Yeah bitch I had a nanny. She was always there for me, sitting on here big console ass in the living room. I loved nanny RCA. Yeah I'm talking about the TV. Sheesh. Who do you think raised me? So here is a short list of Great Moments In TV that shaped who I am, kind of.
1. The Incredible Hulk!!- If only because I hear the same story about it at a family gathering at least once a year. OK..when I was little..say 4...I used to sit up real close to the TV. I mean mighty close...about 3 inches from the screen was optimal viewing. When my Aunt would babysit me if it happened to be the night Incredible Hulk was on there was a little trick her husband liked to play on me...and I guess it would be pretty funny, especially as stoned as he probably was. On a commercial he would change the channel and I would get my face right there in the TV so my nose was almost touching it. When the Hulk came back from commercial it was always a clip of the Hulk all super mad and swinging his huge arms and going Aghhhhhhh!!!! He would change it over to that at just the right moment and scare the living shit out of me. I guess having an angry Hulk right in my face was the stuff of my 4 year old night mares. But hey..I probably had a contact high too.
2. The Bionic Woman-
She changed my name. Well, she was the reason I changed mine. All my life I had been called Jamie by my family and that was all well and fine until I started preschool and everybody called me Jamie Summers, after the ol' gal. Little boys don't like being teased by being called names of girls...so when I started Kindergarten I was also trying out my new identity of James.
Back before cable my grandparents had something called UHF or U...something that was similar. I remember it was a big event one Friday when my mom, step dad and I went over to watch Halloween II.
It was the first horror movie I remember watching, I was probably 5 or 6, and it kick started an obsession I had with them growing up. I was the boy in the neighborhood whose parents didn't set any boundaries about what he watched...and I was everybody else's ticket to see the latest Friday the 13th.
Anyway...Halloween II scared me big time. The image of the pumpkin on the credits started off freaking me out. To this day automatically pick my feet up off the floor if I'm sitting down and the theme come on. For some reason I think Micheal Myers is gonna grab me feet. Michael was the source of many of my childhood fears. There is a scene in the film where Micheal get to the hospital room that Jamie Lee Curtis is supposed to be in..goes to the bed and assumes the shape under the covers is her and really goes to town on the stabbings. But then he realizes there were just some pillows on the sharp end of his love and he gets really pissed. Well I had a plan for when Michael finally showed up in my room. I was going to strap packets of fake blood to the stuffed Cheetah I slept with every night...so when Micheal started stabbing he would see the blood and move along. I had many other horror movie related neurosis, but thats one of the first.
Right after the movie was over the Playboy Channel came on and my Grandma switched the station. My step dad started arguing with her about how fucked up that its ok for me to watch teens getting slaughtered but bare boobies were a no no. He did have a point, but I love my Grandma a fucking ton so I still have to side with her...25 years later. Besides. I wasn't interested in seeing the Playboy Channel then and I'm not interested now.
4. Epic Mini-Series. I remember watching 80's mini series events more vividly than things like my birthday. I was 8 when "The Day After" made its big debut in 1983, but I was overly paranoid about nuculear war for the rest of the decade.
I think that same year "The Burning Bed" gave me some great idea's for dealing with a certain step father that was a raging alcholoic at the time..and not a very nice one.
"V" was a god damned weeklong event that captivated me then...and it stands the test of time today. It was the series where the aliens are really snake people stealing our water and using our citizens as food, while pretending to be friends. There were so many comparisons with Nazi Germany at the time, but they work great for the issue of Homeland Security today. I get excited just thinking about how awesome it is still. The clip I posted is super cheesy, so if you havn't seen it don't judge by that. But it was pretty cool at the time.
Of course I had to have been into some miniseries that were pretty gay in hindsight. For me the gayest obsession of my youth was John Jakes "North and South". That shit was tight. Patric Swayze as the Confederate plantation owner whose best friend is a prominent Northerner. Kirstie Alley was the N----- loving abolitionist who loved a fight, was kinda crazy and tended to fuck the slaves she helped free. Genie Francis, Leslie Anne Down, Robert Carradine and Forrest Whittaker were all unforgettable roles. Plus you had guest stars like Johnny Cash, Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Mitchum, Morgan Fairchild and Gene Kelly. I liked it so much I even read the 1000+ page book. And one of the sequels. I actually have a craving to go back and check it out now. It really gave me a taste of the epic all star spectaculars that TV used to make, boy did it.
5. I was going to call it a list after the mini series, but what kind of list only has 4 items? So I'm going to credit my old pal Mr. Rogers with making me believe that he liked me because I was the very best me that I could be. That was ok in the 70's.