Heading into November 1977, we open with me playing with... pegs? with my Grandpa Sage. On November 3, Aria Giovanni was born. I just mention it because my wife loves her. On the 8th, a Greek archaeologist, Manolis Andronikos, discovered the tomb of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, and Harvey Milk was elected City Supervisor of San Francisco, the first openly gay elected official of any large US city. Quite a historical day.
A less historic occasion that same day: Suzi Quatro makes the first of her 7 appearances on Happy Days as bad girl Leather Tuscadero. I like that she got to be a pioneer of women in rock both in reality and on television. I don’t know exactly the process, but somehow Leather Tuscadero became my ideal type of woman, especially when I was a little kid. I loved the tough girls in leather who loved to rock. Didn’t see much of them in the suburb where I grew up, except for one high school girl I met at a birthday party when I was about eight… Anyway, Leather Tuscadero is where it started, and then Joan Jett was the promise fulfilled. (And continues to be.)
Here's a link: Bernadette Peters singing "Just One Person" from Snoopy: The Musical on that weekend's The Muppet Show. A favorite TV moment of mine.
Here's another: the Saturday Night Live soundtrack came out on November 10. It's just a great soundtrack, man. I like disco just fine. Here's my favorite song on the album, "More Than a Woman," by the Bee Gees. It might seem cheesy, but I genuinely find this beautiful. Overshare: I once saw a woman strip to this onstage, and it was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. I had pulled into the place to get a cold beer and a burger on a very hot and bright day (I have some photosensitivity), and it was like this little piece of magic in the middle of the mundane. Those kind of experiences are all you can hope for in life sometimes.
Actually, here's something really cheesy that I'm into:
I grew up on the album Folk Songs of Our Time by Roger Whittaker. My Mom always had it, and when we first got a car with a cassette player in it, she recorded her vinyl record onto tape and we listened to it so many times. Years later, she bought the cassette. And we listened to it even more. This album makes me so impossibly happy and fills me with such good memories. I seriously want this song played at my funeral. I remember a time when people used to look at me like I was crazy for digging Roger Whittaker. Now people barely know who I’m talking about.
Sadly, this album has never been available on CD. No one who has it has even put mp3s online. It’s a shame it’s not available digitally, because I’d love to have it to stream and keep listening to it forever and ever. But for now, I have my closely-guarded cassette. Which I stole from my Mom. And my closely-guarded vinyl. Which I also stole from my Mom.
(I’m not sorry, Mom.)
November 16: One of my favorite movies ever, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Back when we used to have such a thing as hope in the way we imagined our first meeting with aliens. I liked this movie from a very early age; when I was a kid, I was so fascinated with the idea of meeting aliens. I used to stay up late and read books about UFOs, and they would always terrify me as much as they compelled me.
On the 19th, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat became the first Arab leader to make an official visit to Israel. On the 22nd, the first internet protocol happened. On the 27th, The Hobbit aired. This animated TV special from Rankin/Bass (animated by Topcraft) is an early adventure for me. It aired around Thanksgiving this year, but they must have aired it a number of times after, because I remember watching it on TV with my Dad when I was about four. I like Peter Jackson’s movie, but this is seminal for me. Whatever the limitations and twee touches, I still think of this as great fantasy. Of its time, perhaps, but still great.
Huh, I have no pictures of me from this Thanksgiving.
Well, here's a picture from HR Giger's Necronomicon, a great art book from 1977. It's prettier than me, probably.
And hey, here's a picture of the sheets I always wished I had. Lots of cool Star Wars merchandise was coming out at this time... the cards, the iron-on book, and of course, those great action figures from Kenner. I still have some of them to this day.
December 2: the episode of The Muppet Show with John Cleese airs (season 2, episode 23). Just one of my faves.
Also Muppet-related: in late 1977, Fisher-Price started making a stuffed Kermit doll.
And would you look at that? I've still got mine! One of actually three stuffed Kermits from various eras that I've got here at the Swamp.
This Christmas season brought me some more great TV. Jim Henson's neat special Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas aired for the first time. All in the Family had an episode I still watch at Christmas, "Edith's Crisis of Faith." Once again, All in the Family nails it with a Christmas episode that forces you to think about the spirit the holiday is meant to embrace, and the way we actually are capable of treating each other. This is the episode where Edith’s friend, female impersonator (as the episode uses the phrase) Beverly LaSalle, is beaten to death during a mugging, leading Edith to question the existence of a God who would allow someone so innocent to die in so violent a manner. It’s especially hard to see Edith--a character who defines the entire family’s sense of gentle decency--suffer with her grief; so much so that it nearly tears the family apart. Just a powerful episode of television.
And here I am, in my Christmas '77 portrait, apparently wearing a leisure suit.
Charlie Chaplin died on Christmas day this year. Thanks for that, Captain Bringdown.
Well, since I am incapable of forming memories yet, that's all the Wikipedia helps me to know about this time period. And since I don't have any Christmas commercial faves from this year, allow me to place this earworm in your heads.
Hey, I loved these commercials when I was a mere babe.
Anyway, we rushed through the season, but not much is going on! Let's rush into 1978 in the next installment!
Run, run, run as fast as you can! You can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man! See you next time!