Tuesday, July 18, 2023

So… where were you on January 4, 1978? (Just a little 70’s flashback, that’s all)

DISCLAIMER:  This will probably be the most unnecessary, least significant thing you read all week; proceed at your own peril

Recently I started watching Eight is Enough on Tubi, and I’m going to be honest here and admit I’m not a big fan of the show.  In fact, in the 1970s I hated it.  I loved the Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie on Monday nights, the Lawrence Family on ABC’s Family on Tuesday nights, The Waltons on Thursdays.

But on Wednesday nights the Bradfords on Eight is Enough did little for me.  Those brothers & sisters didn’t feel like brothers and sisters for a minute.  And why were they all adults to boot?  In one episode, Abby (the stepmom, married to Tom Bradford) wants Tom to accompany her on a weekend trip.  He says “We can’t leave Nicholas alone for 2 days, he’s only 10 years old!’ 

Abby says “You have a houseful of 8 children and 7 of them are adults.”   THANK YOU ABBY.

“Well Doug, if you’re not a fan of the show then why are you even watching it.” 

It’s a real time capsule of middle class America in the 1970s, and a reminder of my own teenaged years then.  And the Bradford house had it all--the hot curlers and high waisted bell bottoms on the girls, the shag green carpeting, the big glass ashtrays in the living room—even though no one in their house smoked.

A 1975 Fleetwood Cadillac sat in the driveway (along with oldest son David’s Volkswagen bus and stepmom Abby’s vintage roadster) and the entire house shared one bathroom and one phone.  Can you imagine?  

So I’m watching Season 2 Episode 15 “A Hair of the Dog” where the new kid in Tommy’s junior class is after Tommy to get his older brother David’s apartment so they can have a beer party.

Right away I notice the new kid is an older Danny Bonaduce, from The Partridge Family.

My friend Danielle is a fan of The Partridge Family, so I call her up to tell her what I’m watching.

DANIELLE:  Eight is Enough is crap!  Why are you watching it, turn it off!

ME:  I’m not a fan of the show, it just takes me back.  Anyway, the reason I’m—

DANIELLE:  Josh says it’s the worst show in the history of television!

ME:  I’m not arguing with you!  I’m just trying to tell you Danny Bonaduce is guest-starring on one episode as the new kid in school, and—

DANIELLE:  He’s probably up to no good!  He was just as bad in real life too!

I can see I’m not exactly winning her over.  Anyway, I finish the show (it wasn’t so bad) and look at the air-date that Tubi includes with each episode.  It originally aired January 4, 1978.

Why does that year & date sound so familiar to me?  This will eat at me for the next couple weeks.

So, a couple nights ago I’m looking through online folders of pictures I scanned from my mom’s photo albums (that were sadly taken apart after her passing) and I found it.  The photo with that date, I mean.

As my brothers & sisters can attest, our mom liked to include details on the backs of her photos.  The date, what’s going on, etc.;  and on this picture, she writes:

January 4, 1978.  Doug returns to school after Christmas vacation wearing the painter pants and Earth shoes he received as gifts. His rust sweater is a gift too.

Doug is in the 11th grade.           

I remember asking for those painter pants and orange Earth-shoes for Christmas, and getting some nice compliments from a couple of my female classmates at school.

(It just occurred to me I never wore white pants again.  That’s probably a good thing.)

I can even remember what we had for lunch in the cafeteria that day!  Well, almost.  Wednesdays were “Gravy Day”, we either had meatloaf with whipped potatoes and brown gravy, or a hot chicken sandwich with potatoes & gravy.  (The meatloaf was my favorite, the chicken was my sister Shawn’s.)

And I am willing to bet $1,000 I know what my family watched on television that night.  Well, us kids anyway.  Danny Bonaduce on Eight is Enough, up to no good.

35 comments:

  1. I thought I told you to blow up your TV? Also, I was almost 1 year old on that date.

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    1. You did Danielle, but I've still got 5 more seasons of this thing to get through :^)

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  2. I never watched any of those shows, but I think had some painter pants in my youth. Cute picture of you, Doug.

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    1. Wha wha wha--DJan, you have some serious catching up to do! Anyway, thank you for the comment and glad to know another painter-pants wearer. :^)

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  3. I'm looking for the cloth loops that were on the side seams of some of those kinds of painter pants... I watch The Waltons every day at 11am CT on free MeTV, (channel 9-2 around KC.) I just have a square plastic antenna in my window for PBS and all the local channels and several others. No monthly TV bill around here. Sometimes I'm so tired from work and sleepy I don't stay awake for shows I want to see, like NCIS Hawaii and Hawaii 5-0. I think Bonaduci is on one of those shows about people's goofs with several co-hosts like Tonya Harding. I don't watch that one. Linda in Kansas

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    1. Thanks Linda! FYI, those pants DID have the loops on the sides of the legs (they wouldn't have been painter pants without em). And like you, I have an antenna and don't pay for my TV either. Tubi is a free streaming service, by the way. πŸ™‚

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  4. I don't remember watching that particular program but was a huge fan of the Patridge family - the older brother whose name I've forgotten (how fickle am I?) was hot!
    On January 4, 1978, I likely would have been at my desk at the office of the air charter service I worked at in northern Saskatchewan. It would have been a busy time, because I did the accounts receivable and I had to prepare (handwritten) statements to send out for payment after the month end. It was also year-end for us, so there would have been other important tasks to be completed.
    I know, for certain, I didn't watch the show that night as there was no television in our community at the time.
    I'm apparently, way behind, as I've never heard of orange Earth shoes. I did have platforms though, lol!

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    1. Haha wow loved the memory, thanks for sharing Maebeme! πŸ‘

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    2. Oldest brother: David Cassidy. Orange Earth shoes?

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    3. Yep River! I remember both well πŸ™‚

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    4. Yes River, it was David Cassidy!

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  5. Jan. 4, 1978? You look good in that outfit. David wore white paints, blue aloha shirt and white shoes to his wedding in 1980. Snazzy. As for those TV shows, I didn't watch them. Just not into TV. More into the stereo and music. I haven't changed.

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    1. Thanks for sharing Gigi. Well, white pants seem more tropical and better Suited to Hawaii than Pennsylvania! πŸ˜„ But painter pants were trendy in high school in 78.. and I know you were never a TV person!

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  6. Hi Doug, On that date I probably had on white painter pants and Earth Shoes too! I loved Earth Shoes, had a few pairs. Never was a fan of Eight is Enough. I did watch Little House but grew up with one TV and a very sports minded father and brother so they always had first dibs on the TV. Didn’t watch lots of TV in my teen years. I love that your Mom put so much detail in her photo descriptions. Great pic of you! Hope you are feeling better.❤️

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    1. Hey Robin, thanks for sharing! I thought you might relate as we're close in age, nice to know another non-fan of Eight is Enough, haha.. well, we had one tv too but with six kids in our house my dad was lucky to watch the nightly news. πŸ™‚ I am feeling a bit better, thank you my friend. ❣️

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  7. In 1978, we had just moved from our rent house to our first home with 3 kids under 10, a dog, a cat, and a blue jay named Bird. DH and I both worked. Do I remember much else... no. I do remember Eight is Enough, but didn't watch it. (I wanted 8 - but turns out 3 was enough!) Painter's pants? Know what they are, but not in my memory. And wish my mom had dated and written on her pics - would be helpful.

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    1. Thank you for sharing Rian, it sounds like your household was plenty busy! Painter pants was right after bell bottoms, for both boys and girls. Flannel shirts and overalls were also a thing. I'm clueless what kids wear today!

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  8. You may wish you hadn't asked...that Wednesday night, just a few days after New Years, was when we decided to start trying to have a child. Nine months later, to the day, our daughter was born.

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    1. Haha that's awesome dkzody... talk about timing. πŸ™‚πŸ‘

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  9. Well, I’m no use to you today...
    I didn’t ever watch “Eight is Enough”. Nor did I watch “Little House on the Prairie”, “Family” or “The Waltons”. Not even “The Partridge Family”.

    Boy, weren’t you cute in 1978. I wasn’t – I was 32 years old at the time.

    Why is there a picture of Charles Laughton at the top?

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    1. Haha thanks Peter--and FYI, 32 was still a young fella in 78! As for Charles Laughton, I was hoping someone would ask; I was looking for an image of a lawyer grilling someone on the witness stand," where were you on such and such date" like in those old movies. That was the best I could come up with. πŸ™‚

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  10. This is a very nostalgic post. I remember several 70's shows but not 8 is Enough. The fact that you found the 1/4/1979 photo with lovely details is quite remarkable. As an 11th grader, you were up-to-date with the trends. I remember painter's pants, bell bottoms, jeans...

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    1. Thank you Susan! Actually January 1978 but I'm sure that was just a typo on your part. And yes those details are courtesy of my dear Mom, but I do remember those trends and seeing these old shows does help spark the memories. πŸ™‚

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  11. I loved this post, Doug! I used to watch that show--which was incredibly dumb but had some lovely eye candy, Hello Grant Goodeve! I remember that painter's pants were very in. And Danny Bonaduce was a real bad boy; he lives in Seattle now and is (I think?) experiencing some serious health problems.

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    1. Thank you Margaret! Haha, hello Grant Goodeve--he was a handsome guy. Did you know he wrote and sang the theme song? And I did know poor Danny is in poor health, but didn’t know he lived so close to you..

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  12. I remember watching Eight is Enough but don't remember a single thing about it, so I guess I didn't like it enough for memories.
    January 4th 1978 I was living in an outer suburb of Sydney Australia, my oldest was about to turn 5 (in February) and was to start school that year, so I was busy sewing summer uniform dresses and packing lunches into school lunch boxes so she would be comfortable with the system by the time school started. Also looking after an almost 3-year-old and a 14 months old toddler.

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    1. Thank you River, and thanks for sharing. Wow, you really had your hands full then, didn’t you? I hope all your love and good efforts paid off... πŸ™‚

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  13. I once gave myself serious tendon injury disco dancing in earth shoes.

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  14. First, this is nowhere close to being the most unnecessary thing I've read this week - I read far more unnecessary things on Facebook every day.
    Second - let me offer some praise for Eight is Enough; blending broad sitcom-like situations within the same series that could tell more serious stories is a pretty tough blend, and I think this show did it about as well as it could be done. However, while the entire series sits on my DVD shelf, I confess I don't return to it as often as many other shows from this era. But I liked that Tom was a writer, and could support that large a family on a writer's salary - what a time it was. So it gets a thumbs-up for me - at least until the last season when they brought in Ralph Macchio. Why would a show called Eight is Enough introduce a ninth kid?

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    1. Thank you David, and I appreciate your feedback here--I wondered if you were familar with this show, I should've known better! I like the points you made here, and now you've motivated me to keep watching (I'm only midway thru season 2). I have little memory of it and what the--Ralph Macchio? Wow :^)

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  15. Me too, me too!! I had painter's pants purchased from the Army-Navy store in Sharon, PA and blue suede earth shoes. Loved both items and have fond memories or them but no photos. Kim in PA

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  16. Hmmm.... painter's pants? Gosh... I don't remember that fad. But then I have a poor memory.

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  17. Well, I thought I’d answer your question – not the specific date, but 1978 in general.
    I was in Melbourne, of course. I also spent a considerable amount of time in San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia and Albuquerque.
    There is a reason for all those places, but I won’t go into it here.

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