Friday, October 14, 2011

Late Night Re-runs (circa mid '80s)

I've been recovering from a strong bout of the flu, or something flu-ish. I guess spending so much time at home gave me time to think. For some reason, I started to remember some shows I used to watch late night on Fridays. Although my parents were always squeamish about my staying up late, they were a little more accepting of my doing so on Fridays and Saturdays, since the day after is not a school night.

In the mid-80s, when I was around 13 or  14, I used to love to stay up late on Friday nights and watch the programming of this particular local TV station, which ran several old series in a row. Even back then, I was into retro pop culture, and I loved seeing these old TV programs, all of which carried some of the flavor of their respective eras.

The evening would start right after the 11:00 news was over. At 11:30 would come the first program in my Friday late night schedule: the original Battlestar Galactica, which ran for a few years in the late '70s. I remembered the series when it first came out (and I was 7 or 8), but didn't get as much into it until my early teens and the shows re-emergence on late night re-runs.

I absolutely loved the original Battlestar Galactica, the '70s post-Sta Wars style sci-fi, the action, and in particular, the concept of a race of humans escaping from their doomed world, fighting off a predatory alien machanized race called "cylons," and risking it all for the hope of a new home: "a shining planet known as earth."

Heres the opening credits. The "shining planet known as Earth" reference was from the closing credits. Its all good.

Now heres when some will consider my viewing choices to veer toward the geeky. But so be it! After the original Battlestar Galactica, the rest of the night veered toward the 1960s. The next show in line was The Patty Duke Show, which ran during the mid-'60s, around the time the musical British Invasion brought the Beatles and their kin to America's shores. 

The Patty Duke Show featured the novelty of the namesake actress, the young Ms. Duke, playing two roles: that of nearly identical cousins, Patty and Cathy, who are otherwise complete opposites. This program is a remarkable time capsule of that era, and you can practically imagine the Beatles or the Stones or some folkie group on the radio. I remember loving this show for that reason, even as a someone in his early teens during the '80s.

Then came two more light-hearted, gentle comedies from the late '60s and early '70s. First, Family Affair, a gentle late '60s sitcom, which I found sometimes a little too cutesy. But it was there to watch, so I did.

And then the Doris Day Show, another gentle comedy which ran from 1968 to 1973. In looking over the show again on Youtube, I can now tell that most of the shows I saw came from the early '70s, where a plot shift took the main character (Doris Martin) from being a widowed mother to two young boys living in a rural area, to moving to San Francisco and being a reporter for a glossy magazine. 

As with the others, part of the appeal of the show was just how "'60s" (or early '70s, as the case may be) it all looked. This was not the '60s of long hair and hippies (although I kind like that too), but rather the modish Swinging '60s. 

Now way past midnight, the evening ended with Elvira's show, featuring some usually cheap horror flick with the hostess' comments during breaks. By this point, I was probably very drowsy, and likely to either call it quits and go to sleep, or to fall asleep watching the movie. Suffice it to say this is the last I remember of those evenings.