Sunday, October 26, 2008

Television Roots

Like many, I grew up with a hefty dose of television shows injected most profusely into the cerebral cortex and no doubt having an impact on my personal development and view of reality. My "historian" tendencies have recently included an adventure of sorts into the review and watching of the shows that shaped my psyche.

While the vast majority of my exposure to the cult classic Dark Shadows, a soap opera airing initially from 1966 through 1971, occurred as entertaining after school fare during its re-run in the early 70s, what happened on January 12, 1968 was anything but harmless. Having just turned 7 years old, I happened to be home when the show’s episode #405 came on. My mother warned me that it was rather scary stuff and advised me to change the channel. I didn’t, and a portrait of Josette Collins, to eerie and disturbing strings and sound effects as Angelique confronted Barnabas, turned into a skeleton. The image so terrified me that I could not have a picture of a human being in my bedroom until I was 25.

Last year, using Netflix I queued up the entire soap opera, from beginning to end, and watched all of it. Naturally, given the pace of a 1960s soap opera, this occurred via multitask while blogging, studying, and surfing (keyboard, not surf board). After Dark Shadows, I perused (always starting at the very beginning) Lost in Space, finding the show that seemed so fascinating in 1969 to be unwatchable. I quit after half of the first season. I found the first season of The Invaders far more entertaining in large part from its depiction of the 1960s environment (Wow, look at that T-Bird!). When the second season is released next year, I will rent all of it.

Of course everyone remembers what became staple mainstream, shows like Star Trek or Mission Impossible, but anyone remember The Time Tunnel? What show came on just before it? Answer – The Green Hornet. He drove the "Black Beauty"” at night, but can anyone name the white car driven by Britt Reid during the day? Remember Major Matt Mason? In my memory it exists as both a doll and a television show. Not true. It was only a toy, but the day existed when getting a Major Matt Mason doll just about put your humble blogger into orbit. Remember Jonny Quest’s dog? How did Marine Boy manage to "breathe" under water?

Britt drove a Pierce Arrow.

I love the Internet. At IMDB via message board I was able to zero a film seen forty years ago only remembering that the monster, if blown apart, would grow new monsters from each dismembered piece. Reptilicus. See it at six years old with a babysitter late on a Saturday night. While William Shatner certainly evoked many boyhood hero fantasies, none struck that chord so well as Christopher George, and not for his work in The Rat Patrol, a rather loose interpretation of WWII jeep squads in Africa, but for his work in The Immortal.


Blogger The Navigator said...

A truly exquisite post. Wow, lots of memories. Watching all of Dark Shadows must have been quite an undertaking.

I also enjoy watching dated films or TV shows to see the cars and how the people dress, talk, and behave. Speaking of Time Tunnel, it always has been a fantasy to travel back in time and be able to experience a long gone era.

10/26/2008 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marine Boy?!


You trigger a memory of something I literally have not thought about in 40 years.

He used oxygen gum, and he had special shoes with jet propellers.

Great blog entry.

10/26/2008 10:28 PM  

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