Aug 10, 2020

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?").


  1. I thought Terry Lester was great as the original Jack Abbott on "The Young and the Restless." Peter Bergman is credible as Jack, but my favourite was Terry. And Terry looks sexy in a speedo!


  2. Ted Eccles as Teddy Eccles was the voice of The Little Drummer Boy for the Rankin-Bass animagic holiday special.

  3. I saw most of these shows! Dr Shrinker was played by Jay Robinson whose most famous role is Caligula in "The Robe".

  4. I saw most of these shows, too. Through modern eyes, the Filmation titles (Ark, Academy, and to a lesser extent Jason) suffer from 70's/80's Saturday TV's desire to be educational and non-controversial, and what an Amazon reviewer (each was released on DVD) characterized as being "amusingly naive". Jason likely existed because Academy bombed and the producers were looking for a way to reuse the SFX footage and sets. The Kroft stuff was usually better. I'd recommended these actors' other venues vs. pining for their Saturday morning work. Oh, and Craig Littler's costar on Jason, Charlie Dell (Professor E.J. Parsafoot), went on to become the TV Gorton's fisherman!

    1. 70s Filmation is interesting. They had this whole live-action kick which feels more outdated than their cartoons. ("We'll get Forrest Tucker to play one of the ghost hunters. The kids love F Troop, right?")

      Meanwhile, their cartoons from this period were timeless. Superfriends survived over a decade, which is not how Filmation usually does things. It even survived for a year after the complete cosmic death and rebirth of the source material.

      The other show from this era that I remember is, what was that show with the fat kid and all his friends being educational? I can't remember its name or its creator. (I hope everyone understands what I'm doing and doesn't think I can't actually remember.)

      Oh, and a cartoon version of the Wizard of Oz.

  5. I thought the Gorton's fisherman was Denny Miller, who played the hunky surfer on an episode of "Gillgian's Island"

    1. Not according to the commentary on the Jason DVD's. Although I guess there could have been more than one fisherman.

  6. 'Bad Ronald' with Scott Jacoby and Ted Eccles is an intriguing but long-forgotten little movie that I think was made for TV. It's worth watching. I think it's on Youtube now. I think that Ted Eccles is now a movie producer. I don't know what's become of Scott Jacoby.

    1. I've seen it, but I don't think I posted on it, except in the "kids who kill" post


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