YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Before Danny was a DJ

Exhibit is for the 'Partridge' generation.

June 05, 2003|Carolyn Patricia Scott | Times Staff Writer

Anyone who knows that "bologna" has a first name and how to spell it (O-S-C-A-R), who can instantly identify Alex Keaton's middle initial (P.) or forever thinks of actor Schroder as Ricky instead of Rick will be primed for the Museum of Television & Radio's latest offering.

"Blast From Your Past -- What Gen X Watched, 1969-1985," starting Friday at the Beverly Hills facility, examines the first generation of youths that took most, if not all, of its cultural cues from television; a generation that came into the world at a time when the nation's youth was being urged to "turn on, tune in, drop out."

Gen X definitely tuned in -- but not in the way LSD guru Timothy Leary envisioned for their parents or older siblings. Wired for sound and plugged into an age of electronic media, Gen X learned the alphabet from a frog named Kermit, met Morgan Freeman during his years on "The Electric Company" and absorbed American history three musical minutes at a time with ABC's "Schoolhouse Rock." The museum's series, which runs through Oct. 5, touches upon how Gen X got the message about environmentalism from TV public service announcements featuring teary-eyed Native American Iron Eyes Cody and learned to recite the ingredients in a Big Mac ("two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun").

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday June 07, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 48 words Type of Material: Correction
"Family Ties" -- A caption with an article in Thursday's Calendar Weekend about screenings at the Museum of Television & Radio mistakenly said that the TV series "Family Ties" had aired on ABC. It was on NBC. The first name of the title also was misspelled as "Family's."

It also serves up samples of many of Gen X's favorite shows, from "Partridge Family" and "Diff'rent Strokes" to "Facts of Life" and "Charlie's Angels." Shows are organized into blocks, such as Action-Packed ("The Dukes of Hazzard"), Parents Just Don't Understand ("Family Ties," "The Cosby Show") and Groovy Tunes ("The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour," "The Partridge Family"). Speaking of the Partridge clan, the exhibition has its scholarly side, but its raison d'etre would seem to be nothing more complicated than that Partridge theme song "Come On, Get Happy."


That was then ...


Long before he was President ("Primary Colors"), a hit man ("Pulp Fiction") or king of the disco ("Saturday Night Fever"), John Travolta was just high school stud Vinnie Barbarino ("Welcome Back, Kotter").


The life lessons Alex P. Keaton picked up on ABC's "Family's Ties" prepared him for multiple adventures in time travel ("Back to the Future, Parts I-III") as well as a career as a political advisor ("Spin City").


Who'd have guessed during her "Square Pegs" days that the girl with those clunky glasses, frumpy wardrobe and mousy hair would one day morph into New York City's most celebrated and stylish advice columnist ("Sex and the City")?


His days of "Moonlighting" obviously paid off; soon he was able to afford those multimillion-dollar big-screen special effects of the "Die Hard" series.


`Blast From Your Past'

What: "Blast From Your Past: What Gen X Watched, 1969-1985"

Where: Museum of Television & Radio, 465 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills

When: Opens Friday; presented Wednesday-Sunday, 3 p.m.; ends Oct. 5

Cost: $10, adults; $8, seniors and students; $5, under 14

Info: (310) 786-1025

Los Angeles Times Articles