The name of the show was Turn-On, released 2/5/69. I was 13 years old and had heard about this new show coming on that was, in my now dim recollection, created by a computer. Well, I was all over that. Anything to do with computers fascinated me, and being a true 60’s child, I was into anything new, exciting and different.
Supposedly this would be the evolutionary leap from Laugh-In. Not sure what happened, but something sure went wrong. I vaguely remember watching the first episode and just not getting it at all. Which makes sense that I wouldn’t because, according to what I just read in Wikipedia, nearly all the jokes were about sex, and I wasn’t quite 14 yet, so, yeah, I wouldn’t get it.
What attracted me to this show when I first heard about it was that it was that a computer created it. Now, I’m not sure what that means, exactly, as all the HAL’s back then were these room-sized mammoths with punch cards. All the music for the show came from a Moog synthesizer, so you can bet I had to see the first episode.
And only episode.
Yep, as Tim Conway (yes, the Tim Conway), the show’s one-and-only host said, the studio powers-that-were pulled the plug on it before the half-hour was up. Consisting of lots of stop-action and animation, the show’s format disturbed people so much that it went to an early grave. I’d like to find it out there somewhere just to see how strange it was.
But, you know, there have been plenty of other shows that barely made it out of the starting gate. And, there are a bunch still continued to writhe on our screens long after they should’ve been pulled. Here are just a few:
Heil Honey I’m Home! (9/30/90). This was a British concoction featuring lampooned versions of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun who live next-door to a Jewish couple. Did no one ever say, “Uh… this might not be a good idea?”
South of Sunset (10/27/93). Yeah, we did this one. Glenn Frey of The Eagles as a private investigator. “Dammit, Jim, I’m a musician, not a detective!”
Now the next one is in a category all to itself. Not as weekly show, this was a one-shot holiday special, known as…
The Star Wars Holiday Special (11/17/78). This beast came out on network TV a year after the original Star Wars, airing around Thanksgiving. With a cast of Wookies, most of the original Star Wars cast, Bea Arthur, and Art Carney, everyone gathers to celebrate Life Day. I watched it when it came out, expecting something at least resembling Star Wars. Nope.
Then there are the shows that stayed on for several episodes, even occasionally a couple of seasons before, thankfully, they were axed. Take, for example, Homeboys in Outer Space (‘96-’97), which has the typical opposite buddy pairing of Tyberius Walker (James Tiberius Kirk, get it?) and Morris Clay tooling around space in the Space Hoopty. Somehow they even got James Doohan for a couple of episodes. This little winner lasted, someow, for 21 episodes.
And what about Me and the Chimp (1972), starring (?) Ted Bessell, about, aw, you guessed it, a family who adopt a chimp, with all the usual folderol and high-jinks. The show actually lasted 13 episodes. C’mon, couldn’t they have given Ted a better chance? That Girl wasn’t that bad.
Time for me to go. Honey Boo Boo is on soon and I don’t want to miss one single minute.
‘til next time… Adios.