With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens…Chapter Thirty-Six: Pop Culture Tried to Kill Me Again…

Congratulate me, Modern Borefare readers – Ol’ Kentucky Jay has joined that exclusive fraternity of hapless homo sapiens whose nighttime slumber has been raucously interrupted by a heavy metal soundtracked rendition of “Red Dawn” – *sigh* – The original movie is staggering like an intoxicated Theta Chi pledge around the cable channels nowadays (along with the inexplicable combination of “Tower Heist”, “The Gauntlet”, “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”, “Grumpier Old Men”, and “The Great Outdoors”), so any daily tune-in to the so-called “idiot box” makes a tete-a-tete with Swayze & the Wolverines an inextricable collision. On the evening prior to this nightmare, I had dined on cheesecake, lemon water, macaroni-and-cheese sliders, and magic marker fumes…do you sense any relevance?

1985 saw the resurgence of Anthology TV – “The Twilight Zone” was resurrected on CBS, debuting with the frightening episode, Shatterday, starring Bruce Willis as The Man Who Called His Apartment to Hear Himself Answer the Telephone; “The Ray Bradbury Theater” debuted on HBO with William Shatner confronting the horrific playground of his youth and Drew Barrymore hearing the screams of an invisible woman; “The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents” returned to NBC to creep and tingle, alas but for one season. Ol’ Kentucky Jay was cuckoo for these programs, feeding his mind with the likes of the original “The Twilight Zone” and “The Outer Limits”, supplemented with comic book marathons of “The Unexpected”, “Ghosts”, and “Weird War Tales”. Steven Spielberg got into the game, too, in ’85 with “Amazing Stories”, loosely based on the science fiction magazine of the Pulp Era, and via contribution has enriched this thirysomething’s appearance on the planet (or tainted, depending on viewership) without hope of restoration. Great timing, too, as the Superfriends franchise was reaching its legendary end…

The sci-fi/fantasy/horror series ran for two seasons, ’85 to ’87 – never a ratings winner, often being outrun in its time slot by “Murder: She Wrote” on CBS and “MacGyver” on ABC. Hence, the show has become a footnote, a blip, an “oh, yeah, I kinda remember that…”, particularly as we moonsaulted into the 1990s and embraced “Tales from the Crypt” as our new hero. Full episodes are on YouTube and Netflix; I own Season One on DVD. Try to find it, strive to champion it, let it up and down your spine pace and stomp hyenas (let it live on/in ya for a spell, kids)…I guarantee satisfaction. HEY! I steered you towards “The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show”, “Cannonball Run II”, and “City on Fire”…my track record speaks like Godzilla from the dais of the Roast of King Kong on “The Dean Martin Show” – LOUD AND CLEAR. A few outstanding episodes:

Mummy Daddy — A horror movie filmed in a swamp where the legend of a true mummy persists, with the stuntman portraying the mummy experiencing misadventures as he races to a local hospital for the birth of his first child – HEY! THE EPISODE HAS BRION JAMES! (below) THAT GUY! YOU KNOW HIM – THAT GUY!:

The Mission — The trapped gunman in the WWII flyer that just lost its wheels, so the airplane can’t land without killing the lad! How does the gunman survive? Pancakes? Angels? The Return of the Minnesota North Stars? The movie features Kevin Costner, Kiefer Sutherland, and Casey Siemaszko as the trapped soldier; do the math, kids, that’s TWO Young Guns for the price of one hallmark episode that, if anyone remembers, is regarded as the acme of the Amazing Stories mythos:

Remote Control Man — Joe Average buys a television that replaces his obnoxious family with Templeton “Face” Peck, Arnold Jackson, and June Cleaver, with cameo appearances by KITT and the Incredible Hulk. *WHOMP* Your brain just fell to the tiles – RETRIEVE IT AND GAZE:

One final non sequitur before I eat my supper: Lately, I have also been thinking about the one movie I’ve seen in the theater that broke. The film *popped*, then fizzled, and the audience groaned. Has anyone endured this episode in his/her moviegoing lives? To have the movie bust? Well, the projectionist remedied the temporary interruption, and the manager provided free popcorn to all patrons in the packed theater, as the movie resumed. Still, for thirty years, I’ve been haunted by the face I saw on-screen as the film crapped out:


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