Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Screw Politics! I'm Having a SEVENTIES FLASHBACK!!!

I need a break from American politics. As the band Chicago sang in the early 1980s, “Even lovers need a holiday far away from each other.” And I need a holiday from Barack, Hillary and John – in the worst sort of way. Too much of a good thing makes Andy a dull boy. That’s why I’ve decided to take a much-needed stroll down Memory Lane.

Yes, ladies and gents, I’m feeling nostalgic for the 1970s. During the Sizzlin’ Seventies, I was a kid growing up in sunny southern California. Most people dismiss the 1970s as a time of malaise and decline, but – excuse my French –there was a lot about those times that kicked ass.

So, as a public service to highlight the positive aspects of the 1970s, I’ve formed a list of FIVE THINGS FROM THE 1970s THAT SOMEBODY NEEDS TO BRING BACK.

In no particular order, here are five things about the 1970s that ruled and deserve to be resurrected:

1. Sid and Marty Krofft Shows: You must remember Sid and Marty Krofft, the Montreal-born geniuses that gave us H.R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville, Land of the Lost and – my personal favorite, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (left). These killer dudes took big-headed puppets to the next level, infusing a combination of wry humor and psychedelic fashions into their TV shows. And who could forget the brilliant stop-motion animated dinosaurs in Land of the Lost? No wonder the Krofft Brothers are thought of as pioneers of children’s television. Please, somebody, bring back these TV giants.

2. Citizens’ Band (C.B.) Radios: “Breaker one-nine, I got a Smokey report. Looks like we got ourselves a Bear in the Air, a Kodiak with a Kodak. Smile and comb your hair and while you’re at it, move on down to the diesel digit, ‘cause the bearded buddy is in a lean and hungry mood. His 10-20 is double nickels past Bun Boy in Baker. Stack them eights all the way down the interstate to Texarkana and keep on truckin’, good buddy. This here's Gun Dog, over and out.” Need I say more? (Right: Forty channels of pure C.B. heaven!)

3. Monster cereals: Remember Frankenberry, the strawberry-flavored corn and marshmallow concoction with the non-threatening pink Frankenstein – brought to you by the good folks at General Mills? Remember Count Chocula (the brown Dracula)? Boo Berry (the Peter Lorre-esque blue ghost)? Fruit Brute (the fruity werewolf)? What about the unjustifiably forgotten Yummy Mummy (whose stint in the cereal world spanned the less glamorous yet still vital years ’88 to 94)? I’m telling you: Cereal didn’t get any better than this. The best thing about these cereals was how they transformed the milk into a refreshing fruity beverage. And I still have fond memories of that Ben Kenobi sticker I found at the bottom of my Frankenberry box in the fall of ’77. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

4. Sasquatch: The 1970s was really the Golden Age of Bigfoot. I’ll never forget watching the 1972 tour de force Bigfoot: Man or Beast on Saturday night Creature Features back in about ’77. After that, I had all the zeal of a new convert and I vowed to become a Bigfoot hunter extraordinaire. Bigfoot was the undisputed king of the cryptozoological world, and I spent many a Sunday afternoon huntin’ down strange footprints. I formed Bigfoot clubs with my cousins. We studied every single frame of the legendary 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film (shot in Bluff Creek in northern California, pictured right). We went hiking up to the woods where a Utah woman allegedly spotted one of the hairy humanoids. Sadly, we never found anything. But the fun was in the hunt itself. These days, you don’t hear much about Bigfoot anymore. But back then, Bigfoot was all the rage. He was in movies and on lunch boxes and he even turned up as a character on the Six Million Dollar Man. Does it get any cooler than that? A more important question: Where is Sasquatch now that we need him/her?

5. Kung-Fu Grip G.I. Joe: Finally, is there any way we can bring back the classic old G.I. Joe with the peach-fuzz hair and beard? When I was a kid, I admit I was pretty right wing. I thought that America could do no wrong, Gerald Ford was God, and G.I. Joe kicked commie ass (I still haven't changed my mind about Ford). At a certain point, they got rid of the peach-fuzz Kung-Fu Grip-style G.I. Joe and replaced him with some lame non-descript “action figure” that was interchangeable with every other lame “action figure” at Toys R Us. My personal theory is that classic G.I. Joe bore too strong a resemblance to the late, great Victor French who played Isaiah Edwards on Little House on the Prairie and Mark Gordon on Highway to Heaven. Hmm. I smell a conspiracy. And I have reason to believe that the same puppet masters behind Roswell and the JFK assassination are responsible. But please, whatever you do, don’t quote me on that.

Old-school G.I. Joe with the Kung-Fu Grip (left) and the late, great Victor French from Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven (right, pictured with co-star Michael Landon). Note the resemblance. Coincidence? Or conspiracy? You be the judge.

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