Q & A: Monsters; Young Guy Christian

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. Every now and then I like to dig through my inbox and pull out a few choice e-mails to answer here at Television Obscurities for everyone to read. Keep reading for today’s questions and answers.

There was a show that came on in the late 80s to early 90s (I think), it started with a family of monsters watching television in their living room. I think it was kind of like a Tales From the Darkside show. Do you remember the name of it?

Monsters was a half-hour anthology horror series that aired from 1988-1991 in first-run syndication. The opening credits spoofed the idea of the traditional nuclear family (father, mother and daughter) gathered in the living room to watch television. Only in this case the family was made up of monsters (like The Munsters). Over the course of three seasons a total of 72 episodes were broadcast, starring the likes of David McCallum, Soupy Sales, Wil Wheaton, Deborah Harry, Richard Belzer, Steve Buscemi, Matt LeBlanc, Barbara Billingsley, Frank Gorshin, Robert Lansing, Abe Vigoda, Karen Valentine and Meat Loaf.

Several episodes were released on VHS in the late 1980s/early 1990s but are long out of print. The series occasionally aired on NBC Universal’s specialty cable channel Chiller in the late 2000s. The complete series was released on DVD by eOne Entertainment in February 2014.

Young Guy Christian. Does this pilot that spoofs spy TV shows and 007 still exist in an archive somewhere?

UCLA’s Film & Television Collection has a print of this half-hour, unsold ABC sitcom pilot starring Barry Bostwick, Pat Morita and Shelley Long. It was broadcast on Thursday, May 24th, 1979. The plot of the pilot involved the inept Guy Christian (Bostwick) attempting to save six lovely contestants in the Miss Planet pageant after they’re kidnapped by the fiendish Dr. Gasss, who will only release them in return for the components to a hydrogen bomb! Morita played Guy Christian’s boss, Professor Mishugi and Long played Mishugi’s daughter, Mia.

Somewhat surprisingly, the pilot ranked 15th for the week. Les Brown of The New York Times attributed the strong showing to the fact that the pilot followed an episode of Mork & Mindy [1]

Works Cited:

1 Brown, Les. “‘Blind Ambition’ Carries CBS to Top of Ratings.” New York Times. 31 May 1979: C18.

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11 Replies to “Q & A: Monsters; Young Guy Christian”

  1. I remember ABC’s ad for “YOUNG GUY CHRISTIAN” in TV GUIDE: “Tonight, right after ‘MORK & MINDY’…”, but the network didn’t identify it as a potential pilot; it was billed as a “special”. It did get good ratings, but not enough for the network to consider buying it as a weekly series for the fall of ’79.

    The pilot was created written, and produced by Garry Marshall’s former partner Jerry Belson, with Michael Leeson, and directed by Stuart Margolin (veteran character actor who was best known for appearing as “Angel” on “THE ROCKFORD FILES”). Viacom was the “distributor”; the print on deposit at UCLA was probably donated by them. Richard Karron also co-starred as “Junkman”, Guy’s faithful best friend/robot who could fire laser bolts from his fingers and had a radio in his head [he was the show’s “comedy relief”]. It was silly, but Barry Bostwick and Pat Morita (especially Morita) could be funny in ANYTHING they appeared in.

  2. ..and I’m sure it would have been a great series, Wayne- especially with you working on it. I find it hard to believe, though, that neither ABC or Viacom ever showed YOU a “final print” of the episode (the man responsible for the special effects didn’t even get to see it????). I can imagine your missing the only air date when it was telecast. If you want to see it, you’ll have to visit UCLA’s Film and Television Archive….

  3. I would love to see Young Guy Christian again. The Miss Planet pageant was something I thought I saw on a Bob Hope show but maybe I am wrong. Or maybe it was on both shows, one borrowing the idea from the other. I am not familiar with Jerry Belson, and I didn’t know Stuart Margolin directed. I like him a lot and last saw him as an actor in a Canadian crime series if memory serves. Is the UCLA Film & Television Collection accessible online? I will try the link here to ask them. I wonder if Viacom has a copy. Is there a way I can find out who the actresses were who played the pageant contestants? I think I know who one of them was but I don’t imagine they were mentioned in TV Guide. Maybe not even in the credits if they didn’t have any lines.

  4. Glad to see that someone else remembers “Young Guy Christian.” I was looking at Barry Bostwick’s page on IMDB.com there was no mention of it so I began to wonder if it was really him in it or if I had imagined the entire thing.

    I saw the pilot when I was in college, my older brother and I were fans of the Doc Savage series of books and Guy Christian struck us as a spoof of that series. I was a bit disappointed that it never became a series.

    I don’t pay too much attention to actors’ names so for years Barry Bostwick was known to me as “the guy who played Young Guy Christian” even after I saw “Rocky Horror” later that year.

    A tip of the hat and a nod of the head to an obscure show that just vanished.

  5. WOW!! this is so amazing I too remember the show, but not the actors, just remember the guy in a white suit outfit doing disco moves in a fight scene. Long before Mark Wahlberg did the same gag in that movie “the Big hit”. To me this is what the net is at its truest form sharing knowledge. and to you Wayne Beauchmap. Nice job

  6. How refreshing to read that others were as tickled by this as I was. Barry Bostwick doing the disco moves during the fight was hysterical…coming of the Saturday Night Fever days. Oh man, this show had legs. The network missed an opportunity here. Nice to feel transported to that place and time by this string. It was a happy and exciting time for me just before I graduated from high school.

    I remember asking friends the next day in the halls if they’d seen it. No one else had.

    1. Nugget, thanks for the link to Young Guy Christian. Though the laugh track and commercials were annoying the show was fun to watch.

  7. I saw “Young Guy Christian” the other day. It was okay. I also watched “Delta House,” which was funnier. It was too funny for ABC, however.

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