Category Archives: Saturday Night Live

I Remember The Silmarillion

One thing I loved as a kid was books. Even when I was a toddler, I would want my mom to buy me books more than toys. One of my favorites was a book called “I Have A Turtle”.

Two sentences long, but a lifetime of joy... (dot dot dot)

Two sentences long, but a lifetime of joy… (dot dot dot)

I Have A Turtle told the story of a little boy who had a pet turtle that he kept in a hat box under his bed. Actually that sentence is almost the entire first half of the book. The book is, in fact, only two sentences long. What the author did to stretch it out was to break up those two sentences into several prepositional phrases that continued from page to page with the use of ellipsis, the three periods.

When my family would read me this book, they would always make me giggle by reading the three periods as well. So the book would start out “I have a turtle, dot, dot, dot”. I loved those “dot, dot, dots” at the end of nearly every page, and I could never imagine reading the book any other way.

As I got older I was able to read by myself and I latched onto a few new books like Dragon In Danger, Green Smoke, The Enormous Egg, Yours Till Niagara Falls, and the works of Judy Blume. These titles filled my grade school days with smiles and amazement. As I entered Junior High I discovered Conan of Aquilonia on the newsstand and quickly picked it up and read it followed by all of the other Robert E. Howard books that I could get my hands on. I tried Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and John Carter of Mars series, and of course I picked up Forever by Judy Blume as well. I also worked my way through a couple best sellers; Jaws and The Exorcist. Toward the end of Junior High I, like all of my friends, picked up The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I devoured The Hobbit, but never got started on the trilogy for some reason. It was around this time that a new book hit the market, a sequel to the Middle-Earth classics. This book was The Silmarillion.
I distinctly remember getting the paperback version of this book for Christmas along with Monty Python and the Holy Grail The Book, Monty Python’s Big Red Book, and Saturday Night Live. I read the two Python books as well as the SNL book, but I never did get started on The Silmarillion. Several other friends got The Silmarillion as well, and the ones that started reading it all gave up on it. To this day my paperback copy sits on a shelf in my home library unread. Of course being the compulsive collector that I am, I also now have the hardcover copy as well and it is equally as unread by me.

The Greatest Day Of The Week

From the time I was a little kid until my teen years Saturday was the greatest day of the week. As a kid there were Saturday morning cartoons to start the day and Chiller theater to close it out. Later on Saturday evenings gave way to Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Saturday Night Live. There were other fun things sandwiched between the cartoons and late night tv, but the shows were the items that sat the tone for my day.

If I got up early enough on Saturday the stations had old episodes of Lassie, Skippy, and Daktari. If I got up too early there was the farm report or a test pattern. Neither of those interested me, but I loved the old Ivan Tors animal shows and Lassie was okay as well. A little later in the day the Saturday morning cartoons would start. Most of these were just that; cartoons. Live action Saturday morning fare was much less common. The big and possibly only exception to this rule was Sid and Marty Krofft… oh and the Hudson Brothers.

Recently I picked up season one and three of Land of the Lost on eBay for about $3 each. I already had the second season, so this completed the original series from my childhood. There was a reboot of the series in 1991 which my son watched, although he swears he only remembers watching the show on Nickelodeon. I never really warmed up to the reboot, and the theme song was nowhere near as catchy, but I loved the original 1974 version. It was one of the shows I hated to miss. The show I practically refused to miss was Return to the Planet of the Apes. I remember Mom had made a doctor’s appointment for me one week during the time Return to the Planet of the Apes was airing and I was extremely vocal about my disappointment in missing it. To Mom’s credit she didn’t smack my ass and tell me deal with it, she tried to reassure me that I could catch it on a repeat. Sadly it was cancelled and that episode never was repeated. I now have the whole series on DVD, but after 37 years I’ve forgotten what the storyline even was in the episode I missed. One day I just need to sit down and watch the whole series from start to finish. It only ran for 13 episodes, so that should be about 6 hours or less.

There were a plethora of fun shows on Saturday mornings during those years, but Chiller theater became more important to me toward the end of grade school. I was a huge fan and regular reader of Famous Monsters of Filmland, Castle of Frankenstein and The Monster Times. My fondest wish was to try and see all the classic monster movies. Every once in a while I would get lucky and find one of the Mummy movies or the Wolf Man, but usually it was B grade fare like Monster on Campus, The Monolith Monsters or The Indestructible Man. I still watched them, but I yearned for Frankenstein, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, or Godzilla.

As I entered fourth grade, I discovered Monty Python and British comedies. I would stay up until 11 PM waiting for the new Python episode. Python had a completely different sense of humor and I loved it. It also had occasional nudity which was another plus. The first episode I remember watching featured the skit Blackmail, where a game show host played video footage, showed pictures, or read partial lists of information about an illicit tryst in order to blackmail the guilty parties into paying him money.

Saturdays changed forever once our local NBC affiliate finally picked up Saturday Night Live. They didn’t carry it during the first season or two, opting instead for episodes of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. My nephews had been watching it from the first episode and I got to see one episode when we were visiting them (for the record it was the one hosted by Hugh Hefner). I watched SNL up until the early part of the sixth season. I caught a few sporadic episodes over the next five years, but didn’t really start watching again until the 11th season which was probably one of the worst seasons in the show’s history. I gave up on it again until season 14 and then watched it religiously for several years.

These days Saturday mornings don’t even play that many cartoons. Most of the ones they do play are not exclusive to Saturday mornings either. And of course unlike in those days of yore, Saturday morning is not the only place you can find cartoons on tv. There is Cartoon Network, Toon Disney, Boomerang, and many other channels carrying nothing but animated programming. Chiller theater is long gone, but the classic monster movies are almost all available on Blu-ray or DVD. The only thing missing is a DVD of our syndicated horror host, Seymour. The entire series of Monty Python’s Flying Circus is available as are the first five seasons of SNL. I still wish the other seasons of SNL were available, and I would also love a region 1 release of The Goodies which I also watched on PBS during that same time period.

The other big change is that now I don’t get up early enough to watch whatever the stations are showing, and I’m at work usually when SNL is on. I set my DVR for it if for no other reason than to catch Weekend Updates or the occasional on air flub (thank you, Jenny Slate).