or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Past
Monday, May 4, 2009
Facebook Import: ABC- Still the One...then came Cosby, Seinfeld, Rachel, etc
In the fall of 1977, the coolest hippest thing (at least for a guy starting high school as I was) was to be watching ABC. This was when the network was king. The "t and a" revolution was just starting -- jiggle TV they called it. I had my Farrah poster and a huge crush on Kristy McNichol. It started with "Happy Days'. Then came "Barney Miller", ", "SWAT", "Charlie's Angels", "Welcome Back Kotter", "Baretta", "Starsky and Hutch", "Family", "Laverne and Shirley", "What's Happening", "Three's Company", "Battle of the Network Stars", "Donny and Marie", "Hardy Boys-Nancy Drew", "Bionic Woman" "Six Million Dollar Man", and "Eight is Enough". With the epic mini-series "Roots" and "Rich Man Poor Man", ABC had quality programming to add to it's credentials but CBS with it's roster of Norman Lear sitcoms, MASH, and the MTM stable of comedies and dramas still had the upper hand in that department.
This fall, ABC brought out "Love Boat" and "Soap" (with all the added controversy) and Redd Foxx's new variety show (which lasted only a few episodes but I loved it). Also premiering was a sitcom that took place in Plains, Georgia called "Carter Country" (read Jimmy) dealing humorously with race relations in the south. Finally, "Fantasy Island" would arrive midseason.
Oh, yeah--and "Monday Night Football" to boot. Plus Barbara Walters just moved over to ABC from "The Today Show".
It was this weird mixture of post-Brady Bunch/Partridge Family teenybopper family fare with innuendo and pushing the limits (Three's ( Soap, and Redd Foxx's variety show) and the aforementioned "T and A" (Three's Company, Charlie's Angels).
So, Justin Timberlake talks about Bringing Sexy Back. Well, ABC brought it back the First Time....and on network TV...scarin' the hell out of everybody.
Two fun clips: This one is an overall promo touting ABC as ending world hunger and curing cancer.....but it so exemplifies the mid-seventies. Whereas contemporary TV shows and films try so hard to mimic this era , this clip speaks volumes.
And this clip, from 1978, is great. It shows all the stars at the time in this big happy gathering. We added "Mork and Mindy", "Taxi" , "Vegas" (before Paris was there--both of them) and "Battlestar Galactica (The FIRST ONE, with Papa Cartwright) . Ya gotta love it! This is almost as good as Robert Evan's Anti-Drug NBC lovefest in the early eighties. Put your disco ball up for this one.
Norman Fell went out with a smile on his face, I'll tell you that!