Q & A: Can You Identify These Shows, Part 6

I get a lot of e-mails from people asking me about television shows, made-for-TV movies or miniseries they remember from years or decades past. I try to answer each question as best I can but often recollections are hazy at best and thus impossible to identify, despite my best efforts. Hopefully, by posting these questions here at Television Obscurities for everyone to read someone will come up with the answer. Keep reading for today’s unidentified shows.

This new feature has turned out to be both more popular and more productive than I had hoped. Many of the questions that stumped me have been answered by visitors.

Can You Identify These Shows, Part 1
-Show identified as a British program called The Champions, broadcast by NBC in 1968
-Two-part made-for-TV movies/miniseries identified as Goliath Awaits, aired in syndication as part of Operation Prime Time in November 1981

Can You Identify These Shows, Part 2
-Made-for-TV movie identified as Mother Was Never A Kid, an ABC Afterschool Special broadcast in April 1981
-Show identified as ABC’s Oh, Grow Up!, a sitcom that ran for 11 episodes during the 1999-2000 season

Can You Identify These Shows, Part 3
-Show identified as a British program called Into the Labyrinth
-Early 1990s animated movie still unidentified

Can You Identify These Shows, Part 4
-Show identified as Phyl & Mikhy, a CBS summer series that ran for 6 episodes in 1980.
-Show potentially identified as Showtime’s Hard Knocks, a sitcom that aired in 1987.

Can You Identify These Shows, Part 5
-Episode identified as “They,” broadcast as part of syndicated horror anthology series The Evil Touch (produced in Australia) during the 1973-1974 season.
-Show potentially identified as NBC’s Empty Nest, which ran from 1988-1995.

Here are two more questions that I hope someone can answer. I sure couldn’t.

I’m trying to find out the details about a 1960s US children’s TV series, set in, I believe, a late 19th century US town. It was centred on an old house where it was rumored that gold or treasure was hidden and where the owner was a recluse and unfriendly. Kids would try and sneak in but to no avail. The series ended when the owner died and the town quickly descended on the house and tore it to bits in search of the money. They found nothing and the building was completely demolished except for the chimney. When the crowd had gone, one of the kids stayed behind and casually threw a stone at the chimney and the gold suddenly flooded out of the chimney. That’s all I can remember. It was one of those programs that left a strong memory and I would love to see again. Can anyone remember the title and any more details? Many thanks.
Kevin

Children’s television is outside my area of expertise but I’m fairly confident someone will recognize this description.

I remember this from when I was a kid in the 1980s. It seemed to be a series pilot that never got off the ground. It featured a scientist working for what I assume was some sort of government agency trying to create a lifeform. He succeeds in creating a cute baby-like creature with big bright eyes (I think they were blue) and two antennae-like bumps on its forehead. It can affect electricity, most notably when it makes the lights flash on and off by wiggling the bumps. I remember the scientist’s boss saying “Dissect it. Take it apart. Figure out what went wrong.” So the scientist decides to flee the installation with the lifeform and a female colleague accompanies him. I don’t remember much more about it. Sorry if it is a bit too vague. I believe the show was a one-shot since I never saw any more episodes. I think the creature’s name was the title of the show. Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated. Keep up the great work on the site.
Rob

It’s amazing how detailed Rob’s recollection is (yet still somewhat vague). For some reason, people often remember with incredible detail television programs they watched hen they were young. Unfortunately, these memories can be darn irritating when they cannot be identified.


7 Comments

  • Steve says:

    I found the second one. It’s “Wishman” — http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0424569/#comment

  • Steve says:

    Here’s some video, but the voiceover is not from a Wishman fan…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at4TWrBy8og

  • RGJ says:

    That clip is from a 2004 ABC special called “The Best TV Shows That Never Were.” I remember watching that. It was produced by Lee Goldberg, the authority on unsold pilots.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Lee Goldberg may have written several books on TV pilots (and they’re quite good), but he’s not an “authority”…not with the errors he made in his first book {“Unsold Television Pilots- 1955 through 1988”} for McFarland in 1990. He had to rely on “second-hand information” on most of the pre-1970 pilots he listed. To give you an example, his entry on “Rambling Wreck From Discotheque” [starring Paul Dooley as a writer who’s “forced” to produce a teen-age music show], was shown on ABC as “The Man in the Square Suit” in April 1966 (Goldberg obviously got his sparse description of the pilot from an ad agency report on the pilot “in progress”, before it aired)…and the man who administers producer Jack Chertok’s TV archive is now in the midst of preparing its eventual release on DVD. Lee wasn’t even aware “THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS [SHOW]”, the one where Dick’s an executive and Tom’s his bumbling brother of an angel, WAS sold as a series in 1965, that’s how “obscure” it was to him.

    To be fair, though, his description of “Wishman” WAS “on the money”. And his first book WAS a monumental achievement for someone who never complied a list of TV pilots before…but there was something about the two TV specials based on his books that, to me, was unsatisfying. I don’t know whether it was him, or the network that insisted he “camp up” the footage shown from the pilots he had access to, to make those specials more “accessable” for a prime-time audience [the same way those godawful “Paley Center For Media” specials have turned out the past several years]. He hasn’t produced another special since 2004…

  • DuMont says:

    The ABC ‘Wishman’ pilot aired on June 23rd, 1983 at 8 pm, up against encores of ‘Magnum, P.I.’ and ‘Fame’, and it did well for an unsold pilot:

    8-9 pm
    1st ‘Magnum, P.I.’ (R) (CBS) 15.2HH/31%
    2nd ‘Wishman’ (ABC) 13.5HH/27%
    3rd ‘Fame’ (R) (NBC) 8.3HH/17%

    I wonder if that rating, high for a summer airing, might have given ABC pause for thoughts to a possible 1983-84 third season four- to six-episode pick-up, or perhaps even prompting producer Viacom to try and sell CBS on picking it up as a backup series for the following spring/summer seasons.

  • bill says:

    The first one sounds like an ABC Weekend Special. There is a John Bellairs novel called The Treasure of Alpheus T. Winterborne that is very similar to your description. Old house rumored to be full of treasure that can’t be found. Young boy goes to investigate, is pursued by the villain of the story. Finds weathervane on roof filled with gold coins. Hope this helps.

  • mlynch says:

    Looks like the story bill mentions was used as an episode of “CBS Children’s Mystery Theatre” in 1980. See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0300569/

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