If you read my stuff then you probably know the shows I love and adore. But, what about those other shows? The shows that were on in the 80’s and I did see…but hardly ever talk about because I simply don’t remember them. It’s time to give those shows a little love!
When I talk about some shows, I have watched re-runs of them so many times that it’s no surprise I can remember episodes off the top of my head. But there are other shows that I know I watched but barely remember anything from. Except that one episode which for some reason always stood out.
Here are five episodes that were always in my memory from TV series I either hardly watched, or can hardly remember anything from. This is all 80’s stuff because I was a kid then, so it stands to reason these things would stand out wen I can barely remember any other episodes I watched. Due to space I can’t go into full series details here, so if you’re not sure what the heck show I am talking about feel free to look it up or even ask.
Silver Spoons, “The X-Team”
I really have no idea why this one stayed in my head. This show was a sweet little bland 80’s show that was so bland that I hardly remember any of the episodes I watched of it. They used to air it opposite Punky Brewster and that show was sooo much better. But it was a hit and made a star out of Rick Schroeder. The episode involves Ricky and his friends wanting to watch an x-rated movie. The steal the key from the father, did cable TV’s ever have locks?, and are able to watch the program. The funny part is when Kate comes in and catches Ricky and his friends, in a very funny moment I can’t possibly describe effectively. Maybe I remember it because it was just funny, or maybe I remember because I was close to that age and was as curious as Ricky and his friends were. Whatever the case, it was a good episode.
Diff’rent Strokes, “Sam’s Missing”
I don’t think anyone who saw this episode forgot it. Why? Is it because it tackled a subject you never see on TV? Maybe, since I was probably pretty young when it was on and this was before “Very Special Episodes” were all the norm. Ok so Sam is kidnapped by man who does the “can you help me find my dog” routine. He kidnaps him to replace his own son who is lost. I guess since they already did a pedophile episode there was no reason to go that route, these aren’t bad people just grieving people who are almost sympathetic. Almost. Long story short, Sam manages to call his real home, and Arnold (being very smart) tells Sam to give him the number on the phone. Back in the days when people had regular rotary phones with the number right on them. How could this episode go today? Anyway, of course with the phone number the house is found and the police arrive. It’s quite a scene. Sam is returned, and I get the feeling I am doing a bad job summarizing this episode. It’s a good one, from a series I quite honestly never liked.
Gimmee A Break, “Baby of the Family”
80’s TV did a lot of things people wouldn’t dream of doing today. Because it just isn’t PC. Heck, we can’t even have the Confederate flag on The General Lee anymore. People who think that is racist should see this episode of Gimmee A Break. The setup is simple. Joey is the new kid in the family, and Samantha is jealous. We’ll forget that her age in the episode makes that stupid. Joey is supposed to sing in front of Nell’s church, and Sam gets aÂ mean idea. He dresses Joey in blackface to do this number. Yep, think of the minstrel show. Well, to say the least everyone is mortified and Nell drags Joey out of there. To say she is enraged is an understatement. The speech Nell gives to Sam about what she did is very good. It’s quite an episode, and one of the first real tastes of racism I was ever exposed to. I learned something important that I never forget, and it’s a shame in today’s ultra-PC world we can’t get stuff like this on TV today.
Alfred Hitchock Presents
Yes I did watch more than sitcoms. Back in 1985 when Amazing Stories was a big hit, NBC greenlit a companion show that would air opposite it. The show was a revival of the classic Alfred Hitchcock Presents, using clips from the then-deceased Hitchcock to open and close each episode. It only lasted a season on the network and I most of the stuff was forgettable except two which I never forgot. One was called “Road Hog”. It’s hard to summarize but let’s say a road hog gets his comeuppance in a big way after his being a jerk causes an emergency trip to the hospital for an injured man to not get there in time.
The other was “Arthur, or the Gigolo”. I have never forgotten this one, and I am not sure why. Ok the first half is boring, it’s a story of a crook who marries a wealthy woman to steal her money. The woman also has a bunch of cats. The part I never forget comes in the second part. The man finally kills the woman, in a very dramatic scene, but the cat keeps staring at him. I wasn’t even a cat lover when I saw this one, but I just loved how the cats keep taunting this guy until he cracks. The guy is killed and there is a twist which isn’t really shocking, but it’s still good.
I have just found both of these on YouTube and my memory of them is pretty good considered it’s been almost thirty years! Check them out if you’re curious.
“It’s Your Move”, The Dregs of Humanity
It says something when you never forget an episode of a short lived TV series from 1985. Many people think Jason Bateman went from Silver Spoons to The Hogan Family. Well he actually had a stop along the way, this corny little show. Jason Bateman was Zack Morris years before anyone heard of Saved By The Bell. In this episode, Jason Bateman’s character creates a ficitious band for a school concert. How does he do that? He steals four skeletons from the biology lab and dresses them up! Then controlled by strings, and disguised by special effects, the skeletons perform for the school and are a huge success! The band becomes a sensation and people want to see them, well, live. It becomes a big deal, so much so that the only out is for Bateman to arrange for the band to die in a car accident. Yeah, this was a weird one. At least the car accident was off screen. To bad the skeletons were not!Â I am leaving out a lot but you get the idea. This series was cancelled after barely a season, but I never forgot this episode. WTF????
Facts of Life, “Seven Little Indians”
Ok, something silly. This is kind of a cheat, let me explain why. I saw this episode when it was first on, and never forgot it. A few years later, my brother managed to record it on a re-run and I have seen it a few times since. But I still remember the original episode to the point where I can tell you what the cut for the syndicated re-runs. That’s pretty good for an episode I saw once over twenty years ago. On a dark and stormy night, Tootie has a nightmare about a serial killer going after all of them. A Rod Serling knock off narrates the story as the girls are killed one by one. George is hung, Natalie is strangled, Blair is moussed to death, Beverly Ann is poisoned. After Jo is killed, Tootie is the last one, until from behind the counter comes Blair, in a scary as hell freight wig and heavy makeup. The music in this episode is perfect and really sells the over acting. It was always fun when they just had a fun time on this series. How could anyone forget this episode? I didn’t.
Hey I just realized these were all NBC shows. Well, guess that makes sense NBC was THE network back then. To be fair there is omne from ABC I should probably mention.
Webster, “Moving On”
I was never a major fan of this show. Much like with Silver Spoons, none of the episodes ever really stuck out for me. Except this one. The premise is simple, after Webster accidentally burns their apartment down (I do kinda remember that one), they move into a house owned by nice couple. Webster finds a secret room, and in the room is a doll sitting in a chair. Well, we don’t know it’s a doll right away. It looks like a person, just sitting there, and it scares Webster (and anyone who watched this episode). Yeah this wasn’t a message episode or anything, just had a scary scene in it. Oh, and the room belonged to the daughter of the couple who ran off and hasn’t been heard from in years. Did she ever come back? You’d have to ask someone who actually watched this series.
All of these episodes are on YouTube, so feel free to check them out. And watch TV from an era when it was actually worth watching. How about you guys? Any episodes from when you were a kid stuck in your head? Comment and let me know.