Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Random Memories From A TV-Addled Mind

My brain is a vast repository for useless pop culture knowledge. That's meant to be more of a confession than a boast. Though many geeks like me would take pride in their expansive internal databases, I'm convinced that these memories are probably taking up valuable real estate in my brain. I can only assume that most people fill up these same portions of the brain with important stuff like math, social skills and a sense of direction.

It's hardly a curse though, it's always fun to blow someone's mind when you can help them piece together their own pop culture memories. It was recently that a friend came to me with a vague memory. It went a little something like this:

Friend: Do you remember a show that had this guy and a dog, and they showed clips of Batman or something. I think his name was Stan the Man.
Me: You mean Switchback?
Friend: Maybe.

It was indeed Switchback, a show I had not seen or thought about since it went off the air in the late eighties. Switchback was a youth oriented program on CBC. There were various versions of the program, each suited to their particular Canadian market. Stan the Man (pictured above) hosted the Halifax version with his trusty dog Rufus. My memories of the show consist of little more than glimpses of neon and puppets. I can remember, however, that the show was quite popular and it came as a shock to many when it was cancelled.

After being reminded of the show, I tried to find as much info on it as I could. Sadly, I couldn't find any video clips and only a few pictures. There are several mentions of the show on various message boards. One common theme among those who remember the show was that Stan the Man was not a particularly genial person when the cameras weren't rolling.

It was during my google quest for Switchback info that I came across the site, which must have been lovingly crafted by pop culture geeks not unlike myself. The beauty of the site though is that it focuesses on Canadian programming. Meaning that shows like Switchback, Danger Bay and the Littlest Hobo have all been given some recognition.

Here is a list of some of the countless Canadian made programs that brought back from the dark recesses of my brain:

The Anti-Gravity Room
Camp Cariboo
Deke Wilson's Mini Mysteries
The Edison Twins
Harriet's Magic Hats
Maniac Mansion
My Secret Identity
Puttnam's Prairie Emporium
Size Small
Squawk Box
Street Cents
Test Pattern
Today's Special
Under The Umbrella Tree
The Vacant Lot
Wok With Yan

The downside of this memory affirming bit of nostalgia is that it has knocked loose a new variety of partial memories. Like the show where a cop's soul gets trapped in the body of his St. Bernard after a car accident and the dog ends up living with the cop's relatives who have a wacky neighbor who is a hair-obsessed TV weather man who suspects that there is something not quite right with the St. Bernard. I'm not kidding about that either, it was a cheesy sitcom wherein the dog (who could talk) would try to help out the family with their everday problems by dispensing advice and stupid pet tricks. God help me.