Rerun Junkie–Following the Stars

Ross Martin not being Artemus Gordon.
Ross Martin not being Artemus Gordon.

I like to follow the stars of my reruns. Call it a symptom of my rerun junkie habit. Call it lazy, harmless stalking. Whatever you call it, I do it.

Once I get hooked into a show, I’ll start looking for its stars in other things when I go through the TV schedule for the week. It doesn’t matter what it is, new or old, movie or TV show, I’m just looking for the face.

To me, it’s neat. Here’s someone’s first TV appearance. Here’s their most recent movie. Here’s that same face that you love on this TV show that was made before you were born, the person that plays this character that you adore, doing something totally different.

And I have little to no shame in regards to this TV stalking. If I have taken an interest in you, then I will look for you. And if I see you are going to be on my TV this week, I’ll make a note of it on my phone so I don’t miss it (not kidding; I set an alarm and everything).

Randolph  Mantooth not being Johnny Gage, but doing it with a fantastic mustache.
Randolph Mantooth not being Johnny Gage, but doing it with a fantastic mustache.

Because of this peculiar habit, I’ve seen Johnny Crawford on Little House on the Prairie and Hawaii Five-O; Randolph Mantooth on Charlie’s Angels (with a fabulous mustache) and Criminal Minds; Larry Storch on Love, American Style and Gilligan’s Island; Forrest Tucker on Bionic Woman and Marcus Welby, MD; Ross Martin on The Bold Ones and The Return of the Mod Squad (honestly, my Ross Marin fixation deserves its own post); Kevin Tighe on Law and Order: SVU and Leverage; Kent McCord on Ironside and JAG; and Martin Milner on The Millionaire and The Virginian.

(I don’t think I have to tell you that I’m not listing ALL of them.)

Larry Storch not being  Randolphy Agarn.
Larry Storch not being Randolphy Agarn.

It’s because of this peculiar habit that I realize how many of these people I’ve seen dozens of times BEFORE I found them on my reruns. Do you know how many times I’ve seen Kevin Tighe in Roadhouse and Kent McCord in Airplane II? Well, let’s not discuss it. I’ve seen those flicks an embarrassing number of times. The same goes for anyone that’s been on Murder, She Wrote, because I’ve seen all of those episodes ten times at least. I’ve seen Martin Milner be the hero and Randolph Mantooth get killed sooooo many times.

The point I’m trying to make is that there are so many faces I’ve seen multiple times BEFORE they became significant faces to me. It’s fun to go back and see them again now knowing them.

And you thought I couldn’t have any more fun with my reruns.

Five Weird Searches That Led Here

English: Helm of Awe (ægishjálmr) - magical sy...

I’ll be honest. If it weren’t for Starsky and Hutch fans, Randolph Mantooth stalkers, and folks in need of fat girl nudie pics, my blog wouldn’t get much action.

A lot of the searches that lead here are pretty run of the mill and make sense. As a Rerun Junkie I write about old TV shows, so searches, weird or not, relating to them make sense (hence all of the Starsky and Hutch/Randolph Mantooth folks ending up here). I write about being a fat girl (sorry, no nude pics), belly dancing, being tactless, breast reduction, the Cubs, the CornBelters, writing, bisexuality, etc. and getting tangent searches related to those keywords make sense.

Even so, some searches make me raise an eyebrow.

Here are five of the weirdest searches that led people here (and probably disappointed the hell out of them):

1. “magical plants to deter unwanted visitors”–I can understand the deterring unwanted visitors part, but I’m not exactly sure what’s intended by “magical”. Like Harry Potter magical or pagan magical or “Hey, my mother-in-law hates azaleas! Plant them everywhere!” magical?

2. “huge titties weightless enviorment”/”boobs in weightless environment”–Either the space station is cashing in on a very specific porn market or they’re missing out on one.

3. “stuff i just figured out about scooby doo”–More questions than answers here, folks.

4. “burnt popcorn smoke inhalation”–If this is a medical emergency, you should really contact a physician. Also, give up cooking for life.

5. “jesus zombie chocolate fertility bunny”–This sounds like the best Easter mash-up celebration ever and the only thing that makes it better is that this exact search hit my blog twice.

The Internet is an interesting place.

Rerun Junkie– Emergency!

When Me-TV announced its fall line-up and announced they’d be showing Emergency! I was excited. A 70’s show that I had vague knowledge of, but had never seen! Yes!

Exclamation points!
Exclamation points!

Emergency focused on two paramedic fire fighters, John Gage (Randolph Mantooth) and Roy DeSoto (Kevin Tighe), in the fledgling paramedic program and the doctors and head nurse in the emergency department at Rampart General Hospital, Dr. Kelly “Kel” Brackett (Robert Fuller), Dr. Joe Early (Bobby Fuller), and Nurse Dixie McCall (Julie London). Gage and DeSoto were usually joined by their fellow firefighters at Station 51: Captain Henry “Hank” Stanley (Mike Norell), Chet Kelly (Tim Donnelly), Marco Lopez (Marco Lopez), and Mike Stoker (Mike Stoker). Many times they were joined at the scene by Officer Vince (Vince Howard). The emergency room staff were also aided by the capable, but sometimes harsh Dr. Joe Morton (Ron Pinkard).

Our heroes!
Our heroes!

The show was a real ensemble and the episodes did a good job with that concept, following pretty much the same formula. The opening established the story line for the show and was usually followed pretty quickly by the firefighters responding to their first call of the show. From there, between calls and patients at the hospitals (some more comical than others), the story line was worked out until a resolution at the end, usually following a big rescue of some kind. Some episodes focused more on the paramedics/firefighters and some focused more on the emergency room staff, but the overall show maintained a pretty good balance of both.

Being the 70’s, there was no shortage of familiar faces popping up on the show, including Adam West, Jo Anne Worley, Ruth Buzzi, Dick Van Patten, Grant Goodeve, Mark Harmon (as an animal control officer in a possible pilot), Jamie Farr, Robert Alda, Marion Ross, Sharon Gless, Tony Dow (Wally turned to crime in this ep), Larry Manetti, Joyce Jameson, Dabbs Greer, Melissa Gilbert, Nick Nolte, Ron Masak, John Travolta, Yvonne Craig (Batgirl, to you), Linda Gray, Linda Dano, and Jack DeLeon (Marty Morrison from Barney Miller).

Look, ma! Firefighters!
Look, ma! Firefighters!

One really cool thing about the show was the use of real firefighters in the cast. In the first season real LACoFD Captain Dick Hammer (as himself) headed Engine 51 (he was followed by John Smith as Captain Hammer before Mike Newell took over as Captain Stanley). LACoFD Mike Stoker was with the show for its run. And the oft-heard, rarely-seen dispatcher was LACoFD dispatcher Sam Lanier.

The inclusion of the real firefighters in the show lent to the realism of the whole shebang. I realize there are mistakes in the rescue, response, and ER scenes. But as someone who is not an authority on 1970’s paramedic/firefighter/doctor/nurse procedures, those scenes look legit (except for the lack of blood in some scenes; they are a bit clean on this show). I find some of the big rescues at the end of the episodes pretty spectacular to watch because they feel real. I don’t feel like I’m looking at multiple takes of something. I’m watching two paramedics jumping into the ocean to get a guy out of a sinking helicopter. I’m watching two doctors examine a guy with internal injuries. There’s nothing forced or staged-feeling about it (usually).

And if you’re viewing this like a bit of film from a time capsule (as I like to do with my reruns), it’s wild to basically watch the infancy of the paramedic program that we’ve all grown very used to today. It’s also pretty wicked to see the ginormous walkie talkies the firemen use and the box of phone (bio-phone) that the paramedics use to call Rampart Hospital.

When I first started watching the show, I admit that I found John Gage to be a little annoying and I had doubts that I was going to be able to put up with him. But after a few episodes, he grew on me and the interaction between him and Roy DeSoto is wonderful. There’s a great chemistry there. Also, Chet Kelly has one of the greatest mustaches ever to grace a fire department and he holds a special place in my heart now. Watching Nurse McCall keep Dr. Brackett and Dr. Early in line is great fun.

If you’re looking to be hips deep in personal drama like on Grey’s Anatomy or ER, look elsewhere. The characters do have their stories, but nothing soap opera-ish. Which I appreciate. There seem to be streaks of characters getting injured. Obviously, that’s part of the risk of being a firefighter, but I swear Gage got hurt three times in one week during the big rescue at the end. Of course, anyone injured is usually back the next episode feeling fine.

Some of the most believable calls/rescues/patients are the most ridiculous ones. The family that thinks their mother is dead but she’s only napping, the guy who thinks he’s been cursed, the guy who accidentally glues his hands to a model ship, but doesn’t want the ship destroyed to unglue his hands, the girl that gets her head stuck in a chair (okay, that wasn’t on the show; I really did that when I was a kid). You  have no idea how many calls first responders get that are really like this. The truth is stranger than fiction and this show definitely captures that with some of the absurd incidents. But, like I said, the way those scenes are done, you go right along with it.

It’s the big, dramatic incidents that I sometimes have trouble with. I’ll read the episode summaries and be like, “A plane crashes into an apartment building? Come on!” And then I’ll watch the episode and be like, “A plane crashed into an apartment building! Help! Help!” It’s all in the delivery, I suppose.

I could be easily impressed, too. Always a possibility.

Either way, this show became a quick favorite and I hope it sticks around on my TV for a long time. I need the opportunity to watch these episodes a few times.

Keep up the good work, Chet.
Keep up the good work, Chet.


Where I Watch It