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blue girl

"Gilligan's Island" was always *just on* -- can't say I loved it at the time. But of course I've got loving memories of it! (I was also shocked that Bob Denver was 70 -- I never ever thought of him as a grown up)

But I did love "Bewitched" and for some reason -- is this one embarassing?? Gomer Pyle!! I haven't seen it in so long -- I don't even remember why...I just know I loved it. Maybe it was his innocence and how he drove Sgt. Carter crazy and then Sgt. Carter would become a big's kind of coming back to me.

My very favorite show ever when I was a kid was "All In The Family." -- Still love it when I'm rambling through the channels and it's on. That one's got a special place in my heart.

This other favorite is not in the same categoy and I think somewhat embarassing -- but I *loved* Starsky & Hutch!! I even had David Soul's -- I want to say album -- but, I think I might've just had the 45 -- with the little plastic thingy that went in the center to make it fit onto the turntable.

Good times. Good times.

mrs. norman maine

Couldn't flippin' stand Gilligan or the show as a kid, and certainly not now. On the other hand, Nick at Nite's showcasing of Dobie Gillis went a long way toward making Bob Denver palatable to this viewer. It was a hep-cat show.

But the reason that I, too, was floored by Denver's age is probably two-fold. First, he did all those reunion specials and movies, so we saw him in over and over, in full-Gilligan character, long after the actual show had died a merciful death.

The second reason is clunkily obvious; he was simply a boyish-looking man. I don't know if he was intellectul or deep or soul-sick or whatever, but he just had one of those boy's faces all his life.

I have a brother-in-law like that. I'm aware that, factually, he will be 50 in the not too distant future, but I suspect I'll still be stunned when the great day comes. And 20 years later, I bet I'll be shocked that he's 70 (but, one certainly hopes, healthier than Gilligan).

Favorite kids' show? Brady Bunch. There's no defending it. I loved the fantasy of being part of a big family.

It is what it is.


Westerns. Sugarfoot, The Rifleman.

Prime-time cartoons (they existed before The Simpsons and King of the Hill). Huckleberry Hound.

I'm not even embarrassed about it, either.

Agi T. Prop

I get your drift Lance. I think the repetitive nature of TV lends itself to the present. In our 500+ channel universe it’s possible to find almost any show ever made on the air at some point. My wife and I have been watching Golden Girls re-runs lately. I’m not sure why. But it’s a funny show and the humor and the situations are still perfectly relevant today.

I don’t think all movies grow out of date. Movies might be temporal in their essence but they contain universal non-temporal themes. I was more into movies than TV growing up. My childhood era consisted of a lot of Family Ties

Oh, and I’d consider myself a Mary Ann guy. Ginger always seemed too fake for me.

PZ Myers

Gilligan bored me, but I remember Maynard well. I watched Dobie Gillis when I was pretty young, but I already had presentiments that I was going to be a Maynard -- out of sync with everyone else, definitely not the pretty boy popular with the girls. I could identify.

When I did watch Gilligan's Island, I identified with the Professor. On the question of Mary Anne or Ginger, the answer was both. After all, the Skipper and Mr Howell were right out, Gilligan was a child-like doofus, so I figured the Professor was getting double-teamed a lot off camera. The main appeal of that show was the fantasy of what was going on that they couldn't put on the air, you know.

As for other childhood programming: Bullwinkle, and Beanie and Cecil. They were on every Sunday morning, I recall, and I preferred them to church. I wonder...maybe they contributed to my atheism!


PZ, You do know that Cecil wasn't a real seasick sea serpent. There are no sicksick sea serpents. God put their bones in the fossil record to test your faith.

All the non-seasick seaserpents drowned in the Flood because Noah couldn't fit them on the ark.

Link, there is absolutely no reason to be embarrassed about Huckleberry Hound. Anyone who says there is is a commie! "Oh my darlin, oh my darlin...and her shoes were number 9!"

Agi T., I didn't mean to say that all movies are dated, just that when I watch them I am aware of them as existing in time. They don't seem irrelevent, just historical. I know that Barefoot in the Park is taking place in 1963. I don't mind it, and it doesn't stop me from laughing at the jokes. But I don't know that about Dick Van Dyke while I'm watching.

Mrs M, The Brady Bunch? The Brady Bunch? You are banned from this blog.

Blue Girl, I'm guessing then that Owen Wilson starring in the Starsky and Hutch movie was a dream come true for you.


I loved The Monkees, which were in reruns on one of the local Kentucky stations. (They must have been low on cash, or they would have had the Brady Bunch.) When I first saw that show, I was a little one, and I thought that they were in the 80s, too! My mother had to gently explain to me that Mickey was an old, old man ...


But now, Mike Nesmith is my fave. Call it maturity. Maybe it's that adorable hat!

harry near indy

i'm old enough to remember seeing the dobie gillis show during its first run, and i liked it better than gilligan's island. and it was a better show.

a lot of sitcoms in the middle to late sixties were cornball. i dream of jeanie, watchable nowadays to see barbara eden in a pg-rated version of a harem slave-girl's costume. my mother the car? gilligan's island?

thankfully, norman lear and grant tinker brought to tv better sitcomes -- all in the family and the mary tyler moore show, respectively.

my favorite tv show as a kid -- the dick van dyke show. i thought buddy sorrell was THE BOMB! as a teenager -- laugh-in. after that, i didn't want a lot of tv until the 1980s, where i'd have to go with homicide, cheers (with kirstie allen and woody harrelson), law and order the first and the svu version (rip, jerry orbach) and SEINFELD.

mac macgillicuddy

"Anybody else have this experience?"

Are you kidding? I'm still reeling from your revelation that Gilligan was Wrong Way Feldman. 40 years, and I had no idea until you said it!



I didn't phrase that right, I guess. Hans Conreid played Wrong Way Feldman. If you listen to his voice in your head, you can tell. I meant to separate Gilligan's dreams from the shows with guest "stars". I guess Don Rickles counts as a real star, though. Phil Silvers too. I'm not sure about Zsa Zsa Gabor.

blue girl

Lance, Starsky and Hutch -- the movie -- was BAD! They did the TV series no justice at all! (hee-hee)

Mrs. M -- I liked the Brady Bunch too! Who doesn't like THAT theme song? All their little heads in those squares beaming at each other...

Pepper: Did you ever see the Brady Bunch one where Marcia meets Davy Jones? (Didn't he go to the Prom with her? Pepper, go here:

Lefty Louise

Television is far more dated than movies or films or flicks or whatever those things on the big screen are called.

Whatever those big cinematic things are create their own large world, unless they are something dull and claustrophobic, like Lost in Translation. Oy. Sorry. Just can't miss the swipe. Did I say oy?


My brother watched the Brady Bunch all the time when we were kids. Hearing that theme song makes me want to use those squares on the screen for target practice.


harry, if you're gonna mention My Mother the Car, I'll raise. Car 54, Where Are You?


I watched them all as a child in the late 50s. Liked Leave it to Beaver. Anyone remember the Cheyenne epsiode with the burned grizzly? Scared me to death.

As to the timelessness factor; most that are mentioned are comedies. Comedies are more timeless than drama, especially in contemporary settings. Period dramas often hold up well, as do period films. The Deerhunter, as good as it is, holds up less well than MASH (the film).

Once upon a time (early 70s?) a young woman, recently graduated from (I think) Harvard published a short piece on feeling old. It may have been in TV Guide. She pined for the days of coming home after school and watching Leave It To Beaver. I, of course, watched it in prime time trumping her "oldness". No satisfaction of course. But it strikes me that TV was always part of our lives and provides a vivid link to our youth. Movies were special events, they don't remind us, to cite an example, of chocolate marshmallow ice cream on Tuesday nights while we watched Dobie Gillis.

Exiled in NJ

It's syndication, Lance, that made you feel that way in the beginning back in the B.C.~~before cable~~days. My daughter would watch Gilligan, Beaver, etc and have no idea when they were made. To her Three's Company and Island were made just for her. Cable only amplifies the connection to the past by giving us more choices.

"You've got spunk, Mary.......I hate spunk."

mrs. norman maine

Mudge, recently caught a Leave it to Beaver I'd never seen before -- The Beav spends his haircut money on something else, or loses it; Wally tries to help by taking the clippers to Beav and ends up giving him a Mohawk.

Yes -- it was the infamous shaved beaver episode!

(Man, there used to be great shows on before school in the morning. Leave it to Beaver, The Munsters, Rin Tin Tin and My Three Sons. No cable necessary.)

Lance, as you can see I'm not the only one taken in by the lure of the BB. Not to get all heavy on your ass, but I think it might be broken home syndrome. My sister still obsessively watches The Waltons.

Kevin Wolf

Great post Lance. I see what you're driving at and I think maybe one key is the length of the two forms, movies and TV (esp sitcoms). A successful movie creates a complete, rooted world (rooted in time and place) because it can - it has the running time and usuallly the budget. TV shows tend to be free-floating pieces of cultural flotsam. As Lisa Simpson said at the end of an episode once - doesn't matter where they end up, next week all will be back to normal.

I never liked Gilligan or the Brady Bunch or that stuff, even as a kid (which is not to say I didn't waste time and brain cells watching them).

My favorite show was definitely "The Wild Wild West" - too cool and still fun when I catch it. After that I liked a short-lived Bill Bixby vehichle called "The Magician" where a professional magician solved crimes. He had his airplane, man. What's not to like?


mrs. norman maine got it right. Bob Denver's looks never changed, even when he was 70 years old. No wonder he seemed too young to die of old age.

Maynard G. Krebs on "Dobie Gillis" was the ONLY good depiction of a beatnik on television or in the movies, EVER. Part of it was Denver's total lack of condescension towards the character, sort of like Sean Penn in "Ridgemont High." I felt sorry for him being in "Gilligan's Island," since it was obvious it was what he was going to be remembered for the rest of his life.


Never could sustain interest for a full episode. Get Smart, on the other hand, I would rearrange my life to see a lesser episode for the 4th time at a certain age. There's no accounting for taste, and that goes double for eleven year olds.

Exiled in NJ

I wrote a piece for a mystery newsletter on another site about surfing the Dish and always finding some cable network showing Columbo, my all-time favorite. Wrote this in 2003 or 2004. At that time the man in the trench coat was spending more time finding killers than O.J. Simpson.

One tip, Lance: if the men have those mutton chop sideburns, it was probably the 70s.



Now Get Smart was a comedic masterpiece and I hope it comes out on DVD soon.

I've heard a frightening rumor that someone's making a movie version of it, with Steve Carrel, the 40 year old virgin, as Maxwell Smart. Shudder.


My first thought was that the TV shows came into my home. I grew up hearing their voices in my house. That made them more real and timeless.

Lance, I was Gilligan in middle school. An unfortunate haircut and a cruel bully made it so.

I wanted to grow to be Rob Petrie though. He had the perfect life. (The only part I got right is that I trip over the rug every time I come home. Well, I did marry Laura, only sexier, but completely unwilling to stick her toe in the tub spout.)

I'll see your "Mother" and "Car 54" and raise you "The Flying Nun" and "Petticoat Junction."

Lance, bad news

harry near indy

linkmeister and domoni, i beg to differ on you about car 54. it was good. it wasn't crap. joe e ross? fred gwynne? al lewis? and it was created by nat hikin the genius behind you'll never get rich/the phil silvers show, which starred phil as SGT BILKO, one of the great tv characters.

another decent show from the '60s -- the addams family, especially john astin as a slightly unhinged gomez. and you know he and morticia didn't have twin beds, like the petries did.

btw, did you know that the first bob newhart show was the first tv series to show a couple in bed? damn fall out from those hedonistic '60s!



Did you know that when he was cast in the Addams Family movie Raul Julia had never seen a single episode of the TV show. Then he watched about a season's worth and he was absolutely floored by John Astin? He claimed that he decided he couldn't play Gomez any better and so made his Gomez a tribute to Astin's.


Bad news indeed, especially because neither Mel Brooks nor Buck Henry are listed as the screenwriters. A lot will depend on the rest of the casting too. I wonder who will play Hymie the Robot, programmed for goodness and niceness? Please, God, don't let it be Will Farrell!

blue girl

Addams Family, Bob Newhart and Maxwell Smart -- all great ones! Lance, what's wrong with Steve Carrel playing Maxwell Smart?

Stefan Straub

I'm a little bit late on this thread and I grew up in Germany. When I was a kid we had an old black and white tv and there were only three channels. Commercial television only really started in Germany in 1985 . One of the first shown on RTL, the biggest of the new channels, was a late night strip show (quite tame actually). I was fifteen at the time and I was very interested ...
Lance: I agree David Hyde Pierce is a wonderful actor. I love Frasier but I always thougt that Pierce was much funnier than Kelsey Grammar. The Valentine episode has some of the best physical comedy I have ever seen. Great timing.
I don't watch a lot of television (mostly soccer), maybe because I didn't get hooked on the tube as a child, but it's alway such a gift to see a great comedian. Like it's the case with most europeans my feelings towards the USA are somewhat mixed (and the last five years didn't help at all). But when I watch Groucho and Mrs. Rittenhouse ... I can forget about politics and war and life doesn't seem so bleak for a while.
Making people laugh is a great gift. Comedy, especially physical comedy, can even help to bridge some of the cultural divide, at least for a short time. Experiencing what other people enjoy and laughing with them helps to understand them better. And when I think of the USA I'd rather think of Groucho Marx than of GWB.

Too long and too serious maybe..
anyway ..

Hooray for Captain Spaulding! Why a duck?


Ah, childhood tv! Fury (the story of a horse and the boy who loved him), Rin Tin Tin, Sky King, Zorro, Elfago Baca (the cat with 9 lives), Spin & Marty, Circus Boy, Beaver (and I had a crush on Miss Landers), Dobie Gillis (for which I fondly will remember Bob Denver... couldn't stand GI), Bilko, and Superman (of course). And remember Flash Gordon serials?

Speaking of Bob Denver, did you see Evanier's piece?


(Slaps forehead!)

And how could I forget the "Swamp Fox"?!? Leslie Nielson played Francis Marion, the Revolutionary War hero who drove the Brits crazy from the Carolina swamps.

At confirmation time (Catholic then), we had to choose an added name... someone who affirmed our faith and would guide us in our adulthood. Sister Cecelia went around the classroom asking which saint each kid had chosen, and the answers were mostly predictable: Joseph, for Jesus' stepdad, Paul for the 1st evangelist, John, etc. When she called my name and I replied "Francis", she said "Oh good! For St. Francis of Assissi?" I said no, it was for Francis Marion... the Swamp Fox. She jumped out from behind her desk and stormed down the aisle to my seat. She grabbed the short hairs of my sideburns and began shaking my head back and forth until I had tears rolling down my cheeks.
Maybe that's why I don't object to paying for cable. Tv came with a price back then too...


Lance -- Hymie the Robot, hmm, Jason Lee? Jenna Elfman? Of course, they'd have to change the name.

Harry near Indy -- I never said (or thought) "crap." I liked cornball then. As I got older I wanted something with more substance, but in to 60s it was all cornball for me.

Others I watched -- Green Acres, That Girl, Family Affair (the kids were from near Indy also). I was a kid. I demanded cornball.

I wish television was like my XM. I need a 60s channel and a 70s channel. Some nights I still need cornball.



The Valentine was what I was thinking of when I said David Hyde Pierce was one of the two best. That was great. The look on his face as he kept passing out! Marvelous!


Thanks for the link. You know, I saw that Dobie Gillis revival and it did stink!

Blue Girl,

Anybody but Don Adams as Agent 86 would appall me, and unfortunately Adams himself is too old to do it.

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