Thursday, September 25, 2008
Remembering The Midnight Special
Recently my MySpace friend Bill posted a blog about how he enjoyed watching The Midnight Special on YouTube. Remember The Midnight Special with Wolfman Jack? No, unless you’re over 40, you wouldn’t. To clue you youngsters in, The Midnight Special aired late Friday nights from 1973 to 1981 after Johnny Carson and featured taped performances of rock bands and pop artists of the time. Like Badfinger, Kiss, and Peter Frampton.
Back in those days, you hardly ever got to see your favorite bands on TV. In addition to The Midnight Special, there was Don Kirshner's In Concent, the musical guests on Saturday Night Live (starting in 1975) and that was about it. Every once in a while someone cool might make an appearance on The Merv Griffen Show or The Mike Douglas Show, but mostly they stuck us with the likes of Charo. It was a real treat to see your favorite artists in action.
This was well before the days of MTV, which prompted an utterly dismal era in music history by placing more emphasis on how bands looked rather than the quality of their music. That's why VERY few bands from that time held up to join the ranks of "classic rock." Oh, to think of the drek we were fed in the 80’s! The only thing that makes me nostalgic for that sorry-ass decade is the price of gas.
I mostly remember watching The Midnight Special while working babysitting jobs in the neighborhood. We’re talking 1973-1975, and that was not only before the days of MTV, but before the days of cable television. Once The Midnight Special was over, the station would go off the air and I’d leap up from the couch to turn off the TV (yes, this was before remotes, too) before The Star Spangled Banner came on. For some reason, that song and the waving flag scared the shit out of me.
I’d be pissed if I had to wait too long after the TV went dark for the parents to come home. By then I’d have had quite enough of sitting around someone else’s house eating potato chips. If I was lucky, one of my girlfriends might still be babysitting, too, and we’d gab on the phone until one of us heard the sound of a car in the driveway. One house where I often sat, however, had a bookshelf of fascinating reads; let me tell you, this 15-year-old president of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee found The Senusous Woman downright tantalizing! Plus it took my mind off the serial killer/rapist who I imagined to be lurking outside the living room window, watching my every move.
Wow—until Bill’s blog, I hadn't thought about that show in years! Thanks, Bill, for the memories. And for making me feel old as hell.