Saturday, November 05, 2011


Ah, I should never have posted that Bert Parks clip yesterday.  It served as a virtual portal to hell, a hell long-time readers of this site (both of you!) know all too well: The seventies variety show.

It seems utterly inconceivable that in 1976, the year the Sex Pistols recorded Anarchy In The UK, the year Taxi Driver was released to theaters, a year in a decade in which everything changed at tremendous speed, TV executives still held so tenaciously to what had worked before.  Except it didn't work anymore; the variety format was obviously dead if the best it could muster was Telly Savalas.  It's a terrible idea even in theory.  Did they really need to produce this thing--and worse, put it on the air?--to realize this?  Did they think anyone could possibly enjoy this?

'76 must have been the year TV executives just collectively decided to throw anything on to see what would happen. If Telly Savalas could have a variety special, why not Paul Lynde? Sure, and why not feature musical guests KISS and--the horror! the horror!--Florence Henderson? People will watch, won't they? Won't they?

Also in '76, The Captain And Tenille got their own regular series! So they could do things like this, thus scarring an entire nation.

And it's not like this celebration of sub-mediocrity was limited to variety shows. You could be innocently watching your favorite large-breasted action heroine when suddenly you're forced to ask yourself, "Why is Wonder Woman singing? And how can I make it stop?"

And then the horror would escalate, because if she could sing as Wonder Woman, suddenly someone thought it would be a good idea to give Lynda Carter her own variety special. And then they gave her another, and another, like she was good, like they were entertaining, when it should have been obvious that, Lordy, no, this was not entertaining in the least.