Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Good Cheese / Bad Cheese - The 70s

I was a mere lad in the 70s, but that doesn't stop me from thinking about the pop culture things that were cool and things that were atrocious back in the days of bellbottoms, plaid, and afros. What was cool from the 70s? Here's my categories and my picks for good and bad of the era:

Good TV

1) Happy Days - Although I could have done without the whole Chachi and Shortcake romance, the Cunninghams, Potsie and Malph, and Heeeeeeeey! the Fonz were just cool. They made the 50s look a little bit different than Leave It to Beaver.

2) All in the Family - From a societal impact, there's probably never been a better sit-com. Archie Bunker is the best character in any sit-com ever. And the interplay between Arch, Edith, and Meathead... just hilarious. Plus, how many spinoffs were spawned from this one show? Archie Bunker's Place. The Jeffersons. Maude. I'm sure there were more.

3) The Six Million Dollar Man - "Steve Austin, astronaut, a man barely alive... we can rebuild him, make him better, stronger, faster than he ever was before." Our first TV cyborg. For a little boy, the $6M Man was as close to a super hero on TV in the 70s this side of Wonder Woman - which I also have a spot in my heart for, probably because she had that Lasso of Truth. Digressing... this show, and the spin-off Bionic Woman, made dramas fun to watch as a kid.

4) Welcome Back Kotter - The two best theme show songs of the 70s, to me, were John Sebastian's Weclome Back and The Theme Song from Hawaii Five-O. Gabe Kotter and the Sweathogs, one of which was John Travolta's Vinnie Barbarino (he played yet another Vincent in a later comeback), made high school hip and cool and totally fun to watch.

5) Charlie's Angels - I'm not even going to go into it.

Bad TV (and I watched them all - and usually liked them) (but I'm not linking them)

1) Joannie Loves Chachi (just the all-time worse)
2) Fantasy Island (cheesy TV at its best)
3) The Patridge Family (why did anyone watch this?)
4) The Love Boat (how many B-list actors can we get to show up on the same boat over and over. Pour me a drink, Isaac.)
5) That's Incredible (no, it wasn't)

Good Music (there's really too much to list, but I'll just throw down five favorites) (also, since I mentioned Don't Do Me Like That by TP & the Heartbreakers on another post, I'll omit them this time)

1) 10cc: Things We Do for Love
2) Cheap Trick: Surrender
3) Lovin Spoonful: Do You Believe In Magic
4) Hamilton, Joe Frank, and Reynolds: Don't Pull Your Love
5) Kansas: Carry On Wayward Son

(Honorable Mention for some good cheesy 70s is The Knack's My Sharona)

Bad Music (well, there's a ton of this, too - I'll just name singers/groups)

1) Shaun Cassidy
2) Tony Orlando & Dawn (do they even classify?)
3) Bay City Rollers (and I LOVED Satruday Night)
4) Aerosmith (y'know, aside from Dream On, I don't know that I liked anything they did in the 70s, or much in the 80s, or much in the 90s either)
5) Jethro Tull

Good Movies

1) Jaws
2) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
3) One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
4) Alien
5) The Godfather / Star Wars (tie)

Bad Movies (famous ones I thought weren't good)

1) King Kong
2) Close Encounters of the Third Kind
3) Thank God, It's Friday
4) The Towering Inferno
5) Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

(Honorable Mention for Bad: Rocky Horror Picture Show)

The decade was long and there are too many things to go over and list. But for nostalgia's sake, I wanted to ask what other people liked or hated about the 70s. It doesn't have to fit in the three categories I've listed. It can be anything. I know I've missed a lot, and there's a fine line between good cheese and bad cheese, and I'm sure other people draw it in a different place than I do.

So how 'bout it? Anything you want to say about the 70s? [I'm sure an 80s post is looming]


Scot said...

How timely! You know, I didn't realize, until reading your post, that today is the 30th anniversary of everything that happened on January 25, 1976. Who knew?
The 70's:
Best movie: The Sting
Best new product: Atari
Grooviest kid born: Yours Truly
Worst thing: Creating styles that will come back in style 30 years later

Rich said...


Are you saying it's your 30th birthday? If so, then HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Your gift's in the mail.

Also, if I could throw out some athletes at the time:

Dr. J
Muhammad Ali
LARRY CSONKA!!!!!!!!!!!
Roger Staubach
Hank Aaron
Pete Rose
Bruce Jenner
Dorothy Hamill (who started the short and sassy hair look)
Bobby Orr

DugALug said...

Oh the 70's... The good the bad the ugly... hoooo haaaa

Good TV:

Saturday Night Live
Monty Python's Flying Circus
Battlestar Galactica
Laverne and Shirley
Mission Impossible
The Carol Burnett Show
The Bob Newhart Show

Bad TV:

The Mod Squad
Wonder Woman (I Still watched it)
Hawaii 5-0
The Flip Wilson Show
Mork and Mindy
The Incredible Hulk
The Jeffersons
Sonny and Cher Specialy Hour
Good Music (These bands/musicians ruled my world in the 70's):

Paul Simon
Led Zepplin
Elton John
The Eagles
Cat Stevens
Stevie Wonder

Bad Music (If I could only forget)

Rick Dees - Disco Duck
Rick James - Super Freak
The Sex Pistols - All of their crap
More More More - Andrea True Connection
Barry Manilow - name it... it sucked
Donnie Osmond - Puppy Love
Captain and Tennile - Muskrat Love
Gilbert O'Sullivan - Alone Again Naturally
Morris Albert - Feelings
Connie Francis - Torn Between Two Lovers.


There are plenty more where that came from.


DugALug said...


Good Sports People:
Bobby Jones
Johny Bench
Mean Joe Green
Peggy Flemming
Nadia Comenichi (sp?)
Ozie Newsome
Archie Griffon
Bob Trumpy

Best Movie: Star Wars
Runner Up: 2001 A Space Odyssey
2nd Runner Up: Caddyshack


B said...

I wasn't born until the mid 80's, but I do watch old movies, listen to classic rock, read a lot and watch reruns on TV. So, I have my favorites.

Movies: Star Wars, Patton and Fiddler on the Roof

Music: Aerosmith, Abba, John Denver

Book: Black Girl Lost by Donald Goines

TV Shows: Six Million Dollar Man, Charlie's Angels, Bionic Woman, and Bonanza

Rich said...


I almost put down the good Captain and his wife Toni Tennille, and then I remembered that she went to Auburn so I spared her the notorious spot on my list. But yeah, we had the vinyl record that had Shop Around and Muskrat Love on it. In retrospect, it doesn't get much worse.

This is the second time in a post I've missed Mean Joe Green. I guess I do have something against Pittsburgh, but his Coca Cola commercial was really a classic.

I remember having a lot of the 45 records you mentioned. Disco Duck, Torn Between Two Lovers (although I think mine was Mary McGregor but I could be wrong), and Elton John and Kiki Dee singing Don't Go Breaking My Heart.

I can't believe you listed Wonder Woman as bad. For shame.
-- -- -- -- --

Yipes! I've got Aerosmith on my bad list, and you've got them on your good. On the other hand, Abba's one of my shameful pleasures. Ken, in fact, has an Abba's Greatest Hits CD in his truck. I had the 45 of "Does Your Mother Know" and my brother and I may have had "Take a Chance on Me," too, I forget. Those were great.

Fiddler on the Roof was excellent. I was really pretty young when I saw it, but I still remember Topol/Tevye crooning, "If I Were a Rich Man" pretty vividly along with the painful last part of the movie where he just can't accept his daughter marrying outside the faith.

Also, the company I work for has a few young girls (twentysomethings) that work here, and I'm always astounded when they have no idea about the 80s. And I mean they have no idea. Duran Duran? No clue. Cyndi Lauper? Huh. Joe Montana/Dan Marino? I may as well give up with sports. It's like asking a dog watching television. Amazing. Anyway, kudos to you for having some idea of the 70s.

B said...

My love for Aerosmith has not always been present. I have been influenced by my hubby who was born in the 70s. I once told him that I didn't like any much from the 70s and none from the 80's. He was determined to change my mind, so he started playing Aerosmith. I was hooked when I heard Crazy. I still don't like the synthesized stuff, but I love the rock! When the best of the 80's post comes around, I will have a few more classic rock bands to add to the list.

I started liking Abba after I saw Mamma Mia on Broadway. Take a Chance On Me is great, as well as Chiquitita.

codepoke said...

How could you not like Tie a Yellow Ribbon?

Rich said...

You've got me laughing, codepoke.

P&S said...


Thanks for outing me about ABBA. Why didn't you mention my BeeGees CD, too? Whoops!

Wayward son. Good Call
Boston. I'm liking it.
Queen. Can't they get some love around here. Double Whoops!

'Course why you posted on "short and sassy hair", I'll never know.

Hammerin' Hank. Oh, yeah.
I believe LARRY CSONKA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! has seventeen exclamation points after his name. One for every regular season and post-season win in the '72 season. Too bad that 3-3 pre-season had to tarnish a perfect season.

Python. Check.
Battlestar Galactica. Check. Check.
$6M Man and Wonder Woman. Check. Check. Check.

I gotta add:
Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, The Shazam/Isis hour, Barbara Mandrell/Mandrell Sisters (minus the redneck puppets)
Mello Yello
The Gong Show
Spinal Tap's Black Album
New Zoo Revue
and patches on jeans, colored jeans, and jean jackets

to the good cheese list, and:

Billy Beer
Keep on Truckin'
Smokey and the Bandit
Mayberry RFD (Season 3)
Three's Company
One Day at a Time (and anything else Valerie B., McKenzie Phillips, and the red-headed overbite chick were ever in)
Shag carpet
The color burnt orange
VW vans and El caminos
Gold Chains on Hairy Chests
and ZOOM

to the Bad Cheese List

Scot said...

You can put my birthday present on layaway, I am 31-185/365 years old today.

Your discussion of 45's reminded me, I was looking through some records at my parents' house recently. I found one of my favorite records while living in the 70's. Mickey Mouse Disco, featuring the classic Donald Duck song, Macho Duck. Rich, I also found a 45 of Debbie Boone's You Light Up My Life. We might could work out a deal!

DugALug said...


Dang... how could I forget ABBA?!!they rocked... heck! They still do!

I also forgot Kansas to the good And Kiss to the bad.

If you go back and watch Wonderwoman... there is nothing redeaming about the show... it defines suckdom.

I could be wrong about Connie Francis... afterall it was 30 years ago.

I forgot to add The Captain and Tennile on my bad TV list too. Her affiliation with Auburn won't save her.

Another baddy: Three's Company... wow did Don Knots sink low.


DugALug said...


Burn those 45's! They are not good enough for your trashcan in their present state.

Wow more flashbacks:

'Freak-Out! Le Freek che Sheik!' - I can't remember who sang this.

Sugar Hill Gang - Gumwrapper's delight.

'A Hip hop, hippa to the hippa a hip hip a hoppin you don't stop rockin' to the bang bang boogie, up jumped the boogative rythm to the boogity beat.'

These songs rocked... well not really but they do make me chuckle.


Rich said...


Our neighbors across the street have Wonder Woman DVDs for their kids. I do go back and watch Wonder Woman. I can't tell you much about the plots or bad guys, but I do go back and watch Wonder Woman.

You may be right on Captain and Tennille. Maybe I'll add them to my bad list. Yeah, you know I WILL! I WILL! I WILL! I WIIIIIIIIIIILL da-da-da-da, da-da-da-da, da-da-da-da.

And no one's mentioned C.W. McCall's Convoy either. That surprises me.

Basically, you can just go back to your junk rooms, attics, or hideaways, pull out your old stash of K-Tel records, and type down every song on there as part of the bad list. Love Rollercoaster, Rock the Boat, Afternoon Delight. The list goes on and on. Although, to my shame and discredit (and my brother will slay me when he reads this), I still like K.C. & the Sunshine Band. :)

Rich said...

Oh, and The Carpenters. Love the Carpenters. And David Gates and Bread as well. And England Dan and John Ford Coley.

It's all good.

Rich said...


You said, Rich, I also found a 45 of Debbie Boone's You Light Up My Life. We might could work out a deal!

Absolutely. You pay me $50, and I'll take it off your hands and destroy it. Lyrics like (and this is at the song's climax, mind you):

"it can't be wrong, when it feels so right"

really just need to be taken behind the woodshed and have bulletholes shot through them.

Thanks for the offer.

WandaV said...

The Carol Burnett Show
The Gong Show
Good Cheesey shows.

On the stinky side would have to be Gunsmoke (reruns?) I didn't care for cowboys back then. Barely like 'em now.

I have a 45 of "Afternoon Delight" still. When I listen to the lyrics as a knowing adult, I wonder how I could so blithely belt them out then.

We were into Waylon and Willie and Crystal Gale and the Mandrells at our house. And-- of course-- Jim Stafford!!! We even watched his t.v. show. Hee hee. The man is certifiable!!!

I was nine and a half when Star Wars made its big screen debut. WOW! It blew my Star Trek episodes out of the water.

Fahion Dont's: bellbottom jeans with metal stud decorations. Those things burned when they were fresh out of the drier. Never mind.

Bad 70's movie: Walking Tall. Yes, the parents took us to see it at a drive in. I'm glad I didn't pay too much attention...

adding my two cents to this line of comments


WandaV said...

p.s. were the Hardy Boys part of the 70's? I had a poster of Parker Stevens (?) and the other guy on my wall. Kiss kiss.

Brett said...

It ain't cheese, but the Clash's London Calling came out in 1979 and I'm not sure there are enough superlatives for that particular piece of rock and roll.

Punk broke in the 1970s. So how 'bout a little love for the Ramones, for Television, for Blondie, for Talking Heads? But this is good 70s, not good bad 70s.

For good bad 70s, I guess I'd have to go with Chic's brand of disco and the disco-flavored ELO album - Discovery - that was my first real favorite record. There's lots of good ELO. "Don't Bring Me Down" isn't some of it.

And, of course, also worthy of mention is fat Elvis in Vegas in his Evel Knievel jumpsuit.

Rich said...


Parker Stevenson's Hardy brother was none other than Shaun Cassidy, who I have as # 1 on my Bad Music list of the seventies.

The guy was a Teen Beat heartthrob, though. He along with Leif Erickson, his brother David Cassidy, Peter Frampton for a while, the whole Bay City Rollers, Willie Aames, Scott Baio... I forget who else, but the list goes on and on. That distinction, of course, makes his music no better. Or his acting, for that matter.

And bop me on the head. I had totally forgot about Emergency. Wow. Also, your "hee hee" reminded me that I didn't mention Hee Haw, either, but for probably better reasons. Still, it was a big show for a while down South.


Yes on ELO! I still hear their songs in stores and every once in a while on radio. Some of their stuff is just excellent.

Yeah, most of what I was putting down (though not all because I don't classify Kansas or Cheap Trick - or the good movies - as cheese really) classified as cheesy both good and bad. And I wouldn't have put cutting edge stuff like the Ramones or Blondie on the list. But, okay, they have my love.

You brought up Elvis, but Evel Knievel, himself - and especially the Evel Knievel toys - ought to be mentioned. What 70s boy (and a lot of girls) didn't have the wind-up Evel Knievel motorcycle or rocket? We'd put ramps up outside for them or have them jump the stairs. They were truly some of the best toys we ever had as kids.

WandaV said...

Something never heard in the McMullen family: "Hey, we haven't seen this episode of Hee Haw." Of course, whether you like the music or not Roy Clark was/is a most talented guitarist.
"Gloom, despair and agony on me. Deep, dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren't for bad luck...." I'll sing it for you if you want me to. ****evil grin****

And I didn't dream of being Evil Knievel, thank you very much. I thought more of Pinky Tuscadaro (sp?) from Happy Days. Remember her?


Rich said...

Oh yeah, I remember Pinky. And Leather.

...but I bet you at least thought about being Evel Knievel.

Brett said...

Oh, Rich. Kansas is most definitely mostly cheese. Yeah, I like a little bit of it. And I liked more of it when I was young and foolish and lacking in taste. But most Kansas, like most "progressive" music from that era (think Yes, King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, early Genesis, etc.) was awful, self-indulgent, pretentious wankery. It's why we needed a back-to-basics punk movement that brought back the three minute pop song and conventional pop song structure. God bless the Ramones!

There has been a lot of discussion of Happy Days. Yeah, it was just a sitcom. And I loved the show. I'll still tune into an episode every now and again if I'm killing time and it's on. But after the first season or two (specifically, once the Fonz become a superhero rather than a hood with a heart of gold), the show became just ridiculous. Howard and Marion were conservative '50s parents. They wouldn't have been opening their home to leather-jacketed, apparently parentless rough customers like Arthur Fonzerelli or "Leather" Tuscadero. I know, I know. "Lighten up, Francis." Yeah, it was American Graffiti in sitcom form. A show like that, though, couldn't survive today.

But maybe that's the point of discussing the good bad 70s - none of this stuff could survive today's tastes and/or sensitivities. Ah, nostalgia.

Rich said...


Kansas may have been a little full of themselves, but they're hardly what I classify as cheese. Even the other groups you mentioned I probably wouldn't have called them cheesy. It's a lot like the grunge bands of the 90s. Dated, perhaps. Full of itself. But not cheesy.

Today's (90s and 2000s) cheese would definitely be found in all the fad music that gets so popular for a day. New Kids on the Block, Britney Spears, the Spice Girls, N'Sync, 98 Degrees, the Backstreet Boys.
-- -- -- -- --

Also, to everyone, I'd like to throw in one of the most known songs of the 70s that hasn't been mentioned:

American Pie, Don McLean [That would be the song, not the later movie trilogy... which would, I think, fall under the category of modern cheese]

Hard to leave that one out of a post on the 70s, but I sure did.

DugALug said...


I don't think I would put Kansas, or Yes on any cheese category list. Their music has stood the test of time:

Put in Carry On Wayward Son, Dust In The Wind, Point Of No Return, Vinyl Confession, and they are still good music today,

Put in Starship Trooper, Captured, Roundabout, White Fish, Taps and the songs would make in todays market too.

ELP or King Crimson were never that great. Song's like Karn Evil 9 ("Come inside the show's about to start"), stunk then and are worse now. I will say that ELP had a cool album cover in the 70's it was done by H.R. Giger... the guy responsible for artwork in Alien. I think it was called Brain Salad Surgery, but I am not certain about that.

I am willing to cut you a little slack because you are a few years younger then Rich and I, but you crossed a line on this ridiculous statement.

A couple other great missing players from the 70's:

Jim Croche
Gordon Lightfoot
Fleetwood Mack

- Doug