Strangely, I can still picture in my head an image of me as a child sitting in front of the television watching Nick at Nite. For me, school nights consisted of a continual routine: finishing my homework, eating dinner, laughing at the misadventures of Dangermouse, taking a bath, and watching the classic wholesome goodness of Nick at Nite before bedtime. In 1987, Cable Television was relatively new for a rural person like myself and being 7 years old and in the first grade, cable was for a lack of a better term, FREAKING AWESOME! From 1987-1990, Nick at Nite ruled my airwaves from 8:00pm-10:30pm
Currently, Nick at Nite continues with the same TV formula as it did in 1987: airing classic re-runs after Nickelodeon signed off. However, my Nick at Nite was; black and white (lacking color), avoiding risqe subject matter, crammed with 1950-1960s corny situations (one Donna Reed episode focused on one of her children missing his mittens), laced with memorable television theme songs (Car 54 Where are You?), constantly ending with a quasi-Full House ending where everyone learns a lesson, and starred a talking horse!
One day during a work meeting, I asked a colleague who is near the same age as myself (28), if she remembered watching Nick at Nite as a child. A smile came to her face as she told me her memories of watching Dangermouse/Bananaman, and then getting her dose of Nick at Nite. We laughed at our memorization of the whole Nick at Nite lineup and the many zany episodes/commercials discussed. But the neat thing about our Nick at Nite chat happened when a few younger colleagues joined the discussion. The younger persons began spouting out Nick at Nite shows that they enjoyed but they could not remember the ones that I enjoyed which led me to the idea for this article. This article will examine the Nick at Nite lineup that I fondly remember and hopefully you will get that Hey, I Remember That! feeling that I catch as I read your retrojunk articles.
From 1987-1990 the 8:00pm-10:30pm Nick at Nite timeslot included* (*Please note: where you see multiple television shows in a timeslot this show replaced the other, this lineup does not reflect the weekend lineup)
8:00pm Make Room For Daddy/ The Patty Duke Show/ Bewitched.
8:30pm Mr. Ed
9:00pm My Three Sons/Green Acres.
9:30pm The Donna Reed Show
10:00pm Rowan and Martin Laugh-In/Classic Saturday Night Live
10:30pm Car 54 Where are You?/SCTV/The Monkees
In 1990, Nick at Nite added two great shows to the lineup: Dragnet and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Despite some of the shows being corny, they were all fun, and had that make you laugh/feel-good feeling. My favorite show on the lineup was Mr. Ed just because he was a talking horse who always did something to find himself in trouble with his owner Wilbur. Looking back, I think shows like The Patty Duke Show, Bewitched, and The Donna Reed show, entrapped me, not only because they were funny, but because of the hotness of their leading ladies. To this day, I consider Donna Reed and Elizabeth Montgomery (Bewitched) as two of the hottest actresses on my list. Sketch comedy shows like SCTV, Classic Saturday Night Live, and Rowan and Martins Laugh-In possessed great comedic sketches which featured upcoming stars such as Goldie Hawn, Rick Moranis, Chevy Chase, and John Candy who had me and my family rolling in laughter. Situational comedies like Car 54 Where are You, Green Acres, and the Monkees were well written comedies with clean humor. (Even as I am writing this, I laugh to myself when thinking of wife on Green Acres who had to give up her city life and move to the rural life and complained on each episode). Finally, when Nick at Nite added Dragnet and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, I was entrenched in the well written horror/mystery show and the real life cop drama.
Most importantly, Nick at Nite was fun for the whole family. My grandparents enjoyed watching with me because the shows sparked their memories of the programming that they loved watching with their children. My parents also enjoyed shows like Mr. Ed and My Three Sons because it was what they viewed as children. An added bonus was that Nick at Nite did not contain sexual/violent content, which gave it an A+ from parents.
Like Jackie Paper, in the melody, Puff the Magic Dragon, who lost interest in his childhood toy, I too began to lose interest in my childhood pal Nick at Nite, and moved on to other things for numerous reasons. First, Nick at Nite began ridding itself of the shows that I fell in love with (especially Mr. Ed) and replaced them with programs that never caught my interest. Second, programs on different channels grabbed my attention such as: The Simpsons, Married with Children, and The Wonder Years. Third, the difficulty of my homework increased in the fourth grade, which reduced my television time. Finally, and most importantly, one system, one game, two brothers: NINTENDO w/ Super Mario Brothers. On October 23rd 1990, my parents bought me a Nintendo, which affected how I spent my free time. With games like Castlevania, Contra, Metroid, Punch Out, Super Mario Brothers 2, Duck Hunt, Zelda, and Pro Wrestling, Nick at Nite did not stand a chance.
At times, I will tune to Nick at Nite to see what shows are on the current line up. I even tried watching TV LAND to catch that glimpse of the hottie Donna Reed, listen to a good Mr. Ed joke, or see if Car 54 has caught a criminal but my new interests in life have caught my interest. However, I will never forget where I was in 1987-1990 Monday-Friday from 8:00pm-10:00pm.