When I was a kid, my parents weren't terribly concerned about things like 'cultural enrichment' and 'making memories'. But despite their best efforts at being the prototypical 70s/80s parents, they did introduce us to things that heightened our awareness, and created long lasting, treasured memories.
I was, for instance, the only kid ever to go to fifth grade with chicken liver paté in my lunchbox.
I am not the only child of that era who has many memories of family bonding over a TV dinner, eating by the warm glow of the television. Television was our main source of entertainment on a daily basis. A favorite program wasn't constantly available, it was an event. Unless, of course, your mom could remember or your dad could figure out how to set the VCR (or Beta, if you rocked that), and how often did that happen? Next to never.
So primetime was exactly that - primetime. With the exception of Dallas (which was TV crack for my parents), we watched television as a family.
Greatest American Hero
Ripley's Believe It or Not!
The Love Boat
And many more.
And for one, glorious season - 22 magical episodes - Tales of the Gold Monkey. it was like Indiana Jones meets Casablanca meets Hogan's Heroes. it had everything you could want in a show - romance, intrigue, humor, a dashing main character, bad guys, a one-eyed dog, and Roddy MacDowall as a bartender named Bon Chance Louis. Bon Chance Louis! Quite possibly the best character name ever.
Jake Cutter was a pilot, flying in and out of Boragora, and fighting evil and bagging babes and tossing them back in the local watering hole. There were episodes involving nuns and natives and the Japanese and malaria. It seemed, at least to 10 year old me, to be extremely well written, very exciting, and worthy of accolades and awards. The rest of my family seemed to agree.
Unfortunately, the television executives did not, and Tales if the Gold Monkey was cancelled. It was crushing news.
Today, as I watched my kids flip through eleven billion channels to find exactly what they were looking for, and then go to On Demand or Netflix or DVR or Hulu or Roku when they didn't, I though about how TV isn't special anymore. It's just there, a big box, too full. It made me miss sitting around with my parents, getting crazy excited about a television show, and waiting all week for the next episode.
What shows did you watch as a child? Were they family events?
2 weeks ago