I watched a lot of television when I was a kid. Many of the shows, (Maude, All in the Family and Soap, are a few that come to mind), contained decidedly adult themes. A few were directed at kids my age, or those who were slightly older. These are the ones I want to remember today.
Flashback~Forget About it-Friday- 1970s-1980s tween/teen oriented programing.
James at 16 ran from 1977-1978. Though I was only ten at the time and obviously a girl, I still enjoyed this series and related to the main character.
Here’s a brief synopsis of the show from Wikipedia:
James Hunter (Lance Kerwin) was the son of a college professor (Linden Chiles) who moved his family across the country to take a teaching job, transplanting James from Oregon to Boston, Massachusetts. James, who had Walter Mitty-like dreams and dabbled in photography, had a hard time fitting into his new surroundings.
The White Shadow. Again, a show that centered around adolescent males, but one I really liked. I had a huge crush on Timothy Van Patten’s character which made the watching even more pleasurable, but the story lines were real reason I tuned in.
Here’s a plot summary for the White Shadow which ran on CBS from 1978-1981.
After retiring from pro basketball due to several knee injuries, journeyman player Ken Reeves is hired by his best friend Jim Willis to become head coach at Carver High School in South Central Los Angeles. When he takes over he turns the school from losers into winners not only on the court, but off it as well as he becomes involved in his players lives as not only a coach, but a mentor as well.
Timothy Van Patten is under the “H” and “A” in this photo. He really was cute. Should have been included in the post I wrote on my childhood crushes.)
My credibility is going to take a hit with this next selection, but hey, I watched from the very first episode all the way through the George Clooney years, and Natalie losing her virginity, so I was an early adopter and loyal viewer. One with questionable taste, clearly, but that’s beside the point. Yes, I watched The Facts of Life and I bet at some point all of you did too! This series ran forever–starting in 1979 and ending almost a decade later in 1988. I probably stopped watching the Facts of Life in the mid ’80s, I was in college after all, but I might have tuned in for the series finale…
I also enjoyed my share of After School Specials and made for TV movies. I can’t think of any of the former that stand out in my mind, but there is one made for TV movie from this period that I have never forgotten. Sooner or Later starred Rex Smith and featured his hit single “You Take My Breath Away.” Boy do I feel sad for you if you are too young to remember this piece of cinematic artistry. Sooner or Later was juicy. Judy Blume book kind of juicy.
Here’s the plot summary:
When 13-year-old Jessie falls for 17-year-old musician Michael, there is a strong mutual attraction. In order to win him, she adopts an alternate life — pretends to go to a Catholic high school, pretends to be older, dissembles to her Jewish family. When the elaborate deception fails, Jessie tells Michael the truth. He’s shocked, angry and hurt, and must decide whether to pursue her or not.
He was 17 (though Rex Smith was probably in his 20′s) and she was 13! I was 12!! This was good stuff.
Today’s tweens and teens have the casts of Gossip Girl, The Real World and The Vampire Diaries as fictional peers, while I had the kids from Square Pegs , Head of the Class and A Different World. I think Generation X had better options when it came to teen oriented television–but that’s just me, what do you think? I’d also love to know (if you can remember) what were you watching when you were a teen/tween?
You can thank me for this later… (he was 17!).