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Late Night Re-runs (Circa mid-80s)

By: Lazlo

In the mid-80s, when I was around 13 or 14, I used to love to stay up late on Friday nights and watch the programming of this particular local TV station, which ran several old series in a row. Even back then, I was into retro pop culture, and I loved seeing these old TV programs, all of which carried some of the flavor of their respective eras. Although my parents were always squeamish about my staying up late, they were a little more accepting of my doing so on Fridays and Saturdays, since the day after is not a school night.

The evening would start right after the 11:00 news was over. At 11:30 would come the first program in my Friday late night schedule: the original Battlestar Galactica, which ran for a few years in the late '70s. I remembered the series when it first came out (and I was 7 or 8), but didn't get as much into it until my early teens and the shows re-emergence on late night re-runs.

I absolutely loved the original Battlestar Galactica, the '70s post-Star Wars style sci-fi, the action, and in particular, the concept of a race of humans escaping from their doomed world, fighting off a predatory alien machanized race called "cylons," and risking it all for the hope of a new home: "a shining planet known as earth."

Now heres when some will consider my viewing choices to veer toward the geeky. But so be it! After the original Battlestar Galactica, the rest of the night veered toward the 1960s. The next show in line was The Patty Duke Show, which ran during the mid-'60s, around the time the musical British Invasion brought the Beatles and their kin to America's shores.

The Patty Duke Show featured the novelty of the namesake actress, the young Ms. Duke, playing two roles: that of nearly identical cousins, Patty and Cathy, who are otherwise complete opposites. This program is a remarkable time capsule of that era, and you can practically imagine the Beatles or the Stones or some folkie group on the radio. There was even an episode where Duke herself performed Herman's Hermits' '60s era hit, "I am Henry The Eighth (I Am)." I remember loving this show for that reason, even as a someone in his early teens during the '80s.

Then came two more light-hearted, gentle comedies from the late '60s and early '70s. First, Family Affair, a gentle late '60s sitcom, which I found sometimes a little too cutesy. But it was there to watch, so I did.

And then the Doris Day Show, another gentle comedy which ran from 1968 to 1973. In looking over the show again on Youtube, I can now tell that most of the shows I saw came from the early '70s, where a plot shift took the main character (Doris Martin) from being a widowed mother to two young boys living in a rural area, to moving to San Francisco and being a reporter for a glossy magazine.

As with the others, part of the appeal of the show was just how "'60s" (or early '70s, as the case may be) it all looked. This was not the '60s of long hair and hippies (although I kind like that too), but rather the modish Swinging '60s.

Now way past midnight, the evening ended with Elvira's show, featuring some usually cheap horror flick with the hostess' comments during breaks. By this point, I was probably very drowsy, and likely to either call it quits and go to sleep, or to fall asleep watching the movie. Suffice it to say this is the last I remember of those evenings.

This article by the writer of Retro-Awesomeness (An 80s Blog).

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Lazlo Posted on Jul 26, 2017 at 02:28 AM

Hey Hoju Koolander, OldSchool80s, NLogan and Vaporman87. Anyone remember this?

Meet Cathy, who's lived most everywhere,
From Zanzibar to Barclay Square.
But Patty's only seen the sights
A girl can see from Brooklyn Heights -
What a crazy pair!

But they're cousins,
Identical cousins all the way.
One pair of matching bookends,
Different as night and day.

Where Cathy adores a minuet,
The Ballet Russes, and crepe suzette,
Our Patty loves to rock and roll,
A hot dog makes her lose control -
What a wild duet!

Still, they're cousins,
Identical cousins and you'll find,
They laugh alike, they walk alike,
At times they even talk alike -

You can lose your mind,
When cousins are two of a kind.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Jul 25, 2017 at 04:40 AM

Late night TV was always an adventure. I remember Hercules In New York playing a lot in the 1am slot, with Arnold making his pecs dance. I also watched a lot of The Patty Duke Show late on Nick At Nite when I couldn't sleep as a kid. That and Doby Gillis were always in rotation for me along with the old Dennis The Menace show starring Jay North.

OldSchool80s Posted on Jul 22, 2017 at 02:20 PM

Hey Laz, thanks for sharing. What a strange combination of shows. I remember watching Battlestar when it was in primetime, but not really in syndication where I grew up. I do remember watching Family Affair in syndication, but it was during the day (not late at night). I do have fond memories of staying up late to watch Elvira's scary movies, but it might be more fond memories of just seeing the sexy Elvira herself. One thing I remember staying up late on Saturday nights to watch in the market I grew up was wrestling shows. They showed World Class Championship Wrestling out of Dallas late on Saturday nights and then I also remember that was when GLOW was on as well. I also loved getting to stay up late to watch Saturday Night Live when I was deemed old enough for that.

NLogan Posted on Jul 22, 2017 at 01:33 PM

Cylons were awesome.

Vaporman87 Posted on Jul 22, 2017 at 07:47 AM

I tried so hard to stay awake some nights as a kid, but often found it to be futile. However, when I was able to do so, Elvira was always there to greet me. Her and old Godzilla movies. And if I made it almost all the way through, I would be treated to random women in leotards and leg warmers sticking their butts in my face while saxophone music played. Seriously... who was watching this?

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