Little kids can say the darndest things. Like when, during casual conversation, a grown-up uses an adult phrase like “He has big teeth like Potsie,” or “I’ll bet she has a fancy stick on her glasses like Mrs. Howell,” and the little kid then responds to that by saying something humorous like, “Who?”
Recently, one of my younger co-workers, (for this column and the sake of discretion, we’ll call her Sarah Maxwell,) wrote a column pointing out how amazed I am every time I use some old television reference, and it goes straight over her head. That is usually due to the fact that she was born in late-December 1989. I told her that I possess clothing older than that. She thought I was joking.
During our conversations, many times she’ll tilt her head to the side and look at me with this “How much television did you watch?” kind of look on her face. I then feel required to point out that during my childhood, I did actually go outside every now and then. After all, I don’t care for commercials. Since easily 78 percent of all references that I make have to do with cheesy 1970s television, Sarah gives me that look a lot.
In a way, I feel sorry for young, innocent, naive Sarah and for that matter, I feel bad for the majority of the youth of today, since 92.68 percent of the knowledge I have accumulated comes from television shows produced from 1960 to 1985. This “Golden Age of Television” helped shape me into the man I am today. Soft and pear-like.
With the sincere sympathy that I feel for poor little Sarah, I’ve taken it upon myself to come up with a list of must-watch television programming to help bring her up to speed. Here it is, in no particular viewing order.
“Hogan’s Heroes:” The majority of what I know about World War II comes from this fine production. Did you know that all Germans speak perfect English? Neither did I.
“Starsky & Hutch:” Even though I grew up amongst the corn stalks of northern Illinois, I felt as though I was a worldly lad because I knew of the urban plight taking place in fictional Bay City. Plus, Huggy Bear taught me some excellent fashion tips that I carry with me to this very day.
“Gilligan’s Island:” All of my maritime expertise comes from the Skipper and Gilligan. Granted, they did wreck a boat, but they managed to turn a three-hour tour into a lifetime of Mary-Ann and Ginger on a tropical paradise. This has to count for something.
“Go-Go Gophers:” Everything I know about the taming of the wild west comes from a combination of this show and “F-Troop.” which are basically the same show — one’s just a really racist cartoon while the other is a really racist sitcom.
“Alf:” People can tell me that “Star Trek” was the prototypical masterpiece that all future science fiction beliefs were based on, but I prefer my space aliens to look like muppets and feast on felines.
“Little House on the Prairie:” I developed my finely-honed sense of humor from this program. Do you remember during the opening credits when all of the girls are running down the hill and sweet, little Carrie biffs it and falls flat on her face? Makes me chuckle every time.
Add to this list shows such as “Alice,” “The Jeffersons,” “Mannix,” “Fantasy Island,” “Hee-Haw,” “All-Star Wrestling,” “Captain Kangaroo,” “Family Feud,” “Good Times,” “Baretta,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “Super Friends,” “The Price is Right,” “Chico and the Man,” “Laverne and Shirley,” “The Brady Bunch,” “The Monkees,” “Knight Rider,” “Gunsmoke,” “The Carol Burnett Show,” “Bewitched,” “All In The Family,” “The Waltons,” “The Love Boat,” “Barnaby Jones,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Walker Texas Ranger,” “MASH,” ‘Maude,” “Dynasty,” “Facts of Life,” “Eight is Enough,” “Dallas,” “The Dukes of Hazard,” “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” “Roller Derby,” “The Muppet Show,” “Leave it to Beaver,” “Night Court,” “Donny and Marie,” “Real People,” “H.R. Pufnstuf,” “Romper Room,” “The Newlywed Game,” “Sanford and Son,” “Growing Pains,” “The Banana Splits,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Three’s Company,” “Bonanza,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Wonder Woman,” “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Green Acres,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” “The Rockford Files,” “Match Game,” “One Day at a Time” and “The Pink Panther,” and you begin to have a virtual plethora of small-screen knowledge. (I should note that this is intended as only a partial listing but should help any young person on the way to becoming a well-rounded adult. In other words, soft and pear-like.)
I’ll have to tell Sarah about this great idea of mine and show her this list a little later. I have to be quiet right now because we just gave her a bottle and put her down for her afternoon nap.
You can contact Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on his blog at http://gregwallaceink.blogspot.com.