US shows dominated the TV schedules in the late 1970s and nobody seemed to complain. Saturday morning had our home grown Swap Shop but also, from far away America, came a TV series adaptation of the original Planet of the Apes movie, Little House on the Prairie and the Waltons.
But do we all remember the mawkish nonsense that was Mork and Mindy. What I love about the opening credits of M and M and other similar series was that they rushed to tell an establishing story in under a minute. So you see Mork waving goodbye to his fellow aliens, heading in an egg shaped spacecraft to Earth and then going to live in Boulder – Mork and Mindy put that town firmly on the map.
There’s some terrible US shows that have been completely forgotten. Makin’ It was a disco based series that cashed in on the Saturday Night Fever craze and starred Ellen Travolta, older sister of the man with the same surname who was the star of SNF. Ellen also played the mother of Chachi Arcola (Scott Baio) in Happy Days – which turned out to the be the happiest days of Scott Baio’s life – can’t say he made a huge impact afterwards with such turkey spin-offs as Joanie Loves Chachi and Charles in Charge.
Many of these shows were made – churned out – by Lorimar Productions, founded by Irwin Molasky. It’s interesting to me to see how many Italian American and Jewish characters there were – but hardly a black face and certain no hispanics to be seen. In all honesty, I didn’t notice this at the time but a black friend of mine who is the same age as me said he found it pretty dispiriting back in 1979 to have no role models on mainstream TV to look up to.
But enjoy some shows you may think should have been forgotten: