It's pretty much a fact that kids grow up much faster today than they did in the '70s. And even in the '70s, I grew up slower than most.
I didn't have older siblings. I was the oldest. We didn't have cable. In fact, I don't know if my folks ever have had cable. And, most of all, I loved cartoons far too much to be interested in what was on "grown-up TV."
Other friends, even my own brother, were in a hurry to grow up and they gravitated toward early '70s sitcoms or movies. Me? I liked my PBS kids shows and I loved my cartoons.
Saturday morning was the highlight of the week and like any kid from the '70s, I can recite the cartoons that aired at that time: The Bugs Bunny Show, The Jetsons, Fat Albert, The Pink Panther, Scooby Doo Where Are You, Josie and the Pussy Cats, Josie and the Pussy Cats in Outer Space, Speed Buggy, The Harlem Globetrotters, The Underdog Show, Super Friends, you get the gist.
The only shows that I saw that involved actual people were on PBS or kids shows that also appeared on Saturday morning, like Land Of the Lost and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.
Because of this, I missed the entire first half of the groovy '70s on the tube, shows like the Mod Squad and the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.
Plus, I didn't watch sports at all. I've gotten plenty familiar with early '70s baseball because of my love for the diamond. But competition on other fields of play between 1970-75 is still pretty hazy.
Mark Hoyle recently sent me some cards from that very hazy period that include wonderful items from both sports and pop culture.
Let's take a look.
Here is a 1974 Topps football card of Ahmad Rashad. I don't know Rashad as a Bill at all (he played just one season for the Bills and was injured for an entire year while with Buffalo in 1975). I know Rashad as a Viking and a TV commentator for NBC and ABC. And the former husband of the TV wife of Bill Cosby. He was also O.J. Simpson's roommate. Wow, a lot of ugly people in that paragraph.
Spike Jones! I had no idea that the Bills had a punter named Spike Jones. See, this is what I missed while watching cartoons. Spike punted in the NFL for eight years while I was watching the Hair Bear Bunch.
A couple of Sabres off of the 1974-75 Topps hockey set. These were two key guys on the team that went to the 1975 Stanley Cup Finals. My wife, who watched hockey as a kid like I watched baseball, introduced me to who these people are. I was too wrapped up in the Funky Phantom (yet another rip-off of Scooby Doo).
1975-76 Topps basketball is a very nice-looking set. In fact, several of the NBA sets from the '70s dribble circles around the designs of other major sports. It's too bad I've never paid much attention to the NBA.
The pride-and-joy of the Buffalo Braves, Bob McAdoo, beat out more well-known guys like Barry and Jabbar for the scoring title in 74-75. I couldn't be more happy for someone who was watching H.R. Pufnstuf at the time.
Now we're transitioning from sports to pseudo sports. I don't do wrestling, but this is an awesome card that I will not turn down. Jake "the Snake" Roberts was from the time period when I paid the most attention to wrestling (albeit in a drunken stupor). And you can't argue with a guy who brings a python into the ring.
Onto the nonsports cards. Obviously this is Planet Of The Apes -- a movie that came out before my time, but spawned many different offshoots including a mid-1970s TV show. That's what these cards reference. They came out in 1975, even though the copyright on the back says 1967!
I remember my brother and a friend of mine being into the Apes. My brother even had some of the action figures.
Another early '70s TV craze. Kung Fu was hugely popular among people who didn't watch cartoons in the early '70s. When the song says "Everybody was Kung Fu fighting," everybody WAS Kung Fu fighting. Even me. Except instead of watching David Carradine, I was watching Hong Kong Phooey.
The Fonz! Mark Hoyle is trying to get a card into my '70s TV/movie binder, and I believe he has succeeded with this card.
Happy Days was around long enough that I watched it after I shed my cartoon ways. I even remember these cards, which came out in 1976. This card is from the episode where Fonzie arranges to get into Richie's band so he can play a bongo solo.
I don't really feel deprived that I was watching cartoons when all of those other things were going on. I saw plenty of shows and movies once I became too old to get up on Saturday mornings.
And I got to see what happens when Pebbles and Bam Bam grow up, too.