It’s February, 2020, and my youngest kid has seen a lot of great TV and movies.
Do you remember how fun it was, when you were young, to be excited, and worried, and, every so often, a little frightened by what you saw on TV? I sure do, and my older kids, now
teenagers adults, probably do as well.
I was born in 1971, which put me at ground zero for all sorts of Saturday morning mayhem, syndicated afternoon fisticuffs, and imported Japanese destruction. These were revealed, in the cold light of adulthood, to be more than a little phony. Captain Marvel never once fought Mr. Mind’s Monster Society of Evil, because he was too busy reminding Timmy not to go whitewater rafting on a full stomach. The Sleestak had these crossbows which were slightly less threatening than a Nerf gun. Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers did indeed fight Bigfoot and the Fembots once or twice, but they spent most of their time driving around Burbank looking for counterfeiters in turtleneck sweaters. The Space Giants fought the same monster for four episodes in a row because the producers couldn’t afford a new monster costume every week.
But a funny thing happened. I maintained my nostalgia for these shows regardless, collected them as best I could back in the heady, ridiculous days of VHS tape trading, and dumped them on my children in the early 2000s and watched them eat them up. Sometimes literally. Those tapes were kind of fragile, it turned out. Eventually, when they were a little older, and these old shows started coming out on DVD, we started watching them together with a little more structure, and added one or two similar programs that excited, thrilled, and occasionally traumatized British audiences in the mid-to-late 1970s to our rotation.
The result was some of the happiest experiences of parenthood. Whether watching my boy get so excited that a beloved arch-villain had returned that he started weeping, or my girl look at her toys and her inflatable chair in abject horror, convinced that they were now about to come to life and eat her, we can and do look back with smiles and laughter. There’s something about the shared experience of watching classic adventure TV as a family that turns the mediocre into magic, and the low-budget into life-fulfilling.
This blog began shortly after my youngest son turned four. Since 2015, we’ve been watching a pretty wide range of family-friendly adventure shows from about 1966 through the present day. Some of them have stood the test of time and are, sensibly, considered classics. Some of them were awful then and nostalgia hasn’t improved them one bit. We’ve looked at programs that I loved as a child as well as shows from the UK that I really would have loved had they been shown here. I’ve picked up several shows on a whim and we’ve investigated them together. Along the way, we’ve been introducing him to a few classic science fiction and monster movies, usually on Sunday mornings, and even a thriller or two that’s been a little outside his wheelhouse.
I started this blog hoping that he enjoyed everything. He certainly hasn’t; The Clifton House Mystery and King of the Castle really tried his patience, but the recurring gag at this time is the Doug McClure-William Shatner spy/western series Barbary Coast, which was a punch line in the first place, and which he really loathed. I thought it was pretty good, myself, far better than its reputation suggests, but I’m probably the only one.
Anyway, I hope that you out there reading this will remember how much you enjoyed the TV of your yesteryears as well. Please feel free to share and to comment, but please remember this is a family-friendly blog. We do not allow negativity in the comments; polite disagreements are welcome, even about politics, but the only person allowed to be a jerk in these pages is the author.
A Note on Sources
I wish to set a good example for my son about piracy, artist’s rights, and ownership, and so, wherever possible, we will use legitimate sources – DVDs that somebody has purchased – for the shows that we watch. On rare occasions, but only if the disks are out of print and unavailable for reasonable prices, we may use YouTube for limited samples of the program. Examples for this include The Bugaloos (before I landed a copy) and Lidsville. If the TV series has never been released legitimately in the English language on DVD, then we will not feature it at this blog. I hope that favorite shows like Horror Hotel, The Space Giants, and Salvage-1 are released in English, and soon, so that we may enjoy them again.
An Additional Note on Not Being a Content-Stealing Jerk
As noted at the bottom of each page, I create the illustrations for each post. I don’t claim copyright over screenshots – that would get stupid in a hurry – but if you’re going to use my screenshots, please don’t be a dick. Taking it with credit and a link is absolutely fine. Passing it off as your own work is pathetic. I credit other people when I use their stuff; I bet you can as well.
If you would like to support this blog, you can buy us a DVD of a movie or series that we’d like to watch one day. We’ll be happy to give you a shout-out and link to the site of your choice when we write about it. Here’s our wishlist!
If you were inspired, excited, or horrified by something from TV or the movies when you were a kid, we’d love to hear from you! Share your terror and memories in a comment below!