Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Done to Death

I know the whole retro seventies/tv nostalgia thing has probably been blogged to within an inch of it's life, but I'm having a bad week, and want to write about something through my rose-tinted keyboard today. So I thought I'd give you some fondly remembered snapshots of my childhood in the seventies.

*looks upwards and screen goes all misty and wobbly for a second.

1. The Six Million Dollar Man
This was a bittersweet pleasure for me. One of the best action heroes ever, and he was on the same night as Cubs!? Oh the indignation! I only got to see about one episode in four which made it a tantalising treat, almost just beyond my reach. It got a bit rubbish when he got involved with the Bionic Woman (now remade with Michelle 'why the long face' Ryan). It always gets rubbish when we have to get involved with women. The world would be a much more peaceful place if they were to let us men alone to play on our Choppers at WAR WAR WAR! Which brings us nicely to...

2. My Chopper
Obviously I'm talking about my Raleigh Chopper, not making some puerile double entendre about willies. Mine was a purple chunky deathtrap of a thing which, in my 11 year old brain was also a dead ringer for Robert Mitchum's F-86 Sabre in The Hunters

3. Queueing up to see Grease
They were queuing around the corner at Wolverhampton Odeon in 1978. J and I went with our sisters (no double-date jokes please). When we saw the number of people waiting, we left our siblings to "Go and get some pop and crisps". We then sloped across town to the the ABC Cinema (Multiplexes not yet invented) and watched Mel Brooks' High Anxiety, rejoining the front of the Grease queue a couple of hours later, without pop or crisps.

4. Replicas by Tubeway Army
This stopped me in my tracks in 1979 and I became suddenly enamoured with eyeliner and two tone ties. Luckily he dyed his hair black not long after (before it fell out and then came back), saving me the bother of 'going blond'. Left me with a lifelong fondness for black clothes, reinforced by my 1983 Goth spell.

5. Alias Smith and Jones
"Starring Pete Doo-al and Ben Murphy". Pete killed himself during the show's run, and was replaced with someone who's name eludes me. I remember being told by me mum and being rather haunted by it. Why would a comboy tv star on the run from the law commit suicide? Incomprehensible!

6. School
I loved school. I was rubbish at the actual lessons, and walked away with zero qualifications. But it was full of mostly friendly kids. Unfortunately laughing your way through school does not prepare you for the harsh realities of life. Culture-shock followed...

7. Fox on the Run by The Sweet
The first record I ever bought was Wig-Wam Bam, and I was a keen follower of all the hits of the Kings of Glam. Damn downloads and iTunes has all but eroded the magic, as I have had these on personal music players for years. Not FOTR though. For some reason I never downloaded this one, and has become somewhat sacred to me.

8. Starsky and Hutch
Starsky and Hutch was brilliant. Even the crap remake was brilliant (if crap).

9. Evel Knieval AND Bruce Lee
I always wanted to be in a gang with Bruce, Evel, Elvis, Steve Austin, Dave Wagstaffe and Neil Armstrong. Sadly it never happened. I think Mr Knieval was indestructable. Mr Lee, sadly was not.

10. Happy Days
Heyyyyyy! Happy Days was rubbish. Sit on it yerself, Arthur.

11. Upstairs Downstairs and Thriller
Der-Der-de-Der-da-Der.... early Saturday evening light entertainment with yet more pop and crisps. Has anyone revisited Upstairs Downstairs? Was it any good?
Thriller came on later in the night and sent me and my elder sister scurrying behind the sofa for cover. If you'd like a reminder of a clip and that music (which terrifies me to this day), see below.


Beth said...

"...and in all the trains and banks they robbed.."

Yes, it was never the same after Pete Duel. I kept watching it though. What *was* the other guy's name??

Five-Centres said...

We had the same childhood!

I bought the Thriller box set last year. That music! You're right, it scare me too. I can't watch it on my own, even now.

I never had a Chopper though - I had the next one down, the Tomahawk and my brother had a Chipper.

Oh those salad days. You've got me thinking.

Andrew Collins said...

Roger Davis.

(By the way, ever since Where Did It All Go Right? came out, I've been receiving nice emails from people who say, "You've written about my childhood!" How lucky we all were to grow up in the 70s. What kind of nostalgic glue will hold together today's younger generation? Mobile phones?)

Beth said...

Thank you Andrew.

Although I'm surprised to discover that I *still* don't remember him...

Planet Mondo said...

That list is bang on the button.
Would have to add comics on my list , as I used to live for Whoopee, Whizzer and Chips and the black and white UK edition marvel comics. Also Planet of The Apes which was everywhere.

I bought the Thriller box set too at a crazy mark down price! It is a chilling theme tune but check out Children of The Stones for a truly terrifying titles.

Never had a Chopper, but did get a blue Grifter - with the gears on the handle.

I did a whole week of retromaniac bits on http://channelmondo.blogspot.com/
a couple of weeks ago including a typical day via TV clips, and am doing a Top Of The Pops special for this weeks Funky Friday on Planet Mondo

Ishouldbeworking said...

Aah. "To be young was very heaven." It was, wasn't it?

A fine list. I was so scared of 'Thriller' that I'd completely blocked all memory of it; those crashing chords brought it all back. Now I'll need to dope myself with booze in order to get to sleep.

And Arthur Fonzerelli was a deeply inadequate man, wasn't he? What on earth was a bloke in his late thirties doing, hanging around with a gang of teenagers? Plus his leather jacket was too small. I always preferred Potsie. He had a nice cardigan.

You actually had a Chopper! I wasn't allowed a bike as we lived on a main road and my Mum feared I'd end up under a juggernaut. I never forgave her.

I'd also add Children of the Stones for great Fear Value, plus the Tomorrow People for a great theme tune and certain nascent 'funny feelings' stirred by Steven. And I'd give an honourable mention to 'Within These Walls' starring Googie Withers. Mrs Armitage - was she? Wasn't she???

Valentine Suicide said...

5C, I think technically we're actually the same person. I suppose the past of the any male 42 year old is likely to have a lot in common, but great days. We'll never see the like etc. I've not revisted Thriller, I imagine they're a bit creaky by today's standards.

A blue Grifter eh PM? You must have been one of the chosen few! My comics were TV Comic and Shiver and Shake(?). My dad used to get me Look and Learn. Remember that?

I don't remember the new guy on AS&J being called Roger Davis. I'll have to check Mr Collins isn't winding us up. He surely must have had a snappy Hollywood name. Like Chip Westwood? " Starrin' Pete Doo-al and... erm.. Roger Davis" doesn't have quite the same ring.

I imagine the youth of today will be blogging about being Emos and the fun they had Happy Slapping come 2030. We won't care. 'cause we'll all be cryogenically frozen with our jetpacks.

Fonzie WAS weird. I reckon he hung out with those nerds, cause they were the only people who would think he was cool. I'm a bit like that...

And yes Melf, I remember Googie Withers in Within These Walls (was it on a Sunday night?). My mother was a big fan. She didn't have enough electronic parts (perhaps she kept them in her handbag)or Kung Fu skills for my liking. Didn't she invent the search engine?

Beth said...

VS - I did Google him
(Roger Davis)* Google says it's true. Explains why I couldn't remember him though.

*Not because I didn't trust Mr Collins (heaven forbid!) but because I could.

Valentine Suicide said...

You're right Beth. Looks like he had quite a successful career. He seems to have appeared in quite a few tv shows of the 70's and 80's.

Apologies for my mistake in my comment above as well. It would never have been 'Pete Doo-al and Roger Davis' !

Al McGregor said...

Alas. For me the Chopper was forbidden fruit. My parents took a very dim view to said bicycle, insisting that only ne'er-do-wells and local toughs rode around on them. I was therefore bought a nice sensible Raleigh Olympus with drop handlebars. What I would have given to put some "cowhorns" on it!

Planet Mondo said...

VS I'd recommend hiring some Thriller DVD's from Amazon or similar. They're far from creaky - in fact their understatement makes them more intimate and truly creepy than any of the overproduced offal and waffle on offer today. One episode 'Possesion' I had to bail out twice and couldn't watch by myself. I do remember Look and Learn it seemed to be the standard issue in waiting rooms Doctors Dentists etc

Five-Centres said...

Within These Walls. Bleak, bleak, bleak.
And yes, ISBW, Mrs Armitage definitely was.

Valentine Suicide said...

Al, your parents were right! After I'd trashed the Chopper, my parents bought me a Raleigh Europa 'racer'. It had cowhorns on it within a year. Made me start pulling wheelies which broke the frame!

PM, was 'Possesion' the one with the white Rolls Royce? That episode kept me awake for nights! I spoke to my sister today, she reckons shes got a couple of DVD's, so I should be able to check them out.

I remember Within These Walls as being utterly bleak as well.

And I've asked about this before.. Anyone remember 'Escape Into Night'? A bit like 'Children of The Stones' only seriously scary.

Planet Mondo said...

VS - the White Rolls Royce episode is One Deadly Owner - I watched it for Halloween viewing, It's the one I remember from the original run and yes it terrified me too

I do remember Escape into night and posted about it here.


I read the book to my two recently and spooked them right out.

I also used to find Mr Johnny from Carrie's War lumbering and creepy

Ishouldbeworking said...

"Gotobed in Druid's Bottom." ( 'Carrie's War')