Wednesday, June 8, 2016

What was on TV June 6th through 12th, 1981

This week we tune to the year 1981 with this TV Guide featuring a "Taxi" cover.  Let's peel back the cover and the years.

"Snuffy" is a new one on me.  I'm only familiar with the Art Instruction School's "Pirate", "Tippy" the turtle and "Tiny" the mouse.

I remember the commercial they reference in the title very well, but never knew it was Kim Fields.

I watched "Love, Sidney" when I was a kid and never made the connection that "Sidney" was supposed to be gay.  Of course, I also thought Charles Nelson Reilly and Paul Lynde were just doing "schticks".

Sunday night at 10:30 is a repeat of the 1976 tv-movie "The Savage Bees".  "Killer Bees" or Africanized Bees were the panic-du-jour of the mid-1970's.  While they did eventually migrate to the United States, they were considerably watered down genetically by then.  About 5 people die per year from their stings.

Here's a promo clip for the movie that will give you a taste of the hype and hysteria.

"Man, Myth and Titans" must have been capitalizing on "Clash of the Titans", particularly since it was hosted by Burgess Meredith.

I remember watching "The Pink Panther Strikes Again" and arguing with my father that Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) was not in fact the actor that played "Bosley" on Charlie's Angels (David Doyle).  I finally had to concede the argument (he was my dad after all).  Man, I wish we'd had the internet back then.

"Detour to Terror" is another made-for-tv movie featuring a popular theme: average people terrorized by lunatics.  I'm not familiar with this movie, so I'm not sure if O. J. Simpson was a victim or a lunatic.

A Vivitar was our family camera for the majority of my childhood and I eventually inherited it as a teenager and used it up until I was in college when I bought my first 35mm camera.

That episode of WKRP ("Jennifer Moves") has one of my favorite lines from the series.  Les, speaking of his Aunt Eureka:
"Then she bought another parakeet, and another, and more and more until finally there were thousands of parakeets. And the mess they made was beyond belief. Aunt Eureka had gone insane of course, living all alone in a house very much like this one."

I remember watching "Cotton Candy".  Another popular made-for-tv-movie premise: underdogs overcoming the odds.  In this case, a group of nerds (Charles Martin Smith, Clint Howard, Manuel "Jai" Padilla, Jr. and Leslie King, not a nerd, but c'mon, a GIRL drummer?!)  Ron Howard directed, which would explain the casting of not only his brother Clint, but his father Rance as well.  You can watch the full movie on Youtube.

Andy Kaufman had only a few years left to live (if you really believe he died) when he made this interview. I know I'll get a lot of flak for saying this, but I never got Andy Kaufman (I know, that was probably the point). While I enjoyed his "Latka" character on "Taxi" and some of his stand up routines, his long running inside jokes (wrestling, Tony Clifton) and hoaxed altercations left me flat. When you refuse to let the audience in on the joke, eventually you're just amusing yourself and no one else. Again, I realize that was Andy's point, but just not my idea of comedy.  And when you play a jerk on camera, but then continue the character off camera, despite your insistence that you're just playing a character,  people are going to begin to wonder if you're not just really a jerk (or mentally unstable) in real life. Let the flak begin.

I'm not sure what differentiated "The Button" from any of Polaroid's other point-and-shoot cameras. From the research I've done, it appears the only difference was "The Button" was not foldable.

The Robert Blake/Randy Quaid tv production of "Of Mice and Men" is actually a very good adaption of the book, much better than the Gary Sinise/John Malkovich 1992 version, in my opinion.


  1. You can totally see Kim in that commercial now! How crazy is that? Why were there so many bee movies in the 70's? I remember the movie and being afraid of bee's thanks to TV. I do not remember the Cotten Candy movie but just might watch it.

    1. >I do not remember the Cotten Candy movie but just might watch it.
      If you're ever in the mood for a cheesy 70's movie, it will fill the bill.

  2. wow, i had no idea that was Kim Fields was in the Mrs. Butterworth’s commercial, either.

    i barely remember “Love, Sidney” and i certainly don’t remember the controversy over it, which is really strange. also, why the controversy over this show, when The Odd Couple made for a MUCH more fun rampant speculation? ohh, sure, they TRIED to cover things with “girlfriends” and “ex-wives,” but savvy people knew the REAL score.

    funny you should bring up this episode of WKRP: the Onion’s AV Club recently did a great writeup about it. they liken it to an episode of the Twilight Zone.

    i can still hear that quote in Les’s voice. also: WHERE’S LES? WHERE’S LES NEWSMAN??

    i never got the appeal of andy kaufman either. loved Latka on Taxi, totally don’t care about any of the rest. he definitely sounded like the 70s & 80s version of what we now call a troll. every so often a rumor circulates that he's still alive, but it seems like wishful thinking.

    1. >the Onion’s AV Club recently did a great writeup about it
      Great article, just read it. Thanks!


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