Thursday, September 28, 2006

Memories -- Forgotten TV Shows

Over my nearly half-century of life, scary thought, I have seen a lot of TV shows come and go, and many are gone, gone, gone. Some original and witty ideas failed to survive. We can still watch old shows like Combat, Bonanza or Gunsmoke or by watching some of the cable networks you can still catch old style comedies like I Dream of Jeannie, Mr Ed, My Three Sons, Gilligan's Island etc. Other shows have become part of our collective psyche like Star Trek, MASH and The Brady Bunch. To be honest, I enjoyed every show I've listed and my list could go on and on and on. Most of us are at least somewhat familiar withe every one of the shows I've listed.

I want to talk about TV shows that I remember but have disappeared from TVland, seemingly forever. (There were many much better shows, but most of them live on in syndication -- these are shows that, to my knowledge, are not seen anymore, and perhaps it is better that way.)

Two shows involved people in the wrong time period.
There was It's About Time about the crew of a Gemini (!?) space capsule that went throught the time barrier and found themselves living with cavemen and surrounded by dinosaurs. Halfway through the show's single season they returned, with the cavemen, to the twentieth century. I was 9 or so when this show aired and one thing that I can clearly remember was after they returned to the present, the patriarch of the cave family, Gronk, decided to go hunting and carried a spear into a zoo. Of course there was a scene of Gronk taking his club to a car as well (much like the relatively recent movie Just Visiting)

There was also The Second Hundred Years which involved a man frozen in a glacier in 1900 and thawed out alive in 1967, who moved in with his son and his grandson (who was identical to him and played by the same actor.) It concentrated on the absurdities of modern life and what we have lost. I remember episodes where our hero discovered that making moonshine is now illegal, that the government paid farmers not grow stuff and also discovered (and liked) miniskirts.

Tim Conway once had a personalized license plate that read "13 WKS" because every show he tried lasted that long. Only one really stands out in my memory and that was Rango, where he played an inept Texas Ranger with an Indian sidekick named Pink Cloud. Even though I loved it, the series did so poorly that very little is available even on the net. I can best describe it as The Pink Panther meets The Lone Ranger. Like Inspector Clouseau, Rango always got his man, by accident, usually trying to arrest someone else.

There were also a couple of spoofs on superheros. There was Mr. Terrific , (also here) who was a gas station attendant who got superpowers, such as flight and great strength by taking a special pill "that made the world's strongest men quite ill." I don't really remember episodes, but burned into my mind is him with his goggles and jacket, flying by flapping his arms like a bird. I also remember, both the show and some episodes of Captain Nice. He was a police chemist, who like Mr. Terrific, depended on a drug for his powers. In spite of his powers, he was an inept hero whose father (a cop) usually caught the bad guy. One thing that now bothers me about these two series is that the hero depends on drugs, and considering the time frame of these shows, I kind of wonder if it was really all that innocent or if they were glorifying drug use.

Of course all of these shows failed, and perhaps they could even be called stupid, but most TV is stupid and I was a young kid when I enjoyed these shows. I groan in disbelief about them now but at one time I loved them.


Anonymous Seth said...

"Look, it's the nut who walks around in pajamas... That's no nut boy, it's Captain Nice!"

Wow, I'd completely forgotten about that show.

Remember Car 54, Where Are You?

10:08 PM  
Blogger KurtP said...

How about F-troop, and the original Baman?

1:18 AM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

I remember I Dream of Jeannie and the ones above, but they were reruns when I first saw them. I don't remember any of the ones below. I guess now I know why.

5:27 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

I'm older than you and of course I remember the first ones you mentioned, but of the ones that aren't on Television anymore I only remember the Second Hundred Years and Rango.

"The Gail Storm Show" is one I remember but you don't see any more. Or was it "'Gale' Storm?" Of course I would remember that one because she shares my first name, at least phonetically. You've really got me racking my brain now! LOL!

"Flash Gordon", "The Invisible Man", "The Railway Children" and "The High Chaparrel" are the only other one's I can come up with. "The High Chaparrel" was a western starring Buck Cannon, and I think I would still enjoy it today.

8:28 AM  
Blogger shoprat said...

Seth I do remember Car 54 Where Are You but you can see that in syndication.

kurtp I think F Troop is probably also in syndication somewhere

LP you were probably born around that time.

gayle: I vaguely remember something called high Chaparrel but I don't remember the shwo

5:41 PM  
Blogger dons_mind said...

i'm a fan of old westerns - - paladin, roy & dale, gunsmoke, the rifleman (chuck connors), wyatt earp, borax mule train......great old shows.....good theme shoprat...nice memories.....

6:25 PM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Whats funny is some of the shows I watched as a kid aren't quite as good as I remember. I loved Chips growing up and when I went to watch re-runs I realized that about the only redeeming factor about the show was watching Erik Estrada :-)!!

11:06 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

I detested "Chips" LMC. LOL! Neither did I like Erik Estrada. Oh well, different strokes for different folks! :)

The High Chaparrel was excellent, Shoprat. You can look it up on the internet and refresh your memory. It was a western, of course. TV used to have some really good stuff, but it sure has gone downhill!

10:02 AM  
Blogger The Oneonta Teletype said...

Ahhhh.. Yes! "Wire Paladin --San Francisco" (Have gun -- Will Travel).

"I'm the first man the bad guys look for -- and the last they want to meet"--Matt Dillon (portrayed on CBS radio by William Conrad --Cannon-- in another good TV show.

I confess freely to being hooked on Jerry VanDyke in a shortlived comedy
"My Mother the Car".

(My favorite episode: Mother gets her Zerks lubed.)

Plus the usual Superman, Stooges, Abbott/Costello foolishness.

Signs of an illspent youth?

Alls I know is I wish they'd put Bob Newhart's Stratford Inn show back on the air in reruns.

7:14 PM  

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