Jun 19, 2018

The Shea Brothers and Charlie Brown

In the 1970s, American mass media couldn't get enough of blond preteen boys.  Not toddlers, but boys in late childhood, old enough to be cast as adventurous, daring, and mischievous in "boys will be boys" roles.  And too young for the pubescent growth spurt that would turn them into yucky androgynous teenagers.

Christopher Shea, born  in 1958, is best remembered as the voice of the wise-beyond-his-years Linus in the animated Peanuts specials, especially It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966).

Linus has always been my favorite Peanuts character: witty, intellectual, rejecting Sally's advances (although he dates a lot of girls in later strips), a good friend to Charlie Brown.  And no other voice artist comes closer to capturing his inner beauty than Christopher Shea.

Christopher also did some television work, with guest spots on The Invaders, Green Acres, The Odd Couple, and Here Come the Brides, and a few movies.  His last credited role is A Little Game (1971), about a teenager (Mark Gruner) who plots to kill his stepfather.

He moved to Humbolt County, in northern California, where he died in 2010, leaving a wife and two daughters.
His brother Eric, born in 1960, did the usual tv guest spots: Batman, Here Come the Brides, Gunsmoke, The Flying Nun, Room 222 -- but he snared some more substantial movie roles, such as Lucille Ball's son  in the big-family comedy Yours, Mine, and Ours (1968) (top photo, the one in the pajamas.  The other one is Tim Matheson).

The younger brother of Ben Harvey (Beau Bridges), who gets involved with a clan of prostitutes in Gaily, Gaily (1969).

Kid kid genius Alvin, who solves Cooperstownes with the help of his buddy Shooie (Clay O'Brien) in two Whiz Kids movies (1974, 1976).   He also played the Spunky Kid in The Poseidon Adventure (1972).

His last credited role was in When Every Day was the Fourth of July (1978), about a lawyer (Dean Jones) defending a deaf man who has been accused of murder.

Eric has retired from acting and, according to the imdb, works as an electrical contractor in Los Angeles.

I have no pictures of Stephen, born in 1961, since he has only one live screen credit: "Small Boy" on a 1968 episode of Adam-12.  But he took on his brother's mantle and voiced Linus in all of the Peanuts animated specials from Play It Again, Charlie Brown (1971) to Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (1975).

So I'll give you a pic of one of the many other voice artists who has played Linus over the years, Corey Padnos

See also: Tim Matheson; and The Fabulous Bridges Boys.

More 1970s Saturday Morning Beefcake

During the late 1970s, I watched several live-action Saturday morning tv programs, like Space Academy and The Kids from C.A.P.E.R., but the 70s Live Action Kid Vid website gives some details about many that I never heard of.  They vanished quickly, and left little trace on DVD, though you may be able to find uploads on youtube.  Here are the four that look most interesting:

1. Ark II (1976-77): a sort of futuristic trucker show about Jonah (Terry Lester) driving around in a post-apocalyptic world solving people's personal problems, accompanied by his teen sidekicks Samuel (Jose Flores) and Ruth (Jean Marie Hon), plus a talking chimp.  Terry Lester, who was gay in real life, went on to become a soap opera hunk on The Young and the Restless.

2. Dr. Shrinker (1976-77), a segment of the Krofft Supershow: the teens Brad (Ted Eccles) and BJ (Susan Lawrence), plus their goofy friend Gordie (Boomer MacKay), are trapped on a desert island with a mad scientist who shrinks them.

Child star Ted Eccles starred in In Cold Blood (1967) and My Side of the Mountain (1969), and muscled up to hug James Coburn in The Honkers (1972) and get terrorized by Scott Jacoby in Bad Ronald (1974).

3. Bigfoot and Wildboy (1977-78), another segment of the Krofft Supershow: Bigfoot (Ray Young) and his teen sidekick Wildboy (Joseph Butcher) roam the Pacific Northwest, solving people's personal problems.  Sounds like some interspecies buddy-bonding occurred.

The Krofft Supershow was a very busy program. It also featured musical groups like The Bay City Rollers and Michael Lembeck (center) as Kaptain Kool (with the Kongs).

4. Jason of Star Command (1978-81): Jason (Craig Littler) and his assistants (including James Doohan, Scotty on Star Trek) work to keep the evil Dragos from taking over the galaxy in this Space Academy spin-off.

Craig Littler performed in many movies and tv programs, including Blazing Saddles (1974) and Laverne and Shirley.  In the 1990s, he became the voice of Grey Poupon mustard in tv commercials ("Pardon me -- do you have any Grey Poupon?").

Jun 18, 2018

The Hollow: Adam and Kai Hugging

Three teenagers awaken in a locked room with no windows or doors.  They don't remember who they are, but slips of paper in their pockets give them names.  As they try to escape, distinct personalities emerge:

Adam (voiced by Adrian Petriw, left) is the strong (as in super-strong), logical, level-headed leader.

Kai (Connor Parnall) is the skittish, easily frightened goofball, but a mechanics whiz (he can rewire a spaceship).

Mira (Ashleigh Ball) has mystical powers, like being able to talk to animals.

They escape, only to find themselves in a secret scientific facility, chased by devil-dogs.

Then in a world occupied by minotaurs from Greek mythology, who intend to eat them.

They escape into a lair of witches who want to inhale their souls, meet the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, rewire a spaceship, crash it into the ocean, meet the Cyclops of Greek mythology, and...

Well, it goes on like that, from parallel world to parallel world, fleeing from danger, overcoming obstacles, solving mysteries, searching for clues to their situation, trying to find a way back to the home they don't remember, with every episode ending with a cliffhanger that practically forces you to keep watching.

The only one who seems to understand what's going on is the flamboyant, petulant Weird Man, who pops in, says cryptic things like "You chose to to here!"  and "Do you think this is a game?" and zaps them to the next world.

I haven't seen the last episode yet, but yes, I do sort of think that they're in the equivalent of a giant video game.

The animation is beautiful, with detailed backgrounds and a large color palette, reminiscent of the golden age of the 1970s.  The stories are intricate, some humorous, some exciting, some both, and the plotline is propelled more effectively than the episodic "trying to get home" series of the 1960s and 1970s (Gilligan's Island, H.R. Pufnstuf, Land of the Lost)

You're probably wondering about the beefcake and bonding.

Beefcake: this is animation, so there's not a lot of muscle, but the male characters are pleasant to look at.  I couldn't even find any beefcake photos of the cast (mostly Vancouver-based actors with few screen credits).

Bonding: there's a lot of Adam-Kai hugging, soft looks, and "if it weren't for you" rescues.  But the same thing happens between Mira and both Adam and Kai.  No one expresses any overt  romantic interests, so you can read all of them as gay.  Or none of them, if you prefer.


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