Highlights from the week of October 28 through November 3, 1978, via Garage Sale Finds, where you can see a lot more.
Kiss Meets the Phantom is actually Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park, and it’s one of the more notorious TV productions of the 1970s. Produced by Hanna-Barbera, it plays like a demented, less well-acted, live action Scooby-Doo episode with a hard rocking soundtrack, and for all those reasons is a must watch. A slightly different, slightly more coherent version titled Attack of the Phantoms was released in theaters outside the U.S. in 1979, and you can watch it (as of now) here. Incidentally, if there’s a place to put your “Get Your High School Diploma” ad, it’s underneath a Kiss promo.
I talk about Devil Dog: Hound of Hell here. Stranger in Our House is a fun chiller directed by Wes Craven about a satanic, teenage witch who infiltrates and terrorizes a suburban family, with Linda Blair playing the good girl. (1981’s Midnight Offerings was another TV movie with the same theme). Both films aired on Halloween night.
I only vaguely recall this two-part miniseries that focuses on the lead-up to a nuclear war through the eyes of opposing diplomats and military leaders. Not nearly as effective or frightening as The Day After, but it did premier a year earlier and was generally well received. Rock Hudson really hams it up as the POTUS, and Cathy Lee Crosby’s character is, apparently, “craving one last moment of love.” Trailer is below.
(Image via Platypus Comix)
Published August 11, 2015
Alien Trilogy , TV Guide
Could ABC not have put together a better ad for the first network showing of a horror masterpiece? Or did they not bother because half of the movie had to be cut? What’s with that shitty tagline, ABC? The original is one of the greatest ever devised! Why does Tom Skerritt look like Jesus? Why does John Hurt look like he’s humping the control panel? Why does Sigourney have a perm, and why is she holding James Bond’s gun from Moonraker?
(Image via Platypus Comix)
Published June 17, 2015
Moral Panic , TV Guide , Video Games
KATU is a Portland, Oregon station, and Town Hall was a public affairs show that aired between 1980 to 1993.
The irony is that the promo appeared in the Fall 1982 edition of TV Guide, which featured a cover story on the best video games of 1982.
Every genre movie of the ’70s starring Doug McClure (The Land That Time Forgot, The People That Time Forgot) is a classic, including this one. If you don’t believe me, read Kindertrauma’s glowing review. Unkle Lancifer calls it “the main inspiration and catalyst for this site (and perhaps my love of horror)!” As of now, you can watch it here.
Satan’s Triangle is the first movie based on and explicitly referencing the Bermuda Triangle, following Charles Berlitz’s lurid 1974 bestseller on the subject. Another TV movie, Beyond the Bermuda Triangle, starring Fred MacMurray and Donna Mills, would follow later that year.
The Bermuda Depths (1978) is another popular TV movie on the same theme (thanks for the reminder, Christopher S.).
(Image via eBay)
From The Ledger in Lakeland, Florida. How did we ever have time to leave the house?
Land of the Lost (NBC) is up against Valley of the Dinosaurs (CBS), an animated series with a very similar premise. This is the day both shows premiered. It was the debut of the new Saturday season, actually: The New Adventures of Gilligan, Partridge Family 2200 A.D., Devlin, and Korg: 70,000 B.C., another prehistoric-themed adventure (listed as `Kong – 70,000 B.C.’ in the listing), were also new.
Published January 30, 2015
'80s Movies/TV , TV Guide
Not only are there some big names in the cast, but Amy Heckerling produced and directed the seven-episode series, essentially an open-ended remake that didn’t get picked up. I just watched the pilot on YouTube and was entertained, mostly by the San Fernando Valley locations, the fashions, and the dialogue (then 19-year-old Moon Zappa consulted on high school mores and slang).
Claudia Wells (Marty’s girlfriend in Back to the Future) played Linda, the role played by goddess Phoebe Cates in the original movie; Courtney Thorne-Smith played Stacey (Jennifer Jason Leigh in the original); Dean Cameron (Summer School) played Spicoli (!); Patrick Dempsey played Mike (Robert Romanus in the original); Vincent Schiavelli and Ray Walston reprised their roles as Mr. Vargas and Mr. Hand, respectively; and Wallace Langham, who I’ll always remember as Larry’s writer on The Larry Sanders Show, played Ratner.
As critics at the time noted, the necessarily sanitized version of the film left young audiences feeling robbed, especially in the wake of the TV-safe but right-on Square Pegs (1982-1983). There’s nothing interesting in the pilot script, except for a neat segment where Spicoli gives a presentation about what makes his 13-year-old brother a “skate rat,” pointing out the bleached bangs (I had them in ’86), untied high tops (ditto), long skate shirt, etc. Little brother is played by Jason Hervey (Wayne in The Wonder Years), who steals the scene and even does a Boneless off the desk.
The catchy opening theme was written by Danny Elfman and played by Oingo Boingo. Elfman grew up where I did, California’s San Gabriel Valley, and Boingo was constantly playing local shows in the ’80s, even after they hit it big with Dead Man’s Party (1985).
(TV Guide image via Nostalgic Collections/eBay)
Published December 18, 2014
Christmas , TV Guide , Video Games
Last year I posted TV Guide’s “Best Video Games of 1982,” by Len Albin. Thanks to Tom at Garage Sale Finds, we now have the 1981 edition by the same author. Lots of handhelds listed here, including Galaxian 2, a great game from Entex that allows one person or head-to-head play, with one of the players controlling the dive-bombing aliens.
Also check out the hilarious 1974 Avon Catalog Tom found, from which you can order a Thirteen Original Colonies Pillow ($8.99), or Loop-A-Moose Game and Soap ($2.99).
Published October 17, 2014
'80s Movies/TV , Halloween , TV Guide
Johnny is dressed up as Travis Bickle, naturally. The episode is “Old Haunts in a New Age,” from October 30, 1989. As of now, you can watch it here.
Published October 8, 2014
'80s Movies/TV , Ads , Halloween , TV Guide
The Silver Spoons episode is called “A Dark and Stormy Night.” You can watch it here. Synopsis: The power goes out as the boys are watching a horror movie, and dad chides them for depending on TV when they should be using their imagination. So they gather around a candelabra and play “pass the ghost story”—which, of course, the rest of us unimaginatively watch on TV.
The Punky episode has nothing to do with Halloween, so I shall ignore it. Both shows premiered on October 28, 1984.
(Image via Nostalgic Collections/eBay)