Spoons Coffee Shop, which usually has impeccable taste in music, this morning was playing the tune whose refrain ends “And a Panama hat with a purple hatband!” I first heard this song on an old local talent show in which lip-synching was considered a talent, an idea that seems more and more appealing as “American Idol” progresses. And this led to an attempt to remember the truly awful Saturday-morning and weekday afternoon television shows broadcast in Baltimore during my youth, such as:
The Jackson Five cartoon (Michael the scamp, Jermaine the heart-throb. If the other three had niche roles, I can’t remember what they were, but one wore a hat.)
The Jerry Lewis cartoon
“The Doubledeckers,” an utterly bizarre British import, notable only for featuring a young Peter Firth, notable only for being the older brother of Colin Firth. Okay, that and Equus, and maybe Roman Polanski’s Tess.
Underdog (Yeah, I’ve been told I bear a strong resemblance to Sweet Polly Purebred.)
Hercules, which screwed up the classical training of an entire generation by making Daedalus the villain.
Then there were the endless reruns of The Big Valley, broadcast every afternoon in Baltimore, Monday through Friday. I think I saw every episode two or three times, but the only one I remember is Barbara Stanwyck being locked up in a neighbor’s basement and threatened with a chicken. Wait — her sons threatened the Chinese houseman with a chicken after he offered to swear on a Bible that he didn’t know where the family matriarch was.
Clearly, I’m in no position to look down on the Rugrats.