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 even decades past. I try to answer each question as best I can. Every now and then I like to pull out a few e-mails to answer here at Television Obscurities for everyone to enjoy. Keep reading for today’s questions and answers.
This show was about the roles of man and woman being switched. It was around 1977 and on at night, like after 10:00. I can clearly remember the theme song. I can remember there was one well known 70’s and 80’s actress who was one of the main characters, but I can’t remember any others.
All That Glitters was an ill-fated late-night syndicated series from Norman Lear, similiar to his more successful Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. It was a parody of soap operas and, as Letty recalls, was set in a universe in which gender roles were reversed. Women worked and sexually harassed men while men stayed home and kept house.
The large cast included Eileen Brennan, Lois Nettleton, Linda Gray, Barbara Baxley, Jessica Walter, Vanessa Brown, Chuck McCann, David Haskell, Gary Sandy, Louise Shaffer, and former Major League Baseball player Wes Parker. Gray’s character was one of–if not the very first–regular transgender characters on U.S. television.
All That Glitters was controversial prior to its premiere in April 1977. It aired five nights a week. Critical reception was poor and ratings weren’t great. The series lasted 13 weeks (or 65 episodes) before being cancelled. The theme song, which can be found here, referred to God as a woman.
I was just curious if you were aware of this obscure TV series from NBC in 1976, The Rebels.
Aside from its Wikipedia page, its TV.com page, Internet Movie Database entry, there is remarkably little information about this series available anywhere. But it did exist. It is real. The Rebels supposedly ran on NBC for 13 weeks, premiering in April 1976, and each episode featured an interview with a historical figure like Thomas Jefferson or Abigail Adams. Keith Berwick served as host.
There is a short clip from one episode available on YouTube in which Ron Thompson portrayed Henry David Thoreau:
The only references the series come from TV listings in one or two California newspapers from 1976. I can’t find any mention of it anywhere else. That suggests to me that it wasn’t an NBC series at all but perhaps a local series aired by an NBC affiliate in California. It’s possible it was part of NBC’s bicentennial programming during 1976 but was only aired in select markets, either due to local pre-emptions or for other reasons. Or it may have had nothing to with NBC at all. It could have been a PBS series, a local public TV series, a syndicated series.
The Rebels shouldn’t be confused with ABC’s The Young Rebels, which ran for 15 episodes during the 1970-1971 season. Coincidentally, that series co-starred Louis Gossett, Jr. who apparently appeared in an episode of The Rebels.
If anyone has information about The Rebels, please hit the comments.