Love American Style                                           Boomer Nostalgia 608 words

June 2022

Howard R Music

 

 

 

The wife and I generally keep a low profile during the holidays and spent Memorial Day weekend lounging around the house. Channel surfing, I came across Decades Television, which was running a two-day marathon of the old Love American Style program. A mild take on the sexual revolution (as it was known) as the Baby Boomers came of age. From what I’ve read it debuted in 1971 and ran until 1974. It was during my last year of high school and I had joined the military after graduation so I wasn’t around much television at that time and didn’t remember much about the show.

Curious, I started watching and was drawn in, as much by the visuals rather than the scripts. Each episode was a stand-alone plot featuring a rotating cast of celebrities from the era; veteran movie and sitcom stars, comedians, musicians, and some then unknowns who would later make their mark on the big-screen or the boob-tube. I got a kick out of watching actors I hadn’t seen in ages. The brightly colored clothes, hip-hugging bell-bottom pants, mini-skirts, knee high go-go boots, and long hair styles triggered a rush of memories.

The stories were exaggerated but humorous, suggestive without overt sexuality, light-hearted and silly but with one-liners that were often quite funny. They were supposed to be that way. It was typical of the era. The show radiated youth and enthusiasm. The optimism so thick it was almost tangible. Despite the problems associated with the passionate 60s it was a time of looking forward to greater things and accomplishments.

And why not?  Baby Boomers were entering and taking their place in society in huge numbers. There was a recently completed interstate highway system that could take you anywhere in the country with relative ease. Gas was a quarter a gallon, and cars were affordable to virtually anyone with even a minor income. Macho wheels like Corvette, Mustang, Charger and Firebird. Even the frugal could be cool in a fuel-efficient love-bug (Volkswagen).

Millions of the young were blowing down the highway listening to eight-track tapes or the radio blasting out some of the most innovative music ever produced. There were a lot of independent radio stations and record companies so there was room for experimentation. I wrote a song about the close relationship of Boomers, their music and wheels called Magic Highway.

Men were walking on the moon and no doubt we would all have the chance to vacation there or even on the planet Mars. Flying cars and robot maids would be the norm. The animated cartoon The Jetsons was not fantasy but a blueprint for the future. There were oceans to sail, mountains to climb, planes bound for exotic lands, sights, and peoples. There were no limits.

Sadly, our expectations of the dawning of the Age of Aquarius never fully materialized, but the sitcoms of the day captured the hopefulness and zeal of the Boomers, at least as well as celluloid can.

As mentioned, I was more caught up with the visuals than the dialogue or plots on the show.  The young slender, lithe, unmarked and un-pierced bodies, with full heads of hair and glowing, healthy skin. The exuberant smiles and sparkling eyes that always seemed to be peering ahead into the future.

I look around at the populace today, young and old, the bloated bodies, thinning hair, facial tattoos, gaged ears, and pierced everything, with vacuous, empty eyes that aren’t sure which bathroom to use, and I can’t help but think the magic carpet ride landed on the wrong side of the 5th Dimension.

 

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