Thursday, September 15, 2005

the way I first saw Preacher Book

after watching the first couple of episodes of Firefly, I was racking my brains to recall where I had seen Preacher Book (Ron Glass) before. it was wayyyyy back in the mists of time... a younger, darker-hairer Book... possibly with flares... definitely with a moustache...

oh how it puzzled me.

so, eventually, I did what all self-respecting nerds did, and googled Ron Glass. and there he was - Detective Ron Harris in the 70's/80's TV comedy show, Barney Miller (this link plays the super-groovy theme tune too). it ran in the US from 1975 to 1982, so I imagine it was a little later in Australia.

Barney Miller starred Hal Linden in the title role (white dude, moustache, striped tie). Hal Linden always looked like such a nice guy, a hard but fair man like Carl Malden (but without the squishy nose). the supremely crusty-but-lovable old guy in the bottom-right corner is Fish, played by Abe Vigoda. he was always a bit pessimistic, and seems to be continually drawing his last, wheezy breath. I love Abe Vigoda. he turned 80 a few years ago and is still going strong. around 1980, some paper mistakenly ran with an obituary for him, and since then it's been a running joke - so much so that you can download an Abe Vigoda Health Status Bar for your PC. Fish was so popular he got his own spin-off series, the imaginatively-titled Fish.

the series was a comedy. but it had its tough moments too. was Ron Glass up to the mark? sure, he has the smile of an angel, but could he look serious as well?

oh yes, yes he could.

I loved this show as a child. it was funny, and everyone was tough, kind and decent. nothing racy or blue or smutty, or racist or sexist that I can remember. considering about 95% of it was filmed in the same crappy police office with a cell in the corner, it wasn't boring either. must have had excellent script-writers is all I can say.

so one more Barney Miller photo, and then I'll stop. this has to be one of the weirdest cross-promotions I've seen. here's Barney and sweet ol' Fish locking some naughty boys up in gaol.

hold on! you say - it's the kids from Welcome Back Kotter!

well, bless me, so it is. man, look at the flicks on John Travolta. did he really ever look that young and, frankly, hilarious? he hasn't aged as well as Johnny Depp if you compare photos from 21 Spunk Jump Street. so what if Johnny has ten years on him. my story and I'm sticking to it.

but all good things must end, even this trip down Memory Lane. Barney Miller ended in 1982... which is as good a time as ever to have a bit of a Ray Parker Jr moment...

ahhhh! Preacher Book as pin-up idol!

I feel strange.

cup of tea, Bex and a good lie down, anyone?

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