Shari’s Christmas Concert

With the satellite dish came both Disney East and Disney West.  With Christmas break came unfettered access to the satellite dish.  The end result was that I spent most of Christmas break during the year after we got the dish (’85, maybe?) watching this:

I had never heard of Shari Lewis prior to Disney putting this Christmas special from 1981 into heavy rotation that year, but I fell in complete love with her and her comedy and Lambchop.  I know I watched this special multiple times during that Christmas break, often multiple times in one day, and I also know I recorded some of the songs by putting my cassette radio up to the TV speakers.  Watching it today, I see there is a lot of it I forgot.  While I have vague memories of the Lambchop bit (I particularly remember Shari saying some people called Lambchop “Porkchop”), I have very little memory of the rest of it.  The one part I do remember extremely well, Shari singing funny lyrics to the tune of “Greensleeves”, is sadly not on YouTube.  The first forty minutes of the special is, though.

The Jayne Mansfield Story

I have just about tracked down every TV memory I have, but every now and then another pops up.  The other day, someone mentioned Mariska Hargitay to me, and that made me think of this movie that I caught one Saturday afternoon:

I have no idea when I caught The Jayne Mansfield Story or why I kept watching it.  I had never heard of Jayne Mansfield before, but I quickly got the idea that she was some sort of Marilyn Monroe figure from the past.  I had heard of Loni Anderson and Arnold Schwarzenegger, so maybe that’s what the appeal was.  I remember Loni/Jayne saying she needed to do one more “va-va-voom” movie and I think she had a dramatic moment on a train or something.  Mostly, though, I remember that her husband (whose name I’ve forgotten) had a work out show on TV, and that in one scene her daughter (whom I assume was a little Mariska) ran into the living room to say that he was on TV, to which Jayne replied that she didn’t need to see him on TV as she saw him in real life.  Overall, it is a minor memory for me, but I’m glad I remembered and was able to document it.

Kids’ Writes

Kids’ Writes ran on Nickelodeon from 1981-83.  In it, a troupe of actors acted out stories sent in by young viewers.  I haven’t been able to find any clips of this show, and I found only this one picture of the cast:

Despite the lack of corroborating media, I still have solid memories of this show.  My best memory comes from what was probably a very early Saturday or Sunday morning.  I was watching this program at that time with a friend who had stayed the night at my house.  The show opened with two of the Kids’ Writes actors doing an improvisational bit.  Someone in the live audience asked them to act as a bunny.  The actors huddled for a moment, then the male held the bushy-headed female over his back upside down.  This put her legs over his head in a way that somewhat resembled bunny ears.  He then turned around to reveal that her bushy head was positioned over his behind like a bunny tail.  She then shook her head back and forth to complete the illusion.  To me, this was an innocent thing.  My more potty-minded friend, though, laughed at the fact that the woman’s face was put into the man’s posterior, and saw her head shakes as evidence that it wasn’t such a pleasant place to be.  I can partially understand that, I guess, but to me it was still innocent and the Kids’ Writes actors seemed very clever.

 

Creature from Black Lake

I must be living right, because I have solved another pre-playroom era TV mystery.  In the pre-playroom days, I saw some movie about Bigfoot.  In it, two 70s-ish guys play a recording of a Bigfoot scream in a diner and get kicked off.  I’ve been looking for this movie for years, and I believe I have finally found it.  It is 1976’s Creature From Black Lake.

I found Creature From Black Lake via a Google search for “movie diner bigfoot scream tape recorder”.  One of the first few hits I got on that search took me to this website.  As soon as I saw the title, I knew I was on the right track.  That title must have been lodged in my memory banks somehow.  I then found the movie on YouTube, and scanned through until I found the correct scene.  Here it is:

 

It isn’t exactly what I remembered.  It is a little more lighthearted, and the men look entirely different (they resembled Bo and Luke Duke in my memory).  I also thought a cook came and threw them out.  But it is the basic idea, and it is hard for me to imagine there could be another movie with this same gag, so I’m going to conclude that this is what I saw and remembered.

Cartoon Network Thundarr Bumper

Cartoon Network came along a little after the playroom era, so it wasn’t included in TV In My Time.  But I did enjoy watching it in college.  One of my favorite CN bits was this bumper featuring an awkward exchanged between Thundarr the Barbarian and his pal Ookla.

I liked this Velma bumper as well.

I also enjoyed these bumpers.  The cab driver one seems more fitted to 80s MTV than Cartoon Network, but it is still a good bumper.

Pumpkin Creek

There are some TV memories I will never document with 100% certainty.  One of those is the children’s TV show which introduced me to April Fool’s Day.  This is a clear memory (I know I saw a show which discussed April Fool’s Day and which showed kids or young people pulling AFD tricks on each other), but it is also very early, so early that I can’t remember the show or the network I saw it on (I was so young I may not have even known these things to begin with).  However, I recently came across this promo for USA Network’s Pumpkin Creek, which might be the show in question.

I have no clear memories of Pumpkin Creek.  The name does not flip any switches in my memory banks.  But the guy riding on the train and the amusement park setting seem very similar to this memory.  They seem almost familiar, in fact.  So even though I can’t be sure that this is the show (searches for “Pumpkin Creek” + “April Fool’s Day” don’t turn up anything), I think it might be.

Don’t forget to check out my book TV In My Time for more of my 80s TV memories!

Janie Fricke TV Special

Here’s another early TV memory that didn’t make it into the book.  I’m not exactly sure what this is from.  I think it is a special 80s country singer Janie Fricke headlined in the early 80s.  The only part of the special I clearly remembered was a bit with Ray Stevens, which coincidentally is the only part I could find on YouTube.  I’m not sure how well this special or song has aged, but at least it is another item from my early TV experiences that I was able to document.

 

If you like this post, don’t forget to check out my book TV In My Time for more of my 80s TV memories!