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Shows of the 1970’s and 1980’s Taking You Back

Shows of the 1970’s and 1980’s Taking You Back 2000 2000 Jason Stadtlander

Mom and Dad, this post is somewhat for you as some of my favorite memories are wrapped around the themes of shows you and I watched when I was a child.

I recently stumbled across the theme for Hill Street Blues the other day on YouTube, followed by M*A*S*H, The Andy Griffith Show, The Dukes of Hazzard and Magnum P.I. and it really got me thinking about how many emotions seeing these intros or listening to these themes brought back from my childhood.

The 1970’s and 1980’s were a pinnacle era in my perspective. They were the last age of humanity before the Internet. Before instant gratification and instant access to everything at your fingertips.

It really amazes me how much a song can evoke memories. I can recall laying in my bed and hearing down the hall my mother or father watching M*A*S*H or some other television show and the warmth of being lulled to sleep as it played in the background. Or tuning in each week (when you actually had to wait for television shows) to watch Michael Landon in “Little House on the Prarie” or one of my favorite actors Ernest Borgnine in “Airwolf” or better yet, David Hasselhoff in “Knight Rider”. These shows help to sculpt my childhood, helped to make me dream of other worlds or different places.

Where were you when Miami Vice came on, Magnum P.I. or L.A. Law? What was your favorite 1970’s or 1980’s show? (I know that The Andy Griffith Show below is a stretch, I just remember watching re-runs of it as a child)

Here’s a small selection of some of my favorite childhood show’s themes, if you think I should add one, let me know!

Re-runs Back Into The 1970’s and 1980’s

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This morning I was making breakfast for my children humming the theme to The Fall Guy. My son asked me what the song was and I said “It’s from an old re-run I used to watch called The Fall Guy.”

He looked at me and said earnestly, “What’s a ‘re-run’?”

That’s when it hit me that they have never seen a re-run. They have grown up in their short 7-9 years watching Netflix, YouTube, and DVR’d shows. They never have had to sit through a commercial that they couldn’t fast forward through or had to wait for re-runs to come out of their favorite show.

So, I took a moment and showed him the theme to The Fall Guy and he asked what other shows were around when I was little. Here are my top ten favorite shows (in no particular order) that I used to love or remember watching as re-runs of as a kid:

10: The Fall Guy

The Fall Guy was an American action/adventure television program produced for ABC and originally broadcast from November 4, 1981 to May 2, 1986. It starred Lee Majors, Douglas Barr, and Heather Thomas.


9: The Dukes of Hazard

The Dukes of Hazzard is an American television series that aired on the CBS television network from January 26, 1979 to February 8, 1985. The series starred Tom Wopat, John Schneider, Catherine Bach and James Best.


8: Laverne & Shirley

Laverne & Shirley is an American television sitcom that ran on ABC from January 27, 1976 to May 10, 1983. It starred Penny Marshall as Laverne De Fazio and Cindy Williams as Shirley Feeney, single roommates who worked as bottlecappers in a fictitious Milwaukee brewery called “Shotz Brewery.”


7: M*A*S*H

M*A*S*H is an American television series developed by Larry Gelbart, adapted from the 1970 feature film MASH (which was itself based on the 1968 novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors, by Richard Hooker). The series, which was produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for CBS, follows a team of doctors and support staff stationed at the “4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital” in Uijeongbu, South Korea during the Korean War.

NOTE: I tried very hard to find the actual intro, but all I could find was the music.


6: Buck Rogers

The series starred Gil Gerard as Captain William “Buck” Rogers, a United States Air Force and NASA pilot who commands Ranger III, a space shuttle-like ship that is launched in 1987. When his ship flies through a space phenomenon containing a combination of gases, his ship’s life support systems malfunction and he is frozen and left drifting in space for 504 years.


5: Dallas

Dallas is a long-running American prime time television soap opera that aired from April 2, 1978, to May 3, 1991, on CBS. The series revolves around a wealthy and feuding Texan family, the Ewings, who own the independent oil company Ewing Oil and the cattle-ranching land of Southfork.


4: Hill Street Blues

Hill Street Blues is an American serial police drama that was first aired on NBC in 1981 and ran for 146 episodes on primetime into 1987.


3: Cheers

Cheers is an American sitcom television series that ran for eleven seasons from 1982 to 1993. It was produced by Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions in association with Paramount Network Television for NBC and created by the team of James Burrows, Glen Charles, and Les Charles.


2: Happy Days

Happy Days is an American television sitcom that aired first-run from January 15, 1974, to September 24, 1984, on ABC. Created by Garry Marshall, the series presents an idealized vision of life in the mid-1950s to mid-1960s United States.


1: Knight Rider

Knight Rider is an American television series that originally ran from September 26, 1982, to August 8, 1986. The series was broadcast on NBC and stars David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a high-tech modern crime fighter assisted by an advanced, artificially intelligent and nearly indestructible car.


I know there are a lot of good shows that aren’t listed. Trust me, I’ll do another list. I think next I might do a list of my favorite ‘family’ shows from this era.

What was your favorite show?

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