Wednesday, September 08, 2004

 

Diary of a Pop Culture Addict (PCA).

It takes more than a pretty face to get ahead in a town as rough as Garfield Ridge. Success demands wits, agility, and the ability to sing all the words to Pass the Dutchie.

Now, I didn't become a pop culture maven overnight. Nope, it took decades of rote memorization to wire my mind into the hypercubic shape it is today. Days spent punching a finger board. Countless nights in the woods, flipping end over end in the treetops, my makeshift uneven bars illuminated by the glare of my car headlights. All this, and more.

That said, there are moments where I frighten myself. Like tonight.

On my way home from work, while contemplating my first move in the Oliver Reality Show Challenge, my razor-edge mind came across the following name, lost to the sands of time.

John Erik-Hexum.



For those of you too young to remember, Jon Erik-Hexum was my generation's Grant Show, who was this generation's Antonio Sabato, Jr. He burst onto the scene as Phineas Bogg in the TV show Voyagers!, a bastard Thing-beast comprised of all the boring elements from Quantum Leap, Dr. Who and an ABC After-School Special. He and his sidekick used a fancy compass/ watch/ decoder ring to travel through time,performing heroic feats such as saving Sam Adams' Triple Bock recipe, stopping the Lincoln/Douglas debates, and learning valuable lessons at the expense of entertainment value.

It ran a season or so on NBC before being dumped into syndication hell for the next decade. All I really remember of the show was that it aired just before Robotech on Aurora's Channel 60. If I set the timer to videotape the latter I usually ended up catching the last five minutes of the show. Which was more than enough to steep in its suckitude.

After Voyagers!, Erik-Hexum made a big splash starring alongside Joan Collins in the Made-for-TV movie The Making of a Male Model. You young pups may not understand it now, but back in the day, Made-for-TV movies were all anybody had, so they all tend to stick in the memory, certainly more so than in today's 500-channel universe.

Long story longer, Erik-Hexum died after fooling around with a prop pistol on the set of his CBS series Cover Up. He put the pistol to his temple and pulled the trigger, not realizing that blanks can still cause damage at close range.

Where am I going with this? Don't be afraid, follow along.

So, back to the beginning: Oliver's challenge makes me randomly think of Jon Erik-Hexum-- not in a sexual way, but like a Viking. I then think about Voyagers!, moving quickly on to Erik-Hexum's co-star in his time-travels, his sidekick, this kid:




Trust me when I tell you, this wet-nose punk was fucking ubiquitous in the 1980's. Every time you turned on the TV, you saw this annoying little shit. I mean, just go ahead and visit his IMDB listing, I dare you. He makes Kevin Bacon look like Fred Ott.

Chrissakes, this snot-moppet was even in Manimal.

Moving on. Eyeing his credits, I saw a listing for a show I had never heard of before. W*A*L*T*E*R. Just from the name, I had high hopes that this show was like a TV version of D.A.R.Y.L., with snot-nose playing a robot boy/champion Pole Position player.

My discovery, however, was even more surprising, as I had found an important show I had never heard of before. This happens, of course; even I didn't see everything that made it on the air in the Eighties. One-offs and failed pilots often skirted past me, and that's what W*A*L*T*E*R was. A failed pilot starring Gary Burghoff reprising his M*A*S*H* role of Radar O'Reilly, only this time, he's a cop.

I repeat: M*A*S*H* spinoff. Radar O'Reilly. Cop show.



Sweet merciful Christ. Now, I know After M*A*S*H quite well, it's a staple in any PCA's arsenal, but how had I never heard of this show before today? I felt cheap, tawdry. The internet, however, is a wonderful playground for the insane and bored. Here's a fan page for M*A*S*H spinoffs, including W*A*L*T*E*R.

Okay, fine, great discovery Dave. Real proud, eh, you effin' loser?

As my proctologist is fond of saying, "But wait, there's more!"

What was Meeno Peluce's character's name in Voyagers!? Jeffrey Jones.

Who played the part of "clerk" in W*A*L*T*E*R? Victoria Jackson.


I tell ya folks, you can't plan it. You can't schedule it. It's just happens, and when it does, you can only hope to contain it.

Comments:
Of course, how can you not mention that W*A*L*T*E*R was directed by the mean green machince, Bill Bixby! There was a guy with talent!

Of course, lots of information can be found on dead TV shows at www.tvtome.com ; but don't say I didn't warn you, it's addicitve!

And, since Dave never could answer this TV trivia question, I will pose it to the blog-o-sphere (or at least the minimal portion of it reading here)...

There was a show, on Nickelodeon back in the mid-80's, it could be found often near "You Can't Do That on Television" "Danger Mouse" and "The Tomorrow People"... it was about a little boy and girl who were destined to destroy and alien/monster menace by use of a pink stone (girl) and a blue stone (boy). The alien/monster menace were giant underground worms or something and the show was British. Any help... anyone... come on, prove you know more than Dave!

Angus
 
Angus--

You fail to understand that you do not task me. Your petty mortal concerns about the name of some *children's* program on some *children's* network may intrigue the bedridden or infirm, but they are of no consequence to me. I lord above such piffle.

While you were watching your *children's* cartoons, I was built my first working model of the Hiroshima bomb. While you contemplated whether to purchase the My Little Pony makeup kit or the Strawberry Shortcake playset, I conquered Asia Minor.

Go, go now and concern yourself with your piffle. I have more important things to do, like dominate known space.

Cheers!
Dave
 
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