My friend Frank reminded me today of a horrible time in my childhood. The day
"The Great Space-Coaster" went on the air.
More on that later.
The conversation brought to my memory some of the great kids show I grew up watching in the 70's. Some of these shows were great! Some of them sucked... badly. But, they all merit being on my list, if only for the memories they bring:
Zoom - 1972 - 1978
A weird show I don't really remember. Every time I turned it on there was a "rainbow" of greasy-haired kids (sorry... an engrained image in my brain of 1970's youth) running around, some times in and out of big cut-out letters spelling ZOOM. I never really liked the show, but only because I didn't know what was going on. (What's up with that girl in front... the one with the greasy hair?)
3-2-1 Contact - 1980 - 1992
I only remember the early years of this show, and had no idea it ran as long as it did. I remember I loved listening to the theme song, then I'd change the channel.
The Electric Company - 1971-1977
It was like a variety show for kids. Some of the regulars on the show were Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno (my first love), Mel Brooks, Joan Rivers and Gene Wilder. And Spider-Man even showed up from time to time! It was awesome. I also remember seeing George of the Jungle, and the "your driving me up the wall" cartoon. (You gotta love the 'fro on Freeman)
The New Zoo Revue - 1972
This was my "Barney". I remember really liking this show, but I don't remember why. I remember a tree-house, where an owl lived. And of course, Henrietta Hippo (not my first love). I also remember reaching into my stocking one Christmas and finding small rubber New Zoo Revue toy characters. (notice how the frogs mouth is askew. They never fixed that during the entire run of the show.)
Mr. Roger's Neighborhood
I liked Eddy Murphy's Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood better. With Mr. Rogers, I was ready for nap time.
The Great Space Coaster
This abomination of a kids "educational" show came on the air in 1981 (I was 11 years old).
If you never heard of this show, Wikipedia describes it as follows:
"The show is about three young singers (Francine, Danny, and Roy) who are brought to a habitable asteroid in space by a puppet clown character named Baxter who pilots the "space coaster", a rollercoaster-like spaceship. The asteroid is populated by strange-looking, wise-cracking puppet characters like Goriddle Gorilla, Knock-Knock the bird, Edison the Elephant and Gary Gnu, who hosts the "Gnus of the Week"."
The Great Space Coaster initiated what I like to call, The Dark Ages of Children's Programming. This dark period in human history began with the final season of The Electric Company in 1977, and ended around the time Barney came along, and we grew tired of the colorful yet deceitful feminization of our culture. At that time, children's television entered a type of renaissance, which... oh, whatever... I just wanted to bring back some memories.
Have a great weekend!