Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Big Grab Bag of 1970's Memories

Here we are in the 70's when everything really is horrible and it really stinks. 
The mass media, everything on television everything everywhere is just rotten. 
You know it's just boring and really evil, ugly and worse. - Lester Bangs

Lester Bangs, despite being a world class grump, was right, the 1970's were a pretty weird and unhappy time for the United States, from the National Guard opening fire on students at both Kent State and Jackson University on one end, the loss in Vietnam and the debacle of Watergate in the middle, and a great big Iranian hostage crisis to round the whole mess out. The 70's was also a time when the idealism and hope of the young people of the 1960's turned into the cynicism and self-absorption of the yuppies. It was a boiling cauldron of a time.

Probably not the boiling cauldron I was referring too, but
I've been waiting for a chance to post this cover for months.
Besides, beats posting yet another still from Bewitched

But it was also a time when African Americans, Latino Americans and Gay Americans were getting their first taste of real political and economic power, it was the era when women were making giant leaps into the working world and it was a time when ALL of them began to demand to be treated equally.

People were angry, but dammed stylish 

It was like Dickens said about another revolutionary era, "the best of times, the worst of times".

But I'm not looking to get too serious here, instead I just wanted to explain a little bit, about why it is that when you are talking about the 1970's, you get such a wide field of styles and subjects. How the same decade can produce both John Denver and Johnny Rotten, and have both of them work as equally valid symbols of their era.

Both John's are fully legitimate symbols of the 1970's, it was a complicated decade

Okay, enough preaching, let's have some fun....

Say what you will about the disgraced President Richard Nixon, but it is pretty undeniable that he truly was a cartoonists dream....

TV Guide, February 1972, Nixon goes to China

The nose, the 5 o'clock shadow, the beady little eyes, our 37th President, was a cartoon natural.

Balrog Nixon 1971

The 1970's was a great time for parody, both high..

Neal Adam's Son-O-God, National Lampoon 

And low..

Charles's Girl's, Tunnel Vision, 1976

The 1970's gave us the awesome nature shows like the Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, with narration by the great Rod Serling.

The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau

And then there was good ol Marlin Perkins and the ever endangered Jim Fowler in Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom

Of course not all television in the 70's was nature shows.

Take the classic annual TV blow-out, Battle of the Network Stars for example.

Cheryl Tiegs vs Victoria Principal

Yes, Battle of the Network Stars, where stars from major networks television programs would go against each other in silly sporting competitions that a few of them took, just a little too seriously.

Robert Conrad loses his mind on national television

In the 1970's, both Planet of the Apes and Logan's Run were made into television series with the exact same plot.

Not quite Michael York or Jenny Agutter

Logan's Run was about three people in a post Apocalypse future, moving from society to society and having new adventures in a world they don't really understand.

Meanwhile, the Roddy McDowell series, Planet of the Apes, was about three people in a post Apocalypse future, moving from society to society and having new adventures in a world they don't really understand.

A young Jackie Earle Haley is stuck in the Planet of the Apes

While the nighttime series Planet of the Apes was pretty bad, they did manage to do a surprisingly decent job with the Saturday Morning cartoon series.

The animated Planet of the Apes 1976

It was the first time that Apes were shown with aircraft and tanks, television and other items from modern society, and it was the only version I have ever seen that actually made it look like an actual PLANET controlled by apes.

And that was cool.


  1. We actually own both the APES series and also the TV LOGAN'S RUN and they all are quite a bit BETTER than I remember from my youth. You should know that it was Jonny Quest's DOUG WILDEY that did the design work on the animated APES show.

  2. I actually did not know that these were Wildey designs, but looking back at the detail and the modern styling, it makes perfect sense.

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