Aside from the vintage cartoons that Channel 7 aired during those days, it was their canned TV series that made their station a staple for most households.
Case in point – “Combat!” Who didn’t know the theme music? It was catchy. It was “soldier-y.” It was cool. It would make a great ringtone nowadays. And the exploding pixels didn’t hurt neither. The voiceover was classic 60s. “Combat! Starring… Vic Morrow. And… Rick Jason.” My dad would often wait and check who was the main character in an episode. If it was Saunders (Vic Morrow), we’d settle in and watch it. If it was Hanley, we’d change channels. Well, we all thought Hanley was a wimp. Saunders however, like Jack Bauer, got things done. The series got so famous that I remember Rick Jason came over and was even interviewed by Uncle Bob himself. And Shell, the gas station, offered Combat tumblers and tees as a promo gimmick. My dad bought one for me. Ahh, the war games we played when we were kids. Everyone wanted to be “Bik Moro.” Tee-hee.
And of course, the caped crusader – Batman. 1966 when it was shown. I can’t remember the day of the week it aired but the episode ended with a cliffhanger so you have to watch the conclusion the following day “same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.” Nice gimmick. And again, Shell came up with a promo – Batman mask, Batman cape, and a Batman t-shirt, gray with the yellow and black Bat insignia. Man, I would love to see those again. Every kid in our neighborhood had them. And Spartan, the rubber shoe company, came up with their own Bat shoes. And again, every kid had to have them. Wish I had a video camera back then. There we were, a dozen or so “Batmans” running through the neighborhood. Yep, everyone wanted to be Batman. Nobody wanted to play Robin. Corny mask, no utility belt, and that funny tutu.
And from the same production team that gave us Batman, we also got “The Green Hornet.” Now here’s a wimpy hero. The only series where you ignore the hero but you root for the sidekick. And why won’t you? Kato, the hornet’s sidekick, was played by Bruce Lee. Step aside Van Williams, it ain’t your show anymore. Viewers got their first glimpse of Lee’s brilliance and like everyone else, we just couldn’t get enough of his kung fu prowess. The gadgets weren’t so cool, like the hornet sting and that flying thingy with a camera, sort of like today’s drones. But what I love was the garage floor that flips over. That was cool. Again, Shell came up with a hat and and mask promo. Sadly, the show lasted only one season.
Some more TV shows Uncle Bob gave us: Mission Impossible, The Time Tunnel, Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, The Man from UNCLE, The Girl from UNCLE, Voyage To The Bottom of the Sea, and of course, Star Trek.
It’s heartbreaking what became of your beloved TV station today but we’ll never forget the Channel 7 of old. Thanks Uncle Bob.