Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Oh, Yeah

June 5 brings us The Fall Guy: The Complete First Season. Does life get any better?

Well, probably. But I think The Fall Guy may well be the ultimate, definitive cheesy '80s action show. More than The A-Team, even. This show had:

- Non-stop chases and crashes
- Heather Thomas (and starting in season 2, Markie Post)
- Lee Majors singing the theme song himself
- Scowling, growling, glowering villains
- Scowling, growling, glowering henchmen
- Lots of re-tooling and cast changes
- Actors, including regulars like Thomas, who are clearly on coke
- Plots like (from the first season episode guide): "Colt is sent to the Mohave Desert to bring back a biker wanted for drug dealing, rape and assault. He infiltrates the biker club and competes with them in difficult stunts." Or "A pretty jewel thief hops off to Mexico with Colt and his friends, joined by insurance investigator Kay Faulkner, hot on her trail."

Oh, and a writer for the show once said that he agreed with commenters that The Fall Guy jumped when they stopped putting Heather Thomas in bikinis in every episode. He claimed that this was Lee Majors' idea, because he'd gotten it into his head that he'd get more women if he became a sensitive guy. Oh, the '80s.

Update: And on the same day, we get an announcement (via's new masters at TV Guide) for a key work of '70s TV cheese: Banacek: the Complete First Season.

I don't know if you remember when A&E used to show all the old NBC Mystery Movie shows, but I do, and it seemed like Banacek was on all the goddamn time. And here's the thing: Banacek may have been the least likable hero in television history. I like George Peppard, but I hated the smug, arrogant, smirking Banacek and the I'm-better-than-everyone attitude with which he solved mysteries that eluded the police and rival insurance investigators.

Maybe it's just that it's hard to sympathize with a guy whose job it is to save money for the insurance companies -- Edward G. Robinson pulled it off in Double Indemnity, but only by comparison with a couple of murderers.


Brent McKee said...

The first season featured Joann Pflug as the woman ("Big Jack") who sent Colt on his bounty hunting assignments but she quickly bowed out of the show, apparently because she felt the show was putting her into "sex" situations (she had become a Christian by this time). Recalling the series I think she subscribed to the Kirk Cameron definition of sex.

VP81955 said...

So Banacek was the Johnny Dollar of the '70s?

Canzler Tree Services said...

Oh, the pillaging of the classics in the name of pure, 80's Velveeta!

I'm 99% certain the sequence of the biplane crashing into the shack is from "Singin' In the Rain."

Brent McKee said...

Banacek as the '70s answer to Johnny Dollar? Maybe, in a way. The thing about Banacek is that he wasn't brought in by the insurance companies, he was entirely on his own getting a percentage of the value of the item recovered and pissing off the insurance company investigators (typified by the ever yummy Christine Belford). No action-packed expense account for our Thomas; he was out to screw the insurance companies (and most of the women who crossed his path) as if it was his life's mission to take their money and humiliate their investigators. The self-satisfied smirk had a lot to do with always being the smartest guy in the room and knowing it.

Mef said...

well I'm not the one to kiss and tell, but I do have a soft spot for the Banacek with Gordon Pinsent


as the bad guy. Geez hope I didn't wreck that for anyone.