Friday, February 24, 2012

Nearly Forgotten TV Shows, Part One

I grew up on TV, there's no denying it. It fostered my love for everything fantastical. Many shows were copycats of very successful films, others were so completely original that it held my fascination for each episode's full 30 minutes (which includes commercials, because as a kid I loved commercials too).

Here's just a small sampling of shows that seem to have been forgotten by most of us. If you're a child of the 80s, I'm hoping to jog your memory of some fun shows that I enjoyed as a kid.

Automan. 1983-84. Tron had been a huge hit the year before, and Automan attempted to capitalize on the film's popularity.  I remember being mezmorized by the hero's awesome Lamborghini. The computer generated car was capable of turning at 90 degrees...just like Pac-Man. I remember that Desi Arnaz Jr. played the computer whiz and Automan had find blowdryer styled feathered hair. And somehow the two could actually combine to form Voltron, er, one super-hybrid being. What a winning combo! But alas, the show only lasted 13 episodes.




The Greatest American Hero. 1981-83. I remember re-enacting this TV show on the playground, although I was always cast as the villain. I was in the 3rd grade when this show premiered, and it looked like a goofy take on Superman - which was pretty astute for an 8 year old, as the show was hit was lawsuits by the the owners of the Superman franchise. Anyway, this show was about an English teacher named Ralph that receives a superhero suit by aliens. But the idiot loses the instructions. So he sucks at being a superhero, often flayling around in the sky rather ungracefully. I can recall almost all of the words to the show's theme song, "Believe it or Not."



The Phoenix. 1982. It was the Summer of '82. My St. Louis Cardinals were on their way to an incredible World Series Championship, and the TV show The Phoenix came on the air. It had such a fantastical element, and I loved mythology as a kid. And this show combined my love of sci-fi and fantasy - plus with a nice superhero twist. Basically, this alien dude named Bennu is stuck in suspended animation in some ancient Incan tomb, only to awaken by the work of archeologists. Bennu goes on a quest to find his fellow alien love, who is buried somewhere in America. But the Feds want to use his powers for secret missions. Sucks that the show only lasted the 90 minute movie premiere and another four episodes.



I love YouTube...allows me to wax nostalgic when I get to thinking about my long lost, nearly forgotten TV shows. More fun and obscure shows are on the way, so stay tuned.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Next Week: The Premiere of Alex J. Cavanaugh's CassaFire

23 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Scary but I remember all of those. And the theme song for Greatest American Hero. Couldn't go anywhere in high school without hearing it.

Rusty Webb said...

I can still sing the theme to The Greatest American Hero today. I loved all those shows, and drove myself mad a month or two ago trying to remember Automan, I kept thinking and thinking and couldn't remember the name of the show. Thank you. Great stuff.

I can only hope Manimal shows up in one of your future posts on the topic.

The Desert Rocks said...

Wow, I guess I was too old to appreciate these. Never even heard of them. Thanks for the education?

Julie Dao said...

I've never seen any of these shows, but I know well the nostalgia for good TV back in the day! My "day" was 90's Nickelodeon... some of the most underrated shows and cartoons were on when I was a kid. Nothing like the crappy stuff kids today have to watch!

Dafeenah said...

Never heard of any of these, but I did grow up way out in the boonies where cable tv still does not exist even in 2012 so back when I was a kid we got 3 channels, static, fuzzy, and blurry lol. I never watched tv much growing up which is probably why I don't watch it at all as an adult.

Jay Noel said...

Alex: I was just telling someone that I remember seeing the guy that sang the theme song (Joey Scarborough) on Solid Gold.

Rusty: You know me too well! Manimal WILL be making an appearance.

Eve: All three shows were on the air when I was between 8-12 years old. Greatest American Hero is the least obscure of the two, and it was on the air for a almost three years. Maybe you were too busy watching Dynasty???

Julie: I'm a bit older than you, as I spent the 90s finishing high school and graduating from college. Nickelodeon in the 80s was VERY different from the 90s. Kids these days don't have much of a selection, do they?

Dafeenah: You're probably a better person for it. TV has made me into a pop culture lover - especially the 80s.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

The only one of these I remember is the Greatest American Hero, because we used to watch it with our kids. Liked the show, and loved the theme song. The shows of this ilk that were on when I was growing up were pretty god-awful by today's standards. Like "Flash Gordan" ... would you believe you could actually SEE the lines holding the "spaceship" in the air?

M Pax said...

The only one I remember is the Great American Hero. They made a huge deal out of it as I recall when it came out. The song was very popular.

Jay Noel said...

Susan: I think I liked the show because of Connie Sellecca!

Mary: They've talked about rebooting the show for years now, but I doubt it'll ever happen.

Peggy Eddleman said...

I remember the Greatest American Hero, but just barely. My biggest memory of tv shows is Battlestar Gallactica, The A Team, and McGyver. Mostly McGyver, because it came on after our bedtime, but we could ALWAYS talk my dad into letting us stay up later if we used the phrase, "Dad, can we please stay up to watch McGyver?" He'd say yes, then stop whatever he was doing to come join us.

Christine Rains said...

Ha! Automan. Wow. I haven't thought of that show in years. I liked it when it was on, sad to say.

Mr. Shife said...

Loved, loved, loved "The Greatest American Hero." I still have that song stuck in my head. I have not seen an episode in many, many years but I don't think I want to see one because I am sure that show does not hold up through the years and I don't want to ruin my memories. And thank you for the reminder.

Leigha David said...

I'm a 90's kid so I sadly didn't have the luxury of knowing any of these, but now I'm inspired to make a post about my childhood favorites. :)

Melissa Bradley said...

Oh how I loved these shows!! You are too cool for posting about them. I also remember a show called Salvage 1 with Andy Griffith and Joel Higgins. Junk man with a space ship.

Jay Noel said...

Peggy: I am still a HUGE fan of McGyver. The coolest thing he built was a hand glider out of duct tape.

Christine: It was gone in the blink of a cursor!

Shife: Yeah, the song gets ya. It didn't hold up well at all. The best special effect was probably the UFO.

Leigha: Yes! Nothing beats nostalgia. The 90s had some good TV (i.e. Saved By the Bell)

Melissa: Oh my Gawd! I remember that show. I was 6 or 7 years old. And it had the guy that later became the father on Silver Spoons!

Jenna Howard said...

I had such a huuuuuge crush on Chuck Wagner thanks to Automan. I even dragged a friend along to the auto show here to get his autograph when I was 10. God knows what happened to the picture. I remember watching Into the Woods on PBS a few years ago and going "Gasp! Automan!!!"

I also remember trying to play Believe It Or Not on the piano. My memories are foggy of the show but the theme song...always remembered.

Jay Noel said...

Jenna: That's hilarious. I couldn't think of the actor's name, but thanks to you, I Googled him. He actually helped save the sea turtles at the site of the BP oil spill in the Gulf!

Some girl did a dance routine to Believe It or Not at some talent show. I think she tried to imitate the dude flying in the air.

Lynda R Young said...

I only have a vague recollection of Automan, but I loved Greatest American Hero and I especially loved Phoenix (but no one else in the family liked it hahaha).

Aguilar Elliot said...

haven't seen any of these, i'll have to check 'em out!

Jay Noel said...

Lynda: Automan and Phoenix were barely on...but they sparked my imagination as a kid. The Phoenix show just seemed so incredibly other-wordly, which I loved.

Aguilar: YouTube rules!

Ciara said...

Okay, so don't laugh, but I LOVED The Greatest American Hero. LOL. Of course, now that song is stuck in my head. Ugh!

Lydia Kang said...

I loved the Greatest American Hero! That theme song is so freaking happy.

Jay Noel said...

Ciara: It was such a fun show, and it was sad that they tried to bring it back three years later. People discover his "secret identity" (which is weird, because he never donned a mask) and so he has to find a new hero, and he chooses some lady.

Lydia: The song has held up pretty well. Dated, but still singable!

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