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!

Gigglesnort Hotel

Another mystery from my early encounters with TV has been solved.  Long before the playroom, I came across a children’s show which featured a character made out of clay and another character who looked similar to W. C. Fields (a personality I knew only from Looney Toons parodies).  Since I had gotten lucky with Allegro Non Troppo, I decided to look for this show as well, and I found it.  It is Gigglesnort Hotel.

I’m not sure how many episodes of Gigglesnort Hotel I had seen, nor how I had seen them (it looks like it was a local show out of Chicago, far from my home in Ohio).  But it seems like TV can implant its images quite deeply into our memories, because as soon as I watched the above opening, I immediately and undeniably recognized several things I hadn’t seen or remembered for decades.  My biggest memory, though, is of the clay character, whom you can see in action below.

Allegro Non Troppo

In TV In My Time, I mention a short animated piece I once saw between movies on one of the premium channels.  I’ve never known what that was called and had no hopes of seeing it again.  Yesterday, though, while I was wasting away a few moments, I decided to Google “animated aliens coke bottle evolve monkey”, which was all the things I remembered about the piece.  This search or similar ones had not turned up anything in the past, but this time it did.  It turned up an Italian film called Allegro Non Troppo.

 

 

According to Wikipedia, Allegro Non Troppo is an Italian critique of Disney’s Fantasia.  Like the Disney film, ANT has several pieces set to classical music.  The piece I remembered is set to Bolero.  As I watch it now, I realize I misremembered some things, mostly about the ending.  I hadn’t remembered the animals finding highways and skyscrapers and other man-made objects.  I had only remembered them finding the giant man statue and seeing the monkey pop out of the head.  Actually, I could cut the piece to be what I remembered.  The animals stop and start quaking in fear, they see skyscrapers and highways, then the statue appears.  If I removed that middle part, the piece would match my memory.  As it is, I’m happy to have finally found it, even if I didn’t remember it correctly!

You can find the entire 13 minute version of this piece here.  And don’t forget to check out my book TV In My Time for more of my 80s TV memories!