Friday, March 27, 2009

WKRP Episode: "Johnny Comes Back"

This episode is the follow-up to "Goodbye, Johnny," and the title pretty much removes any suspense about whether he was going to come back to the station. It's most famous for the "foot powder" sequence and the "Red Wigglers" jingle. It also has three guest stars, all fairly well-known for one reason or another: Jeff Altman (the evil record promoter) was a comedian who went on to the great distinction of co-hosting "Pink Lady and Jeff"; Philip Charles MacKenzie (the nice, secretly corrupt coke-snorting new DJ) was a familiar TV guest star who later became a successful sitcom director. Most importantly, it was the first of four different WKRP roles for Sam Anderson.

Act 2 begins with a musical sequence that as far as I know hasn't been in any of the syndicated versions: Johnny listens in a stupified, barely-conscious state to Linda Ronstadt's cover of "Ooo Baby Baby" (which had just become a top 10 hit).

Bonus trivia: In the final scene, Bailey is wearing a Thomas Schippers commemorative shirt. Schippers was the music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, who had suddenly died a year before this episode was made. I think it may be the first genuine Cincinnati reference on the show.

Music (besides "Nowhere Band," which was written for the show by Hugh Wilson and Tom Wells) includes the aforementioned "Ooo Baby Baby"; "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison; "Layla" by Derek and the Dominoes.

Cold Open and Act 1

Act 2 and Tag


Anonymous said...

I remember the Ronstadt scene from CBC's airings. Were those uncut or just differently edited?

Jaime J. Weinman said...

As I understand it the CBC's airings in the early '90s were uncut, including the music, because MTM had not yet nuked the show.

If only I had taped those airings at the time, but I didn't, and I can't seem to find anyone who did. (But if anyone does have tapes from the CBC's airings, they might very well have that one episode I'm still looking for.)

Geoff said...

The CBC airings had some cuts for time, but the music was all still there. (Although I've heard that some of the original songs had by this point been replaced by OTHER popular songs.)

For example, in the episode where Johnny's doing the remote from the stereo shop and is held up by an out of work jock, the CBC airings cut a scene that showed Andy and Carlson in a car racing down the street to the shop. I didn't know this scene existed until the Comedy Network airings (which restored all the syndie cuts but destroyed the music.)

Anonymous said...

An earlier reference to Cincinnati was the red Cincinnati University T-shirt worn by Andy Travis, I think it was in the "Turkeys Drop" episode.

Anonymous said...

If Gary Sandy as Andy Travis is a nice person playing a nice guy, then Howard Hesseman as Johnny Fever is a legend playing a legend "Layla" by Eric Clapton!