Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Things To Come

Fridays on (what else) Friday nights was ABC TV's answer to NBC's Saturday Night Live, which itself was renamed from their original name, so as to avoid confusion with the short-lived variety show Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell debuted the same year that ran on ABC from September 1975 to January 1976.

Once Cosell's show was cancelled, the NBC show renamed itself Saturday Night Live.

The Cosell show featured Bill Murray, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Christopher Guest as regular comedy performers, dubbed "The Prime Time Players." In response, the NBC show called its regular performers "the Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Players". Ironically, all three of the original Prime Time Players eventually joined the NBC show.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono were fans of Cosell, and wanted to appear on Saturday Night Live. They never made the premiere episode, on which Lennon and Ono hoped The Beatles would reunite. Instead, Cosell played host to the Bay City Rollers, whom he dubbed "the next" British phenomenon.

Got that?

Back to Fridays...

Fridays was a similar sketch-driven comedy/satire show, with musical guests,
and with a no-holds barred style that IMHO was vastly superior to SNL particularly after
the original cast's departure for movie stardom and other projects.

The top 'Punk' and 'New Wave' acts of the time gave some their best musical performances.

Mysteriously...even though it had great ratings- better than SNL in the same time period -
it was cancelled, probably due to the subject matter- unapologetic non-PC sketches, 'drug'
humor (mostly marijuana) -and probably this sketch from the very first episode:

"The Ronny Horror Show" - A sprawling 17-minute send-up of the incoming Reagan Administration based on The Rocky Horror Picture Show, was aired on Friday, December 12, 1980- 4 days after John Lennon's death.

In the sketch, Ronald Reagan (played by John Roarke in Dr. Frank N. Furter drag) plans on creating the ultimate Republican, but inadvertently creates an angry black militant (played by Darrow Igus) who kills Reagan and leads the people in a revolution.

To this day many consider this sketch to have been the series' tour de force.
this sketch was shown when it first came on and subsequently edited out in all reruns.

"The Ronny Horror Show" was edited, not because of content, but because the producer of The Rocky Horror Picture Show- Lou Adler -protested against the film being parodied without his permission.

For this to really work as topical satire now it would really help if you're familiar at all with either the stage play/musical, soundtracks, or movie of "Rocky Horror" in any of its incarnations and suggest the original version first before trying to dig this, but not entirely compulsory.

Feast your eyes on the horror that was to be the decade of the 1980s:

Cancellation due pressure from Nixon, Reagan, The 'New' Right, etc.?

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