johnny called him over to his couch to talk to him. That was a dream to performers then. Being called to the couch meant Johnny liked you and could make your career. Remember no internet or other exposure to this big of an audience. He became a star overnight. Freddie was 19 years old.

Within a few months, he was starring with Jack Albertson on the hit show Chico and the Man.

The show had a supporting cast of Scatman Crothers and Della Reese. It had a cool factor with teenagers at the time because of Freddie. Chico and the Man was not the greatest sitcom ever but a good one that captured a talented young comedian on his way up.

Freddie came out with a 70’s catchphrase “Looking Good” with a comedy album of the same name. He appeared in one TV movie called The Million Dollar Rip-Off and an HBO On Location: Freddie Prinze and Friends.

He suffered from depression and he had a dependency on drugs that kept growing like his fame.

Through all of this, he got married and had a son…the actor Freddie Prinze Jr… His wife started to move toward a divorce and a despondent Prinze shot himself in a hotel room and died the next day on January 29, 1977, only 3 years after his introduction to the world by Johnny Carson.

People don’t remember how big Freddie was then. He was so young and vibrant when he made it…he was just 22 years old when he died.

All In The Family / Archie Bunker

A couple of years ago I was at Pam’s (All Things Thriller) site and read her character profiles on The Soprano’s characters…I liked it so much that when I thought about covering All In The Family…I asked Pam if she would consider covering Archie, Edith, Gloria, and Mike in the same way.

She not only agreed, but she has given me permission to post her writing on my site.

All In The Family changed the landscape of television and pop culture in the 70s.  Some have said All In The Family was essentially a mirror held up to America at the time. It ran from 1971 – 1979 on CBS. The show was based on Til Death Us Do Part, a British sitcom about a conservative father and his liberal son-in-law. All In The Family may have been the most important television show in the 20th century.

The series spent five consecutive years at number one in the Nielsen ratings.

We will do these in installments on a Saturday. Today will be featuring Archie Bunker. The next will be following in the coming weeks. Hope you enjoy.

Flourish Line Border - Free vector graphic on PixabayAll Things Thriller

Remember Archie Bunker? If you’re around my age–mid forties to mid fifties–or older you do. And if you didn’t know him personally, you knew someone like him.

Your uncle…Your grandfather…The neighbor across the street.

The country was full of men like him back in the day.

Archie was a grumpy old man, except he really wasn’t that old. He was a middle aged guy stuck in a time warp of sameness…prematurely gray, paunchy, always in work pants, he looked the same when he was fifty as he did when he was thirty and vice versa

He enjoyed his paper, his beer…boxing and baseball on television….fat cigars and his chair. Especially his chair. Nobody could sit in that chair but Archie. Nobody.

And it wasn’t even that great of a chair…at least it was better than his wife’s. Edith. Her chair looked flat out uncomfortable.

Edith was a nice lady. And Archie loved her. He really did…Oh, he talked badly to her. Abusively… He was so domineering. And controlling.

I’m not saying that he cursed her, or, God forbid, raised his hand to her. He didn’t…He would have never done that, but the way he would tell her to stifle herself when she said something he didn’t like or if she was just getting on his nerves..

That kind of stuff wouldn’t fly today. And it shouldn’t.

Should have never flown then. Sadly, those attitudes weren’t that unusual in the 70s. There was a lot of backlash to the civil rights movement in the suburbs then…to women’s lib…to the intelligentsia…There were a lot more blue collar middle class people in the suburbs then.

The Bunkers lived in Queens, in a two bedroom, one bath, row house. They were probably about two rungs, on the plus side, from being lower middle-class. But they weren’t and that’s what counted.

Archie worked hard as a dock foreman to provide for his family. He really did. And he took good care of them.

It wasn’t easy for him either. He had to drop out of high school so he could work and take care of his mother when his dad died. From there he served in the Army Air Corps during WWII where he received the purple heart for being shot in the butt…

Yeah, that’s right. Archie got shot in the butt, but here’s the deal…he was on some cushy gig where he didn’t have to see combat, only he did see it. And when he saw it, he defended his country. And his friends. And himself.

He was a good father to Gloria, too. Of course, he wanted a boy, but from the moment she was born she had him wrapped around her finger.

Oh, he groused at her, too. A lot. But when Gloria miscarried her first baby–Archie’s grandson that he was so excited about–all he really cared about was her.

The way he sat on the side of her bed…and for the first time in his life, probably, he was speechless…the way he looked at her, so worried, just wanting her to be okay, said it all.

He was like that with Edith too. Very loyal to her.

And sometimes, ever so rarely, Edith would let him have it. She’d put her foot down and put him in his place. Those times were priceless.

But in the same way that Archie was misogynistic–because, make no mistake, he was–he was racist, too. He was unapologetically racist, though he would tell you that he wasn’t.

The fact is, Archie Bunker was so racist–it came so naturally to him–that he didn’t know the difference. To him, the Ku Klux Klan was racist, yes, but he was completely numb to the reality that they–the Ku Klux Klan–espoused 90% of his own political views…

That he was an equal opportunity insulter…he ribbed his son-in-law Mike, mercilessly about being Polish…he upbraided Catholics for being Catholic and Puerto Ricans for being Puerto Rican…that he believed there should be no violence and that there were some good people who were minorities was enough to keep him humane, but just barely.

Racism. Misogyny. Inexcusable then and inexcusable now.

Should it matter that he was a hard working, faithful husband and father that was wounded while serving his country during wartime? Are those enough attributes, enough mitigating factors to push Archie over the Mason/Dixon Line and onto the good side?…

That’s right, fellow Southerners, I said the good side. The South–during the Civil War–were the bad guys. Get over it..

I say yes.

Then again, I’m a middle aged white woman. I would say yes.

H.R. Pufnstuf

H.R. Pufnstuf
Who’s your friend when things get rough?
H.R. Pufnstuf
Can’t do a little ’cause he can’t do enough

I wasn’t old enough to catch the first run of this but I caught the show reruns in the mid-seventies. It was so colorful and intriguing. I always loved this show. Jack Wild did a great job as Jimmy who sails his ship to this God forsaken island. Talking trees, flute, mushrooms, and Witchiepoo always trying to nab Jimmy’s gold talking flute. The mayor of the island was H.R. Pufnstuf…a dragon type creature I think.

TV Time - H.R. Pufnstuf S01E04 - The Mechanical Boy (TVShow Time)

The character HR Pufnstuf was created for the 1968 World’s Fairin San Antonio, Texas. The show lasted one season…1969-1970. They made 17 episodes and replayed them over and over. The show was an immediate hit, so NBC renewed it for a second season, but it had become such an overwhelming money pit for the producers that they declined and the network was forced to air reruns.

It’s long been rumored that the Krofft brothers were deeply influenced by marijuana and LSD when they were making H.R. Pufnstuf…uh…”Hand Rolled Puffin’ Stuff.” Despite these obvious parallels, the brothers deny using drugs – at least during work hours.

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Marty Krofft: “We screwed with every kid’s mind,”such as H.R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville and Land of the Lost — that he created with brother Sid in the early 1970s. “There’s an edge. Disney doesn’t have an edge.”

Marty Krofft: “No drugs involved. You can’t do drugs when you’re making shows. Maybe after, but not during. We’re bizarre, that’s all.”

On a side note… The Kroffts sued McDonalds for copyright infringement because Mayor McCheese and Big Mac bore a strong resemblance to H. R. Pufnstuf. They also noted similarities between the living trees and apple pie trees…McDonalds clearly did borrow from H.R. Pufnstuff.

H.R. Pufnstuf

H.R. Pufnstuf
Who’s your friend when things get rough?
H.R. Pufnstuf
Can’t do a little ’cause he can’t do enough

Once upon a summertime
Just a dream from yesterday
A boy and his magic golden flute
Heard a boat from off the bay
“Come and play with me, Jimmy
Come and play with me
And I will take you on a trip
Far across the sea”

But the boat belonged to a kooky old witch
Who had in mind the flute to snitch
From her broom-broom in the sky
She watched her plans materialize
She waved her wand
The beautiful boat was gone
The skies grew dark, the sea grew rough
And the boat sailed on and on and on and on and on and on

H.R. Pufnstuf
Who’s your friend when things get rough?
H.R. Pufnstuf
Can’t do a little ’cause he can’t do enough

But Pufnstuf was watching, too
And knew exactly what to do
He saw the witch’s boat attack
And as the boy was fighting back
He called his rescue racer crew
As often they’d rehearsed
And off to save the boy they flew
But who would get there first?

H.R. Pufnstuf
Who’s your friend when things get rough?
H.R. Pufnstuf
Can’t do a little ’cause he can’t do enough

But now the boy had washed ashore
Puf arrived to save the day
Which made the witch so mad and sore
She shook her fist and screamed away

H.R. Pufnstuf
Who’s your friend when things get rough?
H.R. Pufnstuf
Can’t do a little ’cause he can’t do enough

The Banana Splits Show

I remember in the mid 70s staying at my grandmothers house and I would watch the Banana Splits reruns. I saw this the other day and had to pass this delightful theme on to other ears…warning it will be there ALL day. 

This was a Hanna-Barbera show that ran from 1968-1970. They set out to do something really different to stand out from the pack, choosing to make characters similar to their in-house style except, instead of being animated, they’d be live-action costumed characters with real people in the suits. The costumes and sets were designed by Sid and Marty Krofft.

They consisted of guitarist Feegle the Beagle (voiced by Paul Winchell), drummer Bingo the Ape (Daws Butler), Drooper the Lion (Allan Melvin) on bass, and Snorky the Elephant (who only spoke in honks) on keyboards.

Sid and Marty Krofft would later make this type of show popular with their own shows H.R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville, and The Bugaloos with an added psychedelic edge to it. 

The theme song “The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)” was written by Kellogg’s jingle writer N.B. Winkless Jr., who also wrote the “Snap, Crackle, Pop” jingle for Rice Krispies cereal. 

The song peaked at #96 in the Billboard 100. A punk band named The Dickies covered the song and took it to #7 in the UK in 1979.

The Banana Splits Theme

Tra la la tra la la la
Tra la la tra la la la
Tra la la tra la la la
Tra la la tra la la la

One banana two banana three banana four
All bananas make a split so do many more
Over hill and highway the banana buggies go
Come along to bring you the banana splits show

Four banana three banana two banana one
All bananas playing in the bright warm sun
Flipping like a pancake popping like a cork
Fleagle bingo drooper and snork

Making up a mess of fun
Making up a mess of fun
Making up a mess of fun
Lots of fun for everyone

Four banana three banana two banana one
All bananas playing in the bright warm sun
Flipping like a pancake popping like a cork
Fleagle bingo drooper and snork

Home Improvement

Tim Taylor (Tim Allen), Jill Taylor (Patricia Richardson), Al Borland (Richard Karn), Wilson W. Wilson (Earl Hindman), Randy Taylor (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), Mark Taylor (Taran Noah Smith), Brad Taylor (Zachery Ty Bryan), and Heidi Keppert (Debbe Dunning), and Lisa (Pamela Anderson)

This show is not deep nor did it change television like All In The Family or Seinfeld…but it was fun. A lot of fun with Tim, Jill, Al, Wilson, and the kids. Before I started working in IT I had different jobs. When this show was on I was a supervisor in a woodworking shop. Needless to say this was very popular with everyone there. The show ran from 1991 – 1999 with 204 episodes. To my surprise Home Improvement beat Seinfeld in ratings for a few years.

The shows followed a formula…someone, usually Tim, would do something stupid or say the wrong thing. An argument would ensue and then they would go to their neighbor Wilson and he would give them a quote or a story that would go over Tim’s head. The problem would more or less be solved after that.

The formula was an open secret and the writers would often poke fun at it and themselves.

Tim is what some people would call a modern Neanderthal but he had a heart and learned…but not always too well. More power, more power and Tim would blow something up. He was the host of “Tool Time” a fictional cable show about home improvement and tools. Tim would then get into trouble by adding power to the simplest thing (lawn mower which ran at 60 mph, dish washer with a motor that cranked, a vacuum cleaner that sucked up the drapes) and ended up electrocuting himself, gluing himself to a board, falling through a port a potty, and etc.

Home Improvement': Behind-the-Scenes Facts Not Even Superfans Know ...

If Tool Time would have been a real show…I would have watched just to see what trouble Tim would get into next.

Jill was the typical “straight man” character to her goofy husband. She often gave advice to her boys about girls that exemplified how gentlemen should act. She had a sophistication that was totally opposite of her husband. The more she pushed theater and ballet the more Tim would push a Monster truck rally. She was my favorite 90s sitcom mom hands down. She grounded the show and to me was the most important member. She kept it real and believable.

Home Improvement — See the Cast Then and Now

Tim’s ever suffering Tool Time partner was Al Borland who actually had knowledge and knew what he was doing. A bonafide unhip square but a lovable one, who only wanted the best for everyone. He had a much softer side than Tim and talked about his feelings which horrified Tim. He always wore flannel and Tim always made jokes about that and Al’s very large mother. Al was extremely popular with the fictional viewers of Tool Time.

Home Improvement - Albert E. "Al" Borland is a master plumber and ...

Wilson was a peculiar neighbor with very odd habits but was a wise one. The poor guy couldn’t go outside without solving the Taylor’s problems…even the kids came to him for advice. The show played on the gimmick of only showing Wilson from his nose up…or they covered his face entirely if he wasn’t in front of the fence.

The Savage Brothers: 5 Deceivingly Wholesome Sitcom Characters

There were two tool time girls… Heidi and Lisa

Heidi, the lovely assistant from Tool Time on Home Improvement ...Lisa | Home Improvement Wiki | Fandom

All in all I still enjoy watching the show. It still makes me laugh and the show highlighted the problems most couples have…it was Disney so you will not see them face too many serious topics …just everyday problems that we all have…minus some guy blowing things up.

1970’s TV Catch Phrases

In 2018 I did a Slang from the Seventies post but on this one, I wanted to concentrate on TV Catch Phrases. It’s funny that some people would tune into shows just to hear them…waiting for JJ to say Dy-no-mite in Good Times.

Lookin’ Good! – Chico and the Man

Stifle Yourself – All In The Family

Dy-no-mite Good Times

Who Loves Ya Baby? – Kojak

Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry – The Incredible Hulk

Good night, John Boy – The Waltons

Kiss my grits! – Alice

Book ’em Danno – Hawaii Five-0

Jane, you ignorant slut – Saturday Night Live

God wll get you for that – Maude

 

 

 

 

Bewitched

“Oh My Stars”          1964-1972

I binged watched Bewitched during the lockdown and some afterward. The first five seasons were probably the best. Having the lovely Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) as a wife who could twitch her nose and whip up anything you desired…doesn’t sound half bad…therefore… I never understood Darrin…either Darrin.

Bewitched was full of funny characters. Mr and Mrs Kravitz next door. Uncle Arthur (the great Paul Lynne), Aunt Clara, Maurice, Endora, and a cast of witches and warlocks. The show stuck the characters with the same actors/actresses for the most part. The continuity was pretty good in this show with one big exception…the two Darrins. More on that in a few.

The show was about a mortal (Darrin Stevens) that married a witch (Samantha Stevens) and Darrin does not like Samantha to use her powers. Endora the mother-in-law was a witch that played the stereotypical mother-in-law but one that could Darrin into a horse if she so pleased.

One of my favorites was Aunt Clara played perfectly by Marion Lorne. The character Aunt Clara collected doorknobs. The writers did that because Marion Lorne actually collected doorknobs from everywhere… The producers of the show would ask to borrow one if they wanted one for a different look for the show. 

Aunt Clara | Of Mice and Men Wiki | Fandom

A funny story about Marion Lorne is that she once called Elizabeth Montgomery and said, with her trademark stammer, to come to her hotel residence right away as she seemed to have actual magical powers like her character. Every time she clapped her hands, her TV set would change the channel. What Marion didn’t know was that the bracelets on each of her arms made contact when she clapped her hands, and the sound was the same as a remote control, which operated as tuning forks in those days. Montgomery never told her this.

The two Darrins. The first Darrin was Dick York. The second Darrin was Dick Sargent.

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Dick York had severe back problems and a pain pill addiction. He was on for almost 5 full seasons. He came down with a fever during the last part of the 5th season and collapsed on an episode. He entered the hospital and never came back to the show. His career essentially ended then.

The next season Dick Sargent took over with no explanation to the audience. Sargent was never as popular with the audience and the ratings soon dropped. The show lasted 8 total seasons before ending in 1972.

On December 6 Agnes Moorehead was born… | Today In PopAgnes Moorehead | American actress | Britannica

It’s a fun show to watch and it had some great actors and actress that would show up. Agnes Moorehead who played Endora was part of the Mercury Theatre with Orson Welles.

Bewitched had some really good effects for the time. I grew up on this show in syndication.

 

 

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057733/

 

Happy Days influence on Pop Culture

I remember the phrases that were on the show and phrases that the show spawned after it went off the air…like “Jump The Shark” and the “Chuck Cunningham Syndrome” (more below on them)

I watched Happy Days as a kid and even got the theme as a single. The show first aired in 1974 and finally came to a halt in 1984. Ever since then it’s gone into syndication.

Happy Days was centered around Ritchie Cunningham (Ron Howard) and his friends and family but the Fonz (Henry Winkler) character soon eclipsed Ritchie. The show portrayed 1950s life as a teenager but it did mirror the problems all teenagers encounter.

Fonz was everywhere in the seventies. Kids at school would do the hair in the mirror thing. If I only had a nickel every time I heard “heeeeyyyy” I would be a rich man. T-Shirts, lunch boxes, notebooks, and anything “Happy Days” could be printed on was… Phrases included Sit On It, Exactamundo, Bucko, and more became popular…Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah!

Two more phrases came because of the show. Jump the Shark and the Chuck Cunningham Syndrome but more in them in a minute.

Richie had some understanding parents… Howard and Marion Cunningham were always there with a solution and he had a sometimes bratty but typical little sister Joanie. His best friends were Potsy and Ralph Malph who would mostly get Richie in trouble.

Happy Days also spawned a number of spin-offs, including the hit shows Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy. We won’t discuss Joanie Loves Chachi…no that didn’t happen.

In the Seventies, a 50s revival was happening at the time and this show certainly added to it. Movies like Grease, American Graffiti, and The Last Picture Show were hits also.

Now some fun stuff.

Jump the Shark – A definition… “(of a television series or movie) reach a point at which far-fetched events are included merely for the sake of novelty, indicative of a decline in quality”

This originated from Happy Days. It was the episode where Fonzie jumps over a shark while on water-skis. This was way outside the original storyline of the show. If you want to know which one…Season 5 Episode 3 of a three-part episode storyline.

The Chuck Cunningham Syndrome – One of the definitions I found…  occurs when a character in a television mysteriously vanishes from the show. No write-off, no death, not even a passing explanation of what happened to the character.

This originated from Happy Days. Poor Chuck was Ritchie’s brother and he is in a total of 11 episodes in the first two seasons. After that, we never see nor hear anything from Chuck again. Did aliens abduct him? Was he in the Witness Protection program? Was he a spy? Was he a figment of the family’s imagination? Did he grow up to be Alice Cooper?

This is where “Jump The Shark” was born…Yea, a guy from Milwaukee is going to water ski and jump a shark…with a leather jacket on.

Ken Osmond (Eddie Haskell) 1943-2020

Ken Osmond who portrayed Eddie Haskell on “Leave It To Beaver” has passed away at age 76. I grew up watching this show after school in syndication in the late 70s.

After watching it again as an adult…I see that it was a well-written show from a child’s point of view. Ken Osmond played Eddie Haskell…who was the pot-stirrer on the show and he was needed. He kept it from becoming too sweet…plus we all know an Eddie Haskell or two.

RIP Ken Osmond.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/ken-osmond-dead-mischievous-eddie-haskell-leave-it-beaver-was-76-1246683

 

 

 

Dire Straits – Sultans Of Swing

A masterpiece. I was 12 when this was released and it sounded timeless even then. It was a great song in 1979 and will be great in 2079. Not only are the words inventive but this was most people’s introduction to Mark Knopfler. I wasn’t a guitar player when I was 12 but I knew he was something special.

I’ve heard this one at what seems like a thousand times but I’ll always turn it up when it comes on the radio.

Sultans of Swing peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100, #4 in Canada, #8 in the UK, and #12 in New Zealand in 1979.

Mark Knopfler was inspired by watching a lousy club band perform. Knopfler was in England on a rainy night. He ducked into a bar where a mediocre band was closing out the night to an audience that was maybe four or five drunks unaware of their surroundings. The hapless jazz combo ended their set with the lead singer announcing, “Goodnight, and thank you. We are the sultans of swing.”

Mark Knopfler: “When the guys said ‘Thank you very much, We are the Sultans of Swing,’ there was something really funny about it to me because Sultans, they absolutely weren’t. You know they were rather tired little blokes in pullovers.”

 

From Songfacts

This song is about guys who go to a club after work, listen to music and have a good time. They are there for the music, and not for the image presented by the band. The song was a marked change from the waning disco style and the nascent punk movement. 

Knopfler got a lot of songwriting ideas from observing everyday people, something that got harder to do when he became famous. 

This was Dire Straits’ first single. It was one of five songs on a demo tape they used to get their record deal. The tape got played on London radio and started a bidding war for the band.

Despite the title, the song is not played with a swing rhythm. 

A singer-songwriter from Indiana named Bill Wilson, who died in 1993, claimed that he wrote the lyrics to this song. He would often tell the story in concert, which was recorded for a 24-track CD that was released by a production company which recorded various artists between 1989-1995. One of the tracks is Wilson (identified only as “B. Wilson”) performing “Sultans Of Swing.”

There is an asterisk after his name and on the CD it says that this was from a live show performed at The Warehouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Before Wilson plays the song he says the following: “I do this thing I co-wrote about, I guess, it’s been about 12 years ago I wrote the lyrics and a friend of mine used to work a lot of sessions for my old producer, Bob Johnston, and worked a session with this fellow from England by the name of Mark Knopfler. Has his own group over there called Dire Straits. He had this little melody. It sounded like ‘Walk, Don’t Run.’ And he had this little story concerning a band that nobody wanted to listen to. Only a few people show up to hear. So we got together one night after the session and tossed these lyrics around on a napkin and I guess I wound up writing most of the lyrics to the tune. Made enough money to buy a new Blazer that year I remember, so… didn’t do too bad. It goes like this…”

Then he starts playing an acoustic guitar, strumming Spanish style and singing “Sultans.” The lyrics are pretty close to what Mark Knopfler recorded but are slightly different. In 2009, this was posted to YouTube.

It is unlikely that Wilson’s account is true. Knopfler has never made mention of him, and Wilson is not credited for any contribution to the song. Also, the timeline doesn’t sync: Mark Knopfler didn’t come to America until after the album was released. The session work he did in Memphis was in the late ’80s and early ’90s when he was on a break from Dire Straits.

Sultans of Swing

You get a shiver in the dark
It’s a raining in the park but meantime-
South of the river you stop and you hold everything
A band is blowing Dixie, double four time
You feel alright when you hear the music ring

Well now you step inside but you don’t see too many faces
Coming in out of the rain they hear the jazz go down
Competition in other places
Uh but the horns they blowin’ that sound
Way on down south
Way on down south
London town

You check out guitar George, he knows-all the chords
Mind, it’s strictly rhythm he doesn’t want to make it cry or sing
They said an old guitar is all, he can afford
When he gets up under the lights to play his thing

And Harry doesn’t mind, if he doesn’t, make the scene
He’s got a daytime job, he’s doing alright
He can play the Honky Tonk like anything
Savin’ it up, for Friday night
With the Sultans
We’re the Sultans of Swing

Then a crowd a young boys they’re a foolin’ around in the corner
Drunk and dressed in their best brown baggies and their platform soles
They don’t give a damn about any trumpet playin’ band
It ain’t what they call Rock and Roll
And the Sultans
Yeah, the Sultans, they play Creole
Creole

And then the man he steps right up to the microphone
And says at last just as the time bell rings
“Goodnight, now it’s time to go home”
Then he makes it fast with one more thing

“We are the Sultans
We are the Sultans of Swing”