I’m putting together a speech I have to give - no, get to give, because life is fun. Start again. I’m giving an address on the 70s. Subtitle: was it the worst? I’m going to make the case that it was the worst, but of course I’m kidding. The 30s and 40s had some bad patches, I understand.
In order to know what I’m talking about I’ve had to reacquaint myself with the culture of my early teens, and it’s not fun. It’s so cheap. I mean, the credits of Cannon featured something America was apparently clamoring to see:
STARRING BILL CONRAD’S EAR
BILL CONRAD'S EAR IS A QUINN MARTIN PRODUCTION
There were 124 episodes of Cannon. I'm glad Bill got a hit after all the years toiling in radio and getting passed over for Gunsmoke because he had the physique of a medicine ball, but it says something that people just sat down and watched that show because it was on.
That's the thing about the 70s, I guess: we watched it, because it was on.
The weekend didn’t have the usual quantity of televisual entertainment, because I didn’t want to watch anything. I had series that I was following, but felt no need. Except for Feud, because of the acting and subject and period and all that. In other words, I wanted to watch it. I didn’t want to watch the other shows I supposedly liked.
I like them, but they require certain moods. Legion is almost hallucinogenic, so you have to be in the mood for that. Colony is great, but it’s an ongoing story with an ongoing plot, so I have to be in the mood for something that isn’t going to be over now. There’s that Icelandic crime show, but it’s depressing. I could start American Crim” but I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to feel guilty about something and deplore America. Because Crime.. I could continue 24, but I lost all interest. I could continue to watch MST3K, but I’m resisting it. Thought I would fall right into it, and something about it pushes me away, and I don't know what it could be. Aside from the cast, the voices, and the rushed pace.
The very thing that makes modern TV so different from old rote TV with its one-off eps and no continuity is the same thing that makes it feel like a duty some times. Maybe that’s just me.
Meanwhile, over in Feudland, there's someone you may or may not recognize.
This isn't from the TV show. Doesn't quite fit the way the show depicts events. As previously discussed, there was the hagsploitation or psycho-biddie genre, requiring faded grand dames to abase themselves in the new cheap-shock schlock genre.
It's who's standing next to Crawford that caught my eye. The first victim of the JFK assassination cover-up!
Just kidding. But that's what some say. Odd note, and true: I first encountered Dorothy Kilgallen in a Mad Magazine parody of something satirizing the use of the -Rama suffix, if I remember. She was called Dorothy Kilfifth, which might have been a reference to her drinking.
Anyway, when I was talking about the cheap-shock schlock genre last week, this is what I mean when I say things were starting to curdle.
The rise of the campy over-acted axe-murder genre. And it was written by Robert Bloch, too.
He'd done better.
Here's that doc:
The closing credits:
I wonder how much Castle had to fight for that. Or whether the studio said "what the hell," because it wouldn't hurt the brand beyond one movie.
Of course, there's a complete compilation of the Torch Lady's changes over the years, here. That sent me to look at other logo changes, and before I knew it I had spent an hour looking at the rise and fall and rise of movie logos . . . which made me think about production company music. Let's do a test, shall we? Name . . . that . . . studio!
This is a beautiful piece of CGI, which, for a time, turned into a rather banal logo.
The most recent vesion is lacking.
This is just rote, but it gets out of the way in time.
Listen close to the end, the little twinkling notes; there's something so hopeful about that. It's the 90s! Things are going to be great and there will be space stuff!
Probably my favorite, in its finest version.
The oomphed-up most recent version, which tries a bit too hard.
Can you name them all?
It's a page of people who do things and say things. This week we have a page of second-tier notables - by modern standards, I mean; they're not household names - from 1938.
Her obit said: "Exhibit No. 1 for all who have faith in America and the democratic process."
If you're thinking Spalding Sporting Goods, you're right! Sort of. That was his uncle.
They were made of stern stuff:
Upon the United States' involvement in World War II, Assistant Secretary of State Adolf Berle successfully urged Spalding to accept an assignment with the Office of Strategic Services. He was posted to London, for six weeks, and then served in North Africa until he was ordered to Naples where he was attached to the Psychological Warfare Division of SHAEF. In 1944, Spalding gave a legendary concert to thousands of terrified refugees stranded in a cave near Naples during a bombing raid.
Can someone tell me why there hasn't been a movie made about this guy?
I keep telling you about 70s nostalgia for the 20s. This artist was in great demand for his John-Held-Jr knock-offs.
Who wouldn't want one? Let's get one and make our lives easier!
It costs HOW MUCH
WELL FORGET IT
$270 in 1972 - that's about $1,500 today.
You can pick one up for fifty dollars now.
Speaking of pricey appliances:
This was the height of tech in the early 70s - it had gauges so you could tell when the music was too loud! Those switches under the cassette port - they weren't cheap. I mean they didn't feel cheap. The whole thing felt solid.
All for cassette tapes.
Many of these ads are from the New Yorker, which had a high percentage of ads for sheets and towels.
The pillow case looks you're stuck in a frame of college art student's animation project.
Wide lapels, black belt, white shoes - it's the king of the singles lounge:
"Casually sophisticated." Half right.
I'm sure this car has many fans to this day, who praise it for its innovations or solid performance or something. It seems a bit top-heavy to men.
In German humour, a Manta joke (German: Mantawitz) is a joke cycle about the Mantafahrer ("Manta driver"), the male driver of an Opel Manta, who is an aggressive driver, dull, lower class, macho, and infatuated with both his car and his blonde hairdresser girlfriend.
The joke pokes fun at a stereotype of working class owner of a second-tier muscle car, typified by the Opel Manta. Mantas were targeted at buyers who yearned for a sports car but could not afford a status car such as a BMW or Mercedes. Proud Manta owners often decorated them with chrome, G-T stripes, muscle tyre, high-beam, etc., to mimic the exclusiveness of race cars.
The jokes poke fun at his vanity, dullness, etc.
What was left after a fatal Manta accident? - A golden chain and a hairdresser in mourning.
What is the shortest Manta joke ever? - Ein Manta steht vor der Uni (A Manta is parked in front of the university).
What does a Manta driver say after crashing into a tree? – Komisch--hab doch gehupt! ("Odd. I did honk!")
This I never knew. And there's more:
The popularity of such jokes spawned two successful movies (Manta – Der Film and Manta, Manta, the latter starring Til Schweiger as the Mantafahrer).
This is my favorite thing I've heared today.
Like I said, New Yorker, sheets, etc.
The bedcover is one thing, but are those drapes? That would be bad. Are they covering a headboard? That would be bad. Yet they all ended up in a guest room at the house in Connecticut, used perhaps three times in ten years.
The dirtbag-used-car-salesman wasn't just a joke, something people invented to parody the period. Humans willingly close to dress like this.
Line forms on the dock, ladies.
That'll do for today! Don't miss my MONDAY newspaper column! Just click on the Star. You know: The big green Startribune Star.