Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|After School Specials 1978-1979 |
It's a Mile From Here to Glory, Thank You- Jackie Robinson, Gaucho, My Other Mother
Actors: Melissa Sue Anderson, Marion Ross, Steve Shaw, James G. Richardson, Panchito Gómez
Directors: Richard Lieberman, Richard Bennett
Genres: Comedy, Kids & Family, Television
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Coping with the angst of teenagitis...
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 01/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The late 70's...a tumultuous period...gas shortages, feathered hair, bell bottom jeans, and the demise of disco (if you lived in the Midwest, you may recall a little event hosted by Chicago DJ Steve Dahl called Disco Demolition, held at Chicago's Comisky Park during the period between a double header...things got a little out of hand, resulting in the White Sox having to forfeit the 2nd game, but that's neither here nor there...). Anyway, what do these things have to do with what I'm reviewing? Not a whole lot, and that's the point...kids during that time period probably could have cared less about any of those things, as they had little to do with what was going on within their own lives, but thankfully there was something directed at them, namely, tele-plays presented under the heading of After School Specials, dramatic, sometimes comedic, programs designed especially to entertain and edjumacate pre-teens about life and issues they could have very well faced, in terms they could understand in an hour-long format (approximately 45 minutes, without the commercials). Each set comes with two DVDs, each containing 2 episodes, or 4 episodes per set. The series (I believe there were something like 26 episodes) created and produced by Martin Tahse, winning him a slew of awards, was really unique in that it was programming for young people that wasn't made to tie into products or sell merchandise, but to speak to them about situations difficult to understand or comprehend, treating its' audience with the respect and intelligence not often seen, not talking down to them but talking to them, and terms they could understand.
It's A Mile from Here to Glory (Originally aired 5/5/78), starred Steve Shaw as Early, a somewhat anti-social young man, with low self esteem, feeling alone as his widowed father is burdened with the task of keeping the family farm afloat. Early finds attention from his ability to run well (the boy's like a little Forrest Gump running every damn place) joining the school track team and winning a few races, but then comes the stick...a meeting with the bumper of a speeding car lays up Early with bum gams, and now he has nothing, reverting back to his old, loser self until a therapist pushes him to back on track, and finally he and his father realize there's more to life than running races or a farm.
Thank You, Jackie Robinson (Originally aired 10/11/78), set in the late 40's (hence the episode in black and white), Sammy, played by Ronnie Scribner, is a freak for the Dodgers (before they relocated to L.A.). Sammy works as a porter after school in his mother's small hotel (I guess this was before child labor laws), and meets an equally obsessive fan when his mother hires a new cook named Davey, an elderly black man. Davey becomes sort of a surrogate father, until his bum ticker lays him up in the hospital, and Sammy decides to get a bunch of the Dodger players to sign a baseball, hoping it will make his friend better (it doesn't, but the bright side is Sammy got the ball back). The passing of his friend allows for Sammy to deal with loss he couldn't understand when his father passed. Also, it teaches him the importance of choosing friend closer to his own age (okay, maybe not)...
Gaucho (Originally aired 10/25/78), stars Panchito Gomez as Gaucho (not Groucho), a young boy whose family is originally from Puerto Rico, now living in New York. He desires to move back to Puerto Rico, and he believes his older brother, Angel (nice fro, dude), will make it happen until Angel gets married (and to top it off, Angel's new brother-in-law is a cop!) and decides to stay. Gaucho then decides to find work, earning the money to take him and his mother back, but he ends up working for a jive, shady character named Gringo, as a sort of delivery boy. Things get a bit hairy, and in the end, Gaucho learns that family and how you live, rather than where, is most important .
The fourth an final episode in this collection is My Other Mother (Originally aired 9/26/79), stars Melissa Sue Anderson (no stranger to the After School Specials) as Alex, a young woman who's lived with foster parents for a good part of her life. On the eve of her adoption to her foster parents becoming final, her real mother shows up, wanting to re-establish contact and ultimately have Alex live with her. They all believe (hope) the woman will be some kind of monster, but she turns out to be pretty normal, since she's overcome the problems that forced her to give up Alex in the first place (hint, it has to do with de booze...a few of these specials featured alkie parents), and now Alex must choose between two families (I was going to say `choose between two mothers', but that sounded too close to that late 70's song Torn Between Two Lovers, by Mary MacGregor).
The quality of the pictures on these DVDs is not the best, but it is as how it was when originally presented, and given these were teleplays made to be presented on television in the 70's, you really can't compare it to today's standards. The packaging is pretty cool, as the DVDs, enclosed in a regular DVD case, come in a box looking much like school lockers, and flip open to reveal informational content and the appearance of the inside of a locker. Printed inside is a brief synopsis and airdate for each episode, photo galleries, and the name of the original author for each story. Also, look for two more sets coming in spring of '05, episode listing below;
A Matter of Time
The Night Swimmers
Two Loves for Jenny
Did You Hear What Happened to Andrea?
Ace Hits the Big Time
Face at the Edge of the World