top of page

Don't Read This Either if You're Under 50

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

People had to live in the 1970s. I just happen to be one of them.

I don’t think of the 70s as a great time, just my childhood. It’s good and bad like any other decade.

What I remember so clearly was one day I was recording the Henry Gross song, “Shannon,” on my handheld cassette tape recorder, next to the speaker in my brother’s room.

On the song's final note, my brother Pat walks in and whistles it. I didn’t care because I had a good recording. It was playing on FM radio, and that’s how I collected songs in the day.

Fast-forward to forever: whenever I hear it, his whistling is in the backing tracks. Thanks, Pat!

In retrospect, the movies and TV shows seem funnier, the music better, and the day-to-day activities more fun.

If that is the case, it’s only because I had fewer responsibilities. That allows anyone to live in the moment more often, with a reduced stress level. That mindset changes with age and obligation, clouding the view in the rearview mirror of my past.

Now that I’ve given myself free rein to put my memories in faded technicolor, there are a few more memories of the 70s I need to get off my chest. We’ll stick with American television for now.

I remember singer Bobby Van, who was married to actress Elaine Joyce. They popped up everywhere on TV and were regulars on game shows. I saw Bobby Van so much I confused him with singers Bobby Vinton, Bobby Vee, Bobby Rydell, Bobby Sherman, and baseballer Bobby Murcer of the Yankees.

I get the “Bobby” thing, which was popular at the time, but they all looked similar at a glance. Or did they? They were 70s guys without mustaches.

In case you’re wondering if "Bobby Van's Steakhouse" in New York City is the same Bobby Van? Nope.

Different guy. How could there possibly be two Bobby Van’s? The restaurant opened in 1996 next to Grand Central Station. Search the internet and find a connection between the two. Let me know when you find one.

Mis-associations between Robert Blake and Robert Conrad and Robert Stack and Robert Vaughn have come to mind. Similar looks, personalities, and type-casting.

Why were Roberts so famous on 70s TV?

Robert Alda

Robert Culp

Robert Fuller

Robert Guillaume

Robert Klein

Robert Reed

Robert Urich

Robert Wagner

Robert Young

And I thought Josh, Ethan, and Jacob were overused today? Not even close. Moms and dads have much more originality in the 21st Century.

I’ve had these unanswered questions about the 70s since the 70s, and it feels good to get them off my chest. Thank you for listening. I don’t remember the 70s in real life like you see it on TV.

People wore short shorts, feathered hair, and did lots of coke. Oh, that was the 80s. Sorry.

To those of you who survived the 1970s, bless you. You all have a tale to tell how you got through it. You made it through the shag carpets, olive-colored appliances, cigarettes, Schaefer Beer, Whiskey Sours, Roberts, and the Bobbys.

It was a great time for TV, sometimes. Was it? Watch an episode of Welcome Back, Kotter, and get back to me.



bottom of page