Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale..."

Sherwood Schwartz passed away this week, to not a lot of fanfare. A simple mention on the CNN scroll and a blurb on Google news mentioning his two greatest accomplishments: that's exactly how I hope to go.

And while we could spend hours, yea, weeks debating what my two greatest accomplishments are, or even if "accomplishment" is the right word, for now let's stay focused.

Sherwood Schwartz. I never knew the man, but he created two of the iconic sitcoms of our time: Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch.

And while I was always more of a Gilligan man, what young American boy didn't have at least a tiny crush on Marcia Brady? Not to mention, the episode where Marcia's bracelet nearly knocks over the house of cards is still quite possibly the most tense moment in American sitcom history.

Neither show did great in the ratings and were mostly panned by critics. But there must have been something appealing about them, as both lived on for years in syndicated reruns. That's how I and so many in my generation were introduced to them growing up.

I used to know every single episode of Gilligan's Island. I remember one night between the ages of 12 and 15, my friend Archie and I must have discussed half of them while waiting outside the gymnasium/aquatic center for his parents to finish their square dancing class. It was ninety minutes of "Remember the one where..."

For some reason, I loved that show. I wanted to be on that island. The little huts, the lagoon, Mary Ann... What's not to love? And don't get me started on the professor, aka the original MacGyver.

I've always been drawn to shows with an attractive central setting. Some place better than where I am currently. Classic example: Mister Rogers and the neighborhood of make-believe.

Not that I'm slicing bread for the first time here or anything. I think most shows have that, sitcoms anyway. Maybe that's why I never liked Roseanne or MASH. I never desired to be in the Conner house. Or the Korean War.

I haven't seen reruns of The Brady Bunch or Gilligan's Island for years now. And that makes me a little sad. Sure they may have been a little corny. But you could do a lot worse than corny. There was a certain innocence to those shows that I'm not sure exists anymore. The passing of Sherwood Schwartz is a reminder of that.

So here's to critical unacclaim, three-hour tours, and old TV shows.

"The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost..."


  1. I was crushed a few years ago when MaryAnn got busted for pot! Being older, I got to see them the first go around and remember watching them survive a hurricane and then (this was 1966 or earlier) have the station break in a say we were under a tornado warning

  2. Those two shows were such a part of my life when I was young...I loved them both. And let's not also forget the equally tense moment on Brady Bunch when Marcia was hit with the football and broke her nose :~)

    Thanks for the memories, Bone!

  3. I'm not sure I subscribe to your theory. I mean I loved Seinfeld but I don't think I could ever see myself hanging out with them. But saying that, I most certainly could see myself hanging out with Mike and Frank from American Pickers cruising the backroads looking for that rusty gold. Perhaps there is something to your theory...

  4. I was a fan of both shows. Gilligan's Island was probably my favorite. I thought Brady Bunch was a bit unrealistic. I mean all those people living together, and they barely had a fight. Of course, trapped on an island and almost always getting off was a bit unrealistic as well.

  5. Sage - Oh, I had forgotten all about that. I was reading something that said in the never-ending debate, guys generally preferred Mary Ann over Ginger :)

    Your date is probably pretty accurate, as Wikipedia says the series original run was from 1964 to 1967.

    Sweetest In The Gale - How could I forget! :) I always liked the one where Bobby tries to make himself taller. And the one where the kids decide they don't want to move so they make the house seem haunted. And the one where Peter joins the Sunflower Girls. I could go on...

    Ed - I think I would have loved having an apartment where friends were always stopping by... for a little while.

    I'm pretty sure I've seen American Pickers. Did they buy an old amusement park ride on there one time?

    OK Chick - Eh, who needs realistic anyway? I watch TV to escape from reality, not be reminded of it :)

  6. It's the little touches in your posts I love so much. Don't ask me to point them out--not this week but the little things are wonderful!

    I was more a Gilligan's Island person

  7. Not a fan of either of those shows and a big fan of old MASH rerun but I love you anyway bone.

  8. Love the idea of a simple legacy leaving a huge impact. People didn't know his name, but everyone knows his legacy. Such a cool story.

    I loved both of those shows- obvs from Nick-at-Nite glory, but I don't think it matters. When I was in middle school, I would watch Brady Bunch every day before Saved by the Bell- my friends did they same. I'm sure I've missed a few, but I certainly saw a lot of them!

  9. that is so sad. While I had no idea who he was, I did watch those shows.

    Totally shows my age.

  10. Pia - OK, I won't ask you to point them out this time. But next time... :) Thank you.

    Cooper - I did always love the MASH theme song.

    Cami - Yeah, it seems like there were always a lot of good shows on either before or after school. I remember TBS always had a great lineup back then.

    KittyCat - Sorry, I don't think I meant for it to be sad :)