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Ed Driscoll

There is No Hell, There is Only the 1970s

March 13th, 2014 - 9:44 am

Free to be You and Me, the craptacular 1974 ABC special is explored by Kyle Smith of the New York Post:

Billionaire “Lean In” author Sheryl Sandberg praised “Free to Be” and says she plays the album for her children. Its star and developer, Marlo Thomas (of the sitcom “That Girl”), accurately said last year in a blog post that the show “became a coined phrase — a cultural touchstone — that spoke of the times in which we lived.”

And what times they were! Times of hokey “message” entertainment, singing jocks, humorless cartoons and revolting sweaters.

The show, which is of course unwatchable today except perhaps in states with generous attitudes toward self-medication such as Colorado and Washington, was an hour-long special that meant to tell little girls they could be anything they wanted, and little boys they could be anything they wanted too, provided that what they wanted was to be girls.

The program’s most searing and indelible moment was the horrifying sight of Rosey Grier, a huge man once known as one of the most ferocious players in the NFL, strumming a guitar, smiling like a brain donor and singing “It’s All Right to Cry.”

And that’s the Weimaresque 1970s in a nutshell: every man became Alan Alda for a few years — even Rosey Grier.

The horror. The horror.

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All Comments   (6)
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Rosey was born in Cuthbert, GA, as was I
Not many of us can claim that
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Rosey Grier: "It's all right to cry."

Henry V: "It's all right to cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war."

Sneaky Snowden: "It's all right to let slip the docs of war."

Pres. Obama: "It's all right to ladle BBQ sauce on the dogs and let slip a burp."
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even Alan Alda wasn't Alan Alda in 1974. The first several seasons of M*A*S*H, if done today, would have Alda and Larry Gelbart brought up by the Hollywood PC police on charges of condoning sexual harassment (though I suppose given both Alda and Gelbart's political leanings, the brunt of the criticism would likely fall on Fox Business contributor Wayne Rogers).
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, sorta. In those early seasons Alda played along, and along with Rogers and the exquisite Larry Linville they made perfectly riotous comedy. (And how does anyone think "Hot Lips" got her name anyway?) When Alda took control and dragged in the somnolent Mike Farrell and David Ogden Stiers the laughs were quickly replaced by haranguing liberal BS. "Absurdity of war" became treacly "anti-war" ... and the rest is history, so to speak.

Of course it was still popular, but like a few other rare gems from the late '70s (e.g., SNL), it just kept burning the fuel of its early geniuses.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
M*A*S*H started out as a comedy really not all that much different from the military comedies of the late 50s and early 60s, except they took more pleasure in making the top brass look incompetent. But the story lines were, in large part, farce -- M*A*S*H actually stole the foundation plot for it's "Five O'clock Charlie" episode from a Season 1 episode of McHale's Navy, entitled "Washing Machine Charlie" ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZT7Dt1Yu5U -- where, ironically, the first actor you see in the episode is Mike Ferrell, in a bit part as a gunner)

There was still a little comedy bite left in M*A*S*H through Season 7. The final four seasons are for the most part painful to watch, where the writers care more about the drama segments than the comedy ones, and the cast earnestly over-acts because they're no longer in a military comedy, but in a show that was a Message for Our Times.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, Rosie (one assumes the name was ironic at one point) Grier was also heavily into needlepoint ...

http://www.crochetconcupiscence.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/rosey-grier.jpg

... so maybe he's not the best manly choice anyway. Man, the '70s were ugly.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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